Originally created to help individuals struggling with self-harming behaviors or suicidal ideation, dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) can be a vital element of any binge eating disorder therapy or bulimia nervosa therapy program. This therapeutic model uses evidence-based assumptions that self-destructive and impulsive behaviors take over a person’s life when they are unable to manage strong, intense emotions. Blending cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance strategies, and meditation techniques, dialectical behavioral therapy also focuses on building a solid, therapeutic relationship between the patient and their counselor. Learning modules teaching eating disorder patients skills to improve interpersonal effectiveness, emotional regulation and distress tolerance are just a few of the methods used by DBT therapists to eliminate bulimia nervosa symptoms and stop the negative health effects of binge eating before they become chronic diseases.
Emotional Dysregulation and Bulimia Nervosa
Bulimia, anorexia, and binge eating disorder treatment centers provide a safe, curative environment in which individuals with eating disorders can express negative feelings and emotions and addressing any feelings of anxiety, guilt or shame that may arise. Emotional dysregulation refers to patients, in this particular instance with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa symptoms, who have difficulty understanding and coping with disturbing thoughts and feelings. When emotions feel overwhelming and too painful to acknowledge, people may resort to self-destructive behaviors to alleviate the psychological pain caused by these emotions. Denying themselves food, binge eating and purging may help suppress unpleasant feelings at the moment by providing a false sense of control over situations they do not know how to control.
To help women in eating disorder treatment, including binge eating disorder therapy, effectively address emotional dysregulation, dialectical behavioral therapy employs a skilled technique called “distress tolerance”. DBT counselors teach patients to use novel ways of getting through crises without worsening the situation. Instead of allowing irrational emotions to interfere with effectively navigating an anxiety-causing situation, patients undergoing eating disorder treatment, including bulimia nervosa treatment, will learn distress tolerance skills and how to cope with any intense feelings that may arise. Another aspect of distress tolerance involves learning how to accept reality (“radical acceptance”) for what it actually is so the patient can progress forward instead of reverting to old and harmful ways.
DBT and Eating Disorder Causes
Women with eating disorders may want to know why they are in the grip of the effects of binge eating, bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa. Exploring the roots of an eating disorder is essential for patients who complete an eating disorder treatment program, including binge eating therapy.
Interpersonal effectiveness is a component of DBT that delves into the difficulties individuals may have in communicating with others. For example, eating disorder patients may experience difficulty saying no, asserting themselves or putting their needs and goals before the needs of others.
One of the most common themes associated with bulimia nervosa causes involves the fear of being disliked, rejected and/or abandoned. In some cases, women with eating disorders have come from dysfunctional families where they felt unloved, unwanted or not “good enough”. In dialectical behavioral therapy, patients learn that when they feel pushed aside, invalidated or taken for granted, they are at risk of experiencing negative emotions causing them to engage in self-destructive behaviors. Interpersonal effectiveness training teaches patients how to communicate precisely and assertively with others; increasing the likelihood they will get what they need and feel validated at the moment.
Bulimia Nervosa Symptoms and DBT
In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, DBT is one of the most researched psychotherapies proven to expedite elimination or significant reduction of bulimia nervosa symptoms. DBT as part of any binge eating therapy is vital to helping women with eating disorders avoid long-term health problems attributed to overeating, vomiting or malnutrition.
About The Author:
Mike is a health editor with a degree in Journalism and Social Communications, currently writing for several USA & UK publications. He is specialized in articles around health tips, workout plans, and other nutrition-related topics. His main aim is to help health charities to raise awareness on campaigns about misunderstood or commonly misdiagnosed conditions.