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Anorexia is a serious eating disorder that can take a toll on not only your physical health, but your mental health, as well. The disease interferes with your ability to maintain a healthy weight, leading to extreme weight loss and a restriction of food intake. Anorexia can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, or race. It is estimated that 1 in every 110 people in the United States will develop anorexia in their lifetime.

The most common types of therapy for anorexia are Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Mentalization-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBT). Whichever one you choose, the goal is the same – to help you recover and regain a healthy relationship with your food. Let’s explore the 3 main types of therapy for anorexia, as well as which one may be the best for you.

CBT for Anorexia

CBT for anorexia is a type of cognitive therapy that helps people change the way they think and act in order to feel less anxious and more in control. CBT may be used to treat any type of anxiety, but because anorexia is related to fear of gaining weight and body image, it’s often used to treat anorexia.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that our thoughts and behaviors are connected, and when we change one, it has an effect on the other. For example, if we learn to associate the word “food” with “yucky”, then when we see or think about food, we associate it with disgust and are less likely to eat it.

DBT for Anorexia

DBT is an evidence-based approach to treating eating disorders. This kind of therapy is used to help someone who has an eating disorder gain better insight into their condition. It also teaches people skills to help them deal with cravings and distress.

DBT is a type of behavioral therapy that focuses on the skills people learn to help them with their disorder. There are 5 main skills:

  • Balance – This involves helping people learn how to maintain a balanced relationship between eating, exercising and sleeping.
  • Empathy – This teaches people to be aware of their feelings, and take steps to manage them.
  • Mindfulness – This helps people to stay focused, rather than getting caught up in their thoughts or emotions.
  • Intermittent reinforcement – This teaches people the power of “just one more bite”, rather than “no more food”.
  • Avoidance – This teaches people that it’s okay to not eat certain things.

MBT for Anorexia

Mentalization-based cognitive therapy is a form of therapy that focuses on emotional regulation skills and the ability to mentalize. Mentalization is the ability to recognize that others have their own thoughts and feelings as well, and that you too have thoughts and feelings. Mentalization is important in healthy relationships, and in therapy it is used to help someone understand the “here and now” in a relationship with food. It’s also used to help someone recognize when they’re about to slip back into eating disordered thoughts and behaviors.

Which Therapy Is Best For You?

After you’ve had a chance to research each type of therapy, try to identify which one sounds like it might be best for you. When making this decision, consider which therapeutic approach would be most helpful to your situation and personality. Also, be aware that one therapy type may not be right for everyone, so try out a few different options to see which ones work best for you.

If you’re in your early teens, and you’re just beginning to notice your concern about your weight and body image getting in the way of your life, you may be eligible for CBT for anorexia. CBT for anorexia works best for people who are already in a good place mentally, and who want to get better at dealing with their body image concerns.

If you’re currently in an eating disorder treatment program, you may also be a good candidate for CBT for anorexia. This type of therapy is often recommended to people who are recovering from anorexia, in order to help them learn skills to help them manage cravings and stay in a healthy weight range.

If you’re looking for evidence-based therapy specifically for anorexia, DBT may be a good fit for you. DBT is a highly researched and proven form of therapy, so you can be confident that it will be helpful in treating your eating disorder.

Knoxville Recovery Center is Here for You 

If you or a loved one are currently struggling withan eating disorder, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Knoxville Recovery Center to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services. 

Knoxville Recovery Center was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction and other disorders in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
  • On-site Detox
  • Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
  • Mental Health Treatment
  • Aftercare Services

Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with an eating disorder on your own. We are here to help. 

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