Eating Disorder Treatment

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Often food-related issues arise during adolescence and young adulthood that can range from anorexia, binging, purging and persistent overeating as an “escape” or reward-seeking response to emotional stressors.  This may or may not result in being extremely thin or becoming obese over a short or long period of time. Body image distortion is a common part of eating disorders, where the individuals are not able to perceive themselves physically as they are.

Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, memory, motivation and related circuitry.  Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations.  This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by the use of substances and/or behaviours such as sex, food, gambling, shopping etc.  Addiction is about differences in brain functioning where the substance use or behaviours are recognized as consequences of the disease.  Addiction is a single condition-Addiction is Addiction rather than describing “addictions” such as alcohol addiction in distinction from cocaine addiction and food addiction for example.

Food Addiction is Addiction that is manifested by a compulsion to repeatedly engage or act out with food – avoiding (anorexia), binging or purging (bulimia, laxatives or over-exercising) – despite it causing negative consequences to the person’s physical, mental, social, and/or financial well being.  Behaviours persisting in spite of these consequences are commonly a symptom of Addiction.

 Addiction is characterized by:

          A.  Inability to consistently Abstain
          B.  Impairment in Behavioural control
          C.  Craving
          D.  Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviour and interpersonal relationships and
          E.  A dysfunctional Emotional response

Eating Disorder Treatment

Through counselling, the goal is to work towards abstinence from compulsive behaviors with food and a new approach to food that is non-destructive and non-compulsive.  Goals are set around behaviours that can be followed without shame and behaviours are practiced and discussed honestly.  Slips into compulsive behaviour are common and are used to re-draw boundaries and re-establish goals.  This work may be done in residential, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient or outpatient settings, and participation in food-specific 12-step groups is very useful for eating disorder treatment.

At Health Upwardly Mobile, we provide outpatient continuing care for food Addiction. All new clients initially undergo our full comprehensive assessment. It is recommended that all 3 appointments be done on separate days to optimize the opportunity for you to talk openly and honestly with each professional and learn incrementally through each interaction. A comprehensive treatment plan will be developed throughout this process and shared with you as the assessment progresses. By the third and final assessment session, recommendations will be discussed, which will provide guidance regarding ongoing services at HUM, which includes individual counselling and group therapy.  Referrals to external resources can be done as needed.


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