Eating Disorders

Research has shown that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most effective ways to treat eating disorders, and is a critical element at all levels of care.

It’s based on the theory that emotions, behaviors, and thoughts are all connected.

  • People with eating disorders, for example, tend to hold a negatively distorted view of themselves, and often convey thoughts that are highly critical about their body and overall appearance. This results in feelings of anxiety, disgust, and shame, which may lead the individual to control their weight even further.
  • The more the patient can challenge and eventually change their obsessively self-critical thoughts, the less shame and anxiety they’ll experience.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helps patients learn to tolerate negative emotion, solve problems, manage stress and become more aware of themselves.


Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences.

ANOREXIA NERVOSA is characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss. Symptoms include:

  • Refusal to maintain body weight at or above a minimally normal weight for height, body type, age, and activity level
  • Intense fear of weight gain or being “fat”
  • Feeling “fat” or overweight despite dramatic weight loss
  • Loss of menstrual periods
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape

BULIMIA NERVOSA is characterized by a secretive cycle of binge eating followed by purging. Bulimia includes eating large amounts of food–more than most people would eat in one meal–in short periods of time, then get rid of the food and calories through vomiting, laxative abuse, or over-exercising.  Symptoms include:

  • Repeated episodes of bingeing and purging
  • Feeling out of control during a binge and eating beyond the point of comfortable fullness
  • Purging after a binge,
  • Frequent dieting
  • Extreme concern with body weight and shape

BINGE EATING DISORDER is characterized primarily by periods of uncontrolled, impulsive, or continuous eating beyond the point of feeling comfortably full.

Contact Behavior Therapy of New York to learn more about effective treatment strategies for eating disorders