Why Aren’t There Medications For Eating Disorder Treatment?

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Why Aren’t There Medications For Eating Disorder Treatment?

Each month there is a new breakthrough in psychopharmacology for the treatment of mental health disorders. Alcoholism and addiction, substance use disorders, are constantly being tried against various medications. America loves medications, for good reasons. For many people with many different conditions, medication works. Resolving treatment to a simple pill is a convenient answer which can be mass produced and help millions of people. Most treatment professionals agree, however, that a medication is only one part of a recovery program. Therapy, diet and nutrition, as well as lifestyle changes are essential for recovering from any kind of mental health condition. Creating a balance lifestyle of mind, body, and spirit is essential for creating the meaning and changes in life which will support ongoing recovery.

Eating disorder recovery finds this to be especially true. However, for eating disorders, there is rarely talk of a medication. Recent headlines have indicated brain stimulation might help with bulimia and anorexia nervosa. In recent years, there has been talk of surgeries to help with binge eating disorder, as well as the suggestion of stimulant medications like Vyvanse, used for treating ADHD, to suppress the appetite. Yet, medications and eating disorders don’t seem to be associated.

Refinery29 explains that understanding of how eating disorders work in the brain is still scarce. Only recently did some researchers find that eating disorders might live in the area of the brain where habits are formed. Additionally, eating disorders are difficult to study. The article writes that “it can be difficult to tell whether the differences in brain activity that you see in ED patients versus a healthy control group are truly due to the disorder or are actually due to malnourishment.”

Another complicated contributor to the ambiguity of eating disorder treatment is that many patients don’t want to give up their behaviors out of fear. When people seek treatment they have either decided they want to live a different way, have been forced into treatment by family, or recognize their mortality should their behaviors continue. Eating disorders can create an unhealthy fear of gaining weight. One of the most influential factors which drive people away from treatment is the fear of gaining weight and not being able to participate in disordered behaviors any longer. Medications can cause weight gain, which could pose an immediate red flag to patients.

Therapy and treatment, with a gentle guidance to lifestyle changes and thinking processes do help with eating disorder treatments. Studies are finding that once someone goes to treatment for an eating disorder, their recovery sustains long term. Avalon Malibu offers a residential treatment program for eating disorders which includes nourishment for the soul, the body, and healing for the mind. For a confidential assessment, call us today at 1 888-958-7511.

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