How A Psychiatrist Can Help Treat Your Eating Disorder

If you have an eating disorder or suspect you have an eating disorder, it is important to realize your condition is not really about the food. It's about deeper mental health problems, and for that reason, you should see a psychiatrist if you are seeking treatment for an eating disorder. Here are some of the therapies and treatments your psychiatrist may provide or recommend.

Interpersonal Psychotherapy

For many people, the mental health issues that contribute to their eating disorders are closely tied to personal relationships. Perhaps you had a parent who made you feel as though you needed to be thin to win their approval. Or perhaps you had peers who excluded you because you were heavier. A psychiatrist can help you think through and work through these relationships and the trauma they caused you. They can also help you establish how to form healthier relationships and more supportive relationships going forward. When you come to terms with the ways that other people contributed to the mentality behind your eating disorder, you will often have an easier time moving on and recovering.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This is an action-based form of therapy. Rather than simply talking to your psychiatrist, the two of you will work together to identify situations and events that trigger your eating disorder symptoms. Then, your psychiatrist will teach you better, healthier ways to react to those situations. For example, if you react to a stressful day by bingeing, your psychiatrist can teach you how to take a deep breath, meditate, prepare a healthy meal, or take some other health-promoting action in place of bingeing behavior. Simply recognizing when you're feeling triggered can go a long way towards your recovery, and substituting behaviors in this manner helps, too.


So many people with eating disorders benefit from taking psychiatric medications, even if for a short period of time. If you have symptoms of depression, for example, taking antidepressants for a while may help ease your depression, which will put you in a better mental space to heal from your eating disorder. If you have PTSD and turn to your eating disorder as a trauma response, some anti-anxiety medications might help.

Psychiatrists are experts at treating eating disorders. They may recommend you also work with a dietitian or attend group therapy, but outside of these treatments, a psychiatrist should be able to provide the majority of your care.

Reach out to a local psychiatrist service to learn more.