Eating Disorder Treatment and FAQ
Once an eating disorder has established itself in your life, treatment by experienced professionals is necessary to help you free yourself of the many ways the eating disorder has taken over your life and your emotional and physical health.
To accomplish this, Dr. Kling will employ a number of different therapeutic methods:
The goal of therapy is to build hope, balance, and the capacity for a meaningful life unhindered by eating disordered thoughts and behaviors by the use of methods that research and extensive clinical experience have identified as effective. Dr. Kling's approach is integrative, using cognitive behavioral, interpersonal, and mindfulness-based therapies.
Because eating disorders are "multifactorial," or caused by a combination of psychological, social/cultural, and biological factors, treatment must assess and address the factors that are relevant to your life and your eating disorder. You will be given information on your type of eating disorder and how it is affecting yor body, emotions, and life. The thoughts and behaviors that contribute to maintaining the eating disorder in your life will be identified, and new ways of thinking and coping will be introduced and practiced.
Since your brain is very sensitive to the presence of an eating disorder, identifying methods to restore its balance will be explored. The include developing the ability to provide the nutrition your body requires for good concentration and more stable moods and developing methods to feel calm in the face of stress and change. It may also include referral to your physician or to a psychiatrist for medication to give you another tool for mood management.
Therapy also focuses on understanding the impact of your eating disorder on the important relationships in your life. Time is spent devoping skills to repair damaged relationships, if necessary, and developing skills in forming relationships that satisfy you and make you happy.
Therapy with Dr. Kling will also address developing strategies for living in a culture that overvalues bodies that are too thin and undervalues the ability and the body necessary to create a life worth living.
Since relapse is a greater possibility with eating disorders, therapy also targets developing the ability to monitor for dangerous situations and developing strategies to protect your recovery.
Eating disorders are hard to extract yourself from without help. Often, the people who have te love and patience to provide this help are your family members. However, after an eating disorder has gone on for awhile, family members may be stressed as they see loved ones physically deteriorate before their eyes. Stress may also occur as the eating disorder causes mood changes, irritability, and/or withdrawal in the person with the eating disorder.
Family members may not know what to do to help, and, at times, they may choose the wrong thing to do or say out of desperation or frustration. Family therapy provides education about how the eating disorder functions and what helping and coping strategies work best. It works on healthy ways to communicate and manage conflict, and it works to decrease guilt and blaming. Family members are encouraged to work together to achieve better recovery for the eating disordered person, while at the same time developing skills for taking care of themselves throughout the process of recovery.
Referral to a Physician
Because eating disorders have such a significant impact on the physical well-being of a person, all clients with eating disorders who are seen at Fayetteville Psychotherapy Associates must be regularly monitored by a physician. If you do not have a physician, Dr. Kling may be able to help you in your search.
Referral to a Dietitian
Once an eating disorder has taken over a person's life, it can become difficult to remember what kinds and amounts of foods are actually necessary for the body and brain to function effectively. Also, having an eating disorder involves learning myths ("eating disorder rules") about food choices that eventually cause the body to deteriorate. One way to relearn what a body actually needs to function well is to work with a dietitian. Dr. Kling can refer you to local dietitians who have experience treating eating disorders.
Referral for Treatment Outside of Our Clinic
Sometimes, in spite of effort and a desire for recovery, there is a poor response in terms of reduction of eating disorder symptoms and an increase in physical deterioration occurs. Other times, individuals may find themselves unable to work on an outpatient basis. Some eating disordered individuals require greater intensity of treatment in order to dislodge the symptoms and to protect their physical wellbeing. If this occurs, Dr. Kling may recommend a higher level of care. If the need for such treatment becomes apparent, Dr. Kling will discuss it with you.
Eating disorder treatment at Fayetteville Psychotherapy Associates is provided by Dr. Kathleen Kling. Dr. Kling has been treating eating disorders since 1984.
Prior to coming to Arkansas, Dr. Kling was the clinical director of Charis Center for Eating Disorders, a clinic of Clarian Health Partners (Methodist Hospital, Riley Hospital for Children, and University Hospital) in Indianapolis, Indiana. While at Charis Center, Dr. Kling developed and was one of the providers of therapy services for the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), programs for the more severe or chronic eating disorders. In addition, Dr. Kling and a colleague developed and co-coordinated the eating disorders treatment team at Ball State University. Dr. Kling is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders.
Frequently Asked Questions About Eating Disorders
What if I have a combination of eating disorders or if I have most of the characteristics of one disorder but not all of them?
It is not uncommon to either alternate between restriction and purging, or to have some, but not all, of the characteristics of any of these eating disorders. The most important factor is feeling unable to control your behaviors and having them interfere with your ability to live a healthy and meaningful life. If this is occurring, treatment is necessary to restore or develop your ability to achieve balance and happiness in life and to be physically healthy.
What if I have other mental health problems along with the eating disorder?
It is not uncommon for somone with an eating disorder to also have depression, anxiety, or obsessiveness. Some of this may be caused by the impact of the eating disorder on your brain. However, up to 50% of individuals with eating disorders also have at least one other separate mental health disorder. Treatment will address both your eating disorder and whatever other mental health concerns may accompany it.
I'm over 30. Don't eating disorders just happen to teenagers or college students?
Eating disorders can affect anyone from children to older adults. If you had an eating disorder when you were younger, it may have returned under the stress of a new transition in life. If you have begun severe dieting for the first time (at whatever age you are now), the stress on your brain and your body could have resulted in an eating disorder. You will be asked to consult with a physician to rule out any other possibilities, but eating disorders are no longer uncommon in older adults.
Eating disorders often show up during major transitions in life, such as leaving home for college, graduating, taking on new roles, or adjusting to major changes in life such as children leaving for college. They also can be a way of coping with trauma or excessive stress.
I'm a male. I thought eating disorders just happened to females.
Although the majority of individuals who have anorexia or bulimia are female, at least ten percent are male. Close to half of the individuals with binge eating disorder are male. You may have developed an eating disorder if you participated in any sport or activity that stressed making a specific weight or if you are a member of a group that highly stresses appearance. You may have started at a higher body weight than other men and tried to diet down to a more "normal" size. You also may be affected by cultural pressures for men to have a certain body size and appearance. There may be other paths that led you to an eating disorder. However, engaging in severe dieting and/or overexercising for any reason can result in loss of control and the development of an eating disorder. If this is the case, your therapist will be able to provide treatment for your eating disorder while also recognizing your experience as a male in this culture.
Eating Disorder Referral.com (has information on eating disorders, treatment, and treatment referrals)
Provides educational resources for college students and parents of college students with eating disorders.
NEDA- National Eating Disorders Association (provides education resources and support to individuals who have eating disorders and to their families and friends)
Academy for Eating Disorders (an organization for eating disorder treatment professionals and has information for the general public)