Eating Disorders and Trauma, Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or Other Issues
Eating disorders are often a symptom of underlying issues such as past traumas. Eating disorders can also be a means of coping with stressful events, such as grief and loss. In addition, eating disorders can co-occur with other psychiatric issues, such as Bipolar Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder. At Positive Pathways, we treat both the eating disorder symptoms and their underlying causes, including co-occurring disorders. We partner with a client’s current psychiatrist or medical doctor for the administration of prescription medications, and we can provide referrals for psychiatric or medical assessments as needed. Appropriate medications can often relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and other psychiatric issues, which can facilitate the therapeutic process of addressing the root causes of eating disorders and other illnesses. Our Treatment Team has experience using Eating Disorder Intuitive Therapy (EDIT) and other specialized treatments to help clients overcome eating disorders and the following other issues:
Past Trauma, Sexual Abuse, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
It is estimated that one out of every three people with eating disorders also have unresolved sexual abuse issues, but there are many other types of traumas which can be contributing factors to the development of eating disorders. Other traumas may include inadequate bonding with primary caregivers in childhood, problems with peers or dating relationships in adolescence, or financial crisis in adulthood. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur when an event in the present triggers a memory of a similar traumatic event from the past, which is perceived as if the trauma is reoccurring in the present. Eating disorder behaviors can be used to cope with painful traumatic memories. At Positive Pathways, trauma recovery treatment typically incorporates Narrative Therapy (to “write a new story” about one’s past and their experience in the present), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (to create new core beliefs which support healthy coping behaviors), and other specialized techniques. We also partner with specialists in EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), for distressing repressed memories.
Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Depressive disorders and/or anxiety disorders commonly co-occur with eating disorders – sometimes depression and anxiety are symptoms of eating disorders, while other times eating disorder behaviors can be triggered or exacerbated by depression and anxiety disorders. Depressive disorders include a range of symptoms such as chronic fatigue, sleep difficulties, tendencies to withdraw from people, lack of meaning from activities which used to bring pleasure, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide. Anxiety disorders may include classifications such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, or Panic Disorder and may include symptoms such as agitation, nervousness and fear. Bipolar Disorder generally involves varying degrees of both depressive and anxiety symptoms (“manic” episodes). In addition to the EDIT techniques for the treatment of eating disorder behaviors, our EDIT Certified Counselors and Counselor Interns also have experience with specialized treatments for Mood Disorders. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) are especially effective for relief from intrusive thoughts or intense emotions. Learning effective thought-feeling regulation can help to reduce the need for eating disorder behaviors as a means of coping.
Borderline Personality Disorder and Other Psychiatric Issues
Borderline Personality Disorder can often co-occur with eating disorders, especially Binge-Eating Disorder. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was developed specifically for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder, and our EDIT Certified Counselors and Counselor Interns have expertise in the application of DBT for the treatment of eating disorders. Our Treatment Team is trained in the diagnosis of all mental and emotional disorders, and we are equipped to treat most psychiatric issues which may co-occur with eating disorders (we make referrals for issues which are outside our area of expertise). As the individual’s core issues are resolved, eating disorders and other psychiatric issues often dissipate. We believe that complete recovery from eating disorders is possible, even for individuals with complex co-occuring psychiatric issues. With this hope of recovery leading the way, our Treatment Team is available as your guide.
I have an eating disorder, but other issues too…
What other symptoms are you noticing?
How have you been coping with these other issues?
Are you taking any prescription medications?
At Positive Pathways, we’d like to hear your story.
Our therapists listen with empathy and compassion.
We can develop a customized action plan for your recovery!
YES!!! we do...
- Diagnose depression, anxiety and other issues
- Treat eating disorders concurrently with most other issues
- Guide clients to resolution of core issues
- Partner with Psychiatrists for medication management
NO!!! we don't...
- Provide crisis counseling or suicide intervention- CALL 911
- Treat issues outside our expertise (referrals provided)
- Use any extreme treatments such as electroshock
- Prescribe or manage medications (referrals provided)