Millions of men and women all over the world suffer from various types of eating disorders. Individuals who struggle with bulimia, anorexia, overeating, or other clinically diagnosable eating disorders often feel that there is nowhere to turn for help, though many well-researched therapy programs exist that can train people to manage their obsessions and regain control of their health and lives. People can find help in the form of psychotherapy, self-help programs, and community support groups. When choosing an eating disorder program, an individual must consider the amount of time and money they are willing to put into recovery as well as the qualifications of professionals and programs.
Many licensed psychologists and psychiatrists specialize in treating clients with eating disorders. They help people uncover the underlying causes of their eating problems, such as genetics, longstanding emotional issues, stresses, or mental illnesses. Through intensive, ongoing psychotherapy and behavior modification, most patients gain the skills and confidence they need to conquer their problems. Expert help can be costly and time consuming, however, and such an eating disorder program is not the best option for everyone.
An individual who is unsure if he or she has a problem or someone who is unable to seek professional help can conduct independent research on eating disorders and try a self-help program. Many community health centers, doctors' offices, and Internet sites offer brochures and information about the different types of eating disorders and resources people can use to find help. Self-help programs, which can take the form of websites, books, audio tapes, or videos, offer tips and exercises people can use to overcome their problems and develop healthy habits. A person who chooses to pursue a self-help eating disorder program should thoroughly investigate the credentials of company or professional offering services to ensure that it is safe and the information presented is accurate.
Many people find help in the form of group therapy with other individuals who suffer from eating disorders. Most community support groups are regulated by the members themselves, without the presence of a psychologist or other professional to facilitate the eating disorder program. Some groups, including Overeaters Anonymous, promote a 12-step eating disorder program that is very similar to those featured in the treatment of alcoholism and addiction. People share their experiences and advice with new members to help them realize that they do indeed suffer from a disease and that they can recover if they are willing to work the steps.