If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, you've completed ED treatment or are open to getting help, the practice of Mindfulness may be a supportive, healing addition to your recovery process. Mindfulness is being used by many in the mental health field including eating disorder treatment centers, rehabs, therapists, psychologists and MD's to treat physical and emotional symptoms including: anxiety, stress, depression, chronic pain, borderline personality disorder (BPD) and addictions and substance abuse. Therapists who work with complicated disorders such as ED's using psychotherapy find that patients often show an incomplete response to treatment and greatly benefit from additional techniques to provide support, healthier coping skills, and ultimately symptom relief. Mindfulness is one such technique that can be skillfully and successfully integrated into therapy sessions with clients. Eating disorders are associated with significant distress including anxiety symptoms, mood disturbance, substance abuse, and physical complications. The most widely researched treatments for eating disorders are based on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and interpersonal therapy, which all have strong empirical support for success in the treatment of Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN). Mindfulness-based interventions are well-suited to address disordered eating, particularly Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder, as a stand alone treatment or an adjunct to other forms of ED treatments.
What exactly is mindfulness and how can it help? The practice of mindfulness provides individuals with a heightened ability to simply "have" and "observe" emotions, feelings, behaviors and experiences and to disengage from habitual, automatic and often dysfunctional reactivity. The result is a more balanced sense of self which allows the practitioner to develop a healthier "accepting" relationship to their emotions, bodies and their eating. Individuals become more mindful of the enjoyment and satisfaction that can be obtained from the quality of food, rather than the quantity. They learn that food should not be feared or hated, and that eating and meal time can and should be nourishing and joyful. To learn more about how to practice mindfulness visit DukeHealth.org and enjoy these articles from The New York Times Mindful Eating as Food for Thought and The Wall Street Journal Putting an End to Mindless Munching
Practice acceptance, try compassion and change what you can. Take care, KS