Reviewed by Leah Graves, RDN, LDN, CEDS-S, FAED

Eating disorder care begins with an evaluation to provide a diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. Treating an eating disorder generally involves a combination of psychological and nutritional counseling, along with medical and psychiatric care and monitoring. Treatment is focused on managing any medical or psychiatric factors that impact the ability to fully participate in eating disorders care, addressing eating disorder symptoms, nutrition state and any psychological, biological, interpersonal, and cultural forces that contribute to or maintain the eating disorder.1  

Most of the time spent in eating disorder care is focused on psychological treatment and nutrition counseling. Psychological treatment usually involves helping an individual to identify, change and cope with emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that are negatively impacting their ability to function. There are a variety of psychological treatments that have been shown to be effective in treating eating disorders. Nutritional counseling for eating disorders typically incorporates education about nutritional needs as well as planning and monitoring an individual’s eating-related choices to support their recovery. Generally, beginning treatment as soon as eating disorder symptoms are detected is more effective and supports a shorter treatment duration. While the recovery path can take a longer period of time, it’s important to note that there is hope for recovery as individuals with long-standing eating disorders can and do recover.1