Licensed Clinical Psychologist

CBT Treatment of Eating Disorders

Research has shown CBT to be very effective in the treatment of a broad spectrum of eating disorder symptoms. In this section I will address the following questions:

What are the different types of eating disorder diagnoses?

What are some common symptoms of eating disorders?

How is CBT used to treat eating disorders?

How long does CBT treatment usually last?

Are there any additional resources that you recommend?


What are the different types of eating disorder diagnoses?

Most people are familiar with two types of eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa involves severe restriction of food intake (and sometimes, purging) and severely disturbed body image.


Bulimia Nervosa involves binge eating accompanied by some activity designed to compensate for the binge eating, such as self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, diuretic abuse, excessive exercising, and/or strict dieting outside of binge eating episodes. Body image disturbance is also a core feature of Bulimia.

However, many people with eating disorders don’t fit neatly into either of these categories, and are ultimately diagnosed with Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (ED-NOS). People with ED-NOS experience disturbed eating and its psychological ramifications, but don’t meet criteria for a diagnosis of Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa. While ED-NOS is not a well-known diagnosis, it is believed that 50-60% of individuals who seek outpatient treatment for eating disorders meet criteria for ED-NOS. And ED-NOS can be just as severe and impairing as Anorexia or Bulimia.

You may have heard of Binge Eating Disorder (BED), in which people experience episodes of binge eating without taking any actions to compensate for these episodes (as they would if they were diagnosed with Bulimia). BED is one form of ED-NOS.

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