DRUM - - Health -

Kathy Henke­mans, a reg­is­tered di­eti­cian, says although eat­ing dis­or­ders are treat­able, they can be deadly if not ad­dressed. This is be­cause they of­ten co­ex­ist with other con­di­tions such as anx­i­ety dis­or­der, subs­tance abuse or de­pres­sion.

She says the first step in deal­ing with an eat­ing dis­or­der is di­ag­no­sis. Treat­ment in­volves a com­bi­na­tion of psy­cho­log­i­cal and nu­tri­tional coun­selling, along with med­i­cal and psy­chi­atric mon­i­tor­ing.

“Treat­ment must ad­dress the eat­ing dis­or­der symp­toms and med­i­cal con­se­quences, as well as psy­cho­log­i­cal, bi­o­log­i­cal, in­ter­per­sonal and cul­tural forces that con­trib­ute to or main­tain the eat­ing dis­or­der,” she says.

Henke­mans ad­vises that you make pos­i­tive life­style changes and use ther­apy or phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity to deal with emo­tional bur­dens. She also rec­om­mends re­peated mind­ful eat­ing as a health­ier way to deal with emo­tions.

Dr Diana Monama, a Pre­to­ria-based psy­chol­o­gist, adds that treat­ment doesn’t only fo­cus on you as an in­di­vid­ual. Your fam­ily dy­nam­ics are also as­sessed to get to the root of the prob­lem.

She says in most cases psy­cho­log­i­cal ther­apy is ef­fec­tive on its own, but med­i­cal at­ten­tion may also be needed, de­pend­ing on the sever­ity of the prob­lem.

“Psy­cho­log­i­cal coun­selling helps to al­ter any faulty thoughts you may have about body shape, size and eat­ing. A con­sul­ta­tion with a psy­chi­a­trist needs to be done be­fore any med­i­ca­tion can be pre­scribed,” she says.

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