Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Director of Content and Social Media at Eating Disorder Hope
Because of the complex nature of eating disorders, comprehensive treatment is a necessity for finding full recovery. Eating disorders are considered a psychiatric illness, and eating disorder specialists within the realm of mental health should be part of a treatment team for eating disorder recovery.
Some of the mental health professionals that may be involved as part of a treatment team for eating disorder recovery include a psychologist, counselor, therapist, and/or psychiatrist. Mental health professionals that are part of a treatment team for eating disorder recovery should have specialty training in order to work with this patient population.
Working With a Mental Health Professional
Mental health professionals treat a variety of behavioral health concerns, including eating disorders. Other conditions that mental health professionals may address, whether in a treatment facility or private practice, include mood disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and more, personality disorders, additional, loss, grief, and various emotional illnesses.
While not all mental health professionals specialize in the field of eating disorder recovery, most have had some cross training in this arena to know basics of recognizing and identifying these psychiatric illnesses.
Some individuals who have co-occurring disorders or multiple behavioral/mental health illnesses, may seek out the care of a mental health professional for one disorder initially. A qualified professional might recognize, identify and diagnose a second mental health illness that may also be present.
Finding a Qualified Professional
Many mental health professionals who are specialized in eating disorder recovery will often have specialized training and credentials, such as the Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) through the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (iaedp).
Establishing care with a mental health professional specialist can be an important first step towards recovering from an eating disorder. These specialized professionals can help with the initial diagnosis and in referring to an appropriate level of care needed for recovery.
Utilize the Specialist Treatment Directory available on Eating Disorder Hope or other valuable resources, such as the Academy of Eating Disorder Professionals, iaepd, and the National Eating Disorder Association to Connect to a mental health professional specialized in the treatment of eating disorders.
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