Eating Disorder Treatment at Cottonwood Tucson
Most common in women, but also occurring in men, eating disorders are marked by self-destructive and even dangerous disturbances in eating behavior. The two main subtypes of eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa – a disorder in which a person is unable or unwilling to maintain a minimally healthy body weight, is preoccupied and intensely afraid of gaining weight, and harbors a distorted perception of body shape and size, and Bulimia Nervosa – a disorder characterized by eating binges followed by unhealthy compensatory behaviors, like self-induced vomiting or the inappropriate use of laxatives to prevent weight gain. Like those suffering from anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia nervosa are also preoccupied with body shape and weight. Both of these disorders seem to be desperate attempts by sufferers to cope with anxiety and gain some sense of control over their lives. Eating disorders are thought to be disturbances of the brain’s appetitive circuits, and may also be related to serotonin and dopamine metabolism.
At Cottonwood Tucson, our behavioral health dieticians consult with our psychiatrists and eating disorders therapists to design personalized, whole-person treatment plans that can bring safety and structure to our patients’ disordered eating. Anorexia and bulimia treatment begins with a thorough psychiatric evaluation, comprehensive nutritional assessments and exercise assessments and a body composition analysis. Our clinicians can then use these assessments and in vivo experiential activities, like mindful eating meal sessions, to help patients establish a healthier relationship with food.
Our counselors also use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) in eating disorder treatment, to identify and challenge a distorted body image and unrealistic or irrational beliefs related to body shape and size imposed on the patient by critical friends, family members or even society at large. At Cottonwood Tucson's eating disorder treatment program, our aim is to uncover and resolve possible psychological issues related to disordered eating. Trauma and grief therapy can also help eating disorder patients to address longstanding emotional issues that support or trigger distorted perceptions about body shape and size.