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Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders

Table of Contents

Treatment Overview

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an active type of counseling. Sessions usually are held once a week for as long as you need to master new skills. Individual sessions last 1 hour, and group sessions may be longer.

During cognitive-behavioral therapy for eating disorders, you learn:

What To Expect

You can use your cognitive-behavioral skills throughout your life. You may find that additional "tune-up" sessions help you stay on track with your new skills.

Why It Is Done

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is used to treat the mental and emotional elements of an eating disorder. This type of therapy is done to change how you think and feel about food, eating, and body image. It is also done to help correct poor eating habits and prevent relapse.

How Well It Works

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered effective for the treatment of eating disorders.1 But because eating disorder behaviors can endure for a long period of time, ongoing psychological treatment is usually needed.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy may be more effective for treating bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder rather than anorexia nervosa.2

Risks

There are no known risks associated with cognitive-behavioral therapy.

References

Citations

  1. Hay PPJ, et al. (2009). Psychological treatments for bulimia nervosa and binging. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (4).
  2. Anderson AE, Yager J (2009). Eating disorders. In BJ Sadock et al., eds., Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry, 9th ed., vol. 1, pp. 2128–2149. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Credits for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Eating Disorders

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
W. Stewart Agras MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry


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