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Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy that focuses on recognizing and changing unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving into healthier patterns. It has been found an effective mode of intervention for various eating disorders including binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, and other specified eating disorder. The typical components of CBT when used for a person with eating disorder include –
• recording thoughts, behaviours, and feelings immediately after eating food,
• meal planning,
• exposure to fear foods,
• challenging the eating disorder mindset,
• stopping body checking,
• developing self-esteem through new sources,
• enhancing interpersonal skills,
• reducing body avoidance,
• psycho-education regarding what maintains the eating disorder,
• regular weighing to check progress,
• developing strategies that help prevent compensatory behaviours and binges,
• relapse prevention,
• identifying distorted ways of thinking such as ‘all-or-nothing’ thinking and replacing them,
• using behavioural experiments to challenge thoughts and behaviours, etc.

How effective is CBT for Eating Disorder?

CBT is effective in identifying and challenging the negative thought and behavioural patterns that contribute to and maintain the individual’s eating disorder.

What if CBT is not effective for Eating Disorder?

CBT is often recommended as the first-line of treatment for eating disorders. However, if it is ineffective for an individual, Dialectic Behavioural Therapy (DBT) is another effective therapy modality. For severe cases of eating disorders, the individual can also consider residential treatment programs or partial hospitalization.

How many numbers of sessions are required?

The number of sessions depends on the individual’s condition and response to treatment.

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