- March 21, 2017
- Posted by: Surtees_Admin
- Category: Weight Loss
How does hypnotherapy for eating disorders work?
Explanations for hypnotherapy for eating disorders can typically be found in online search, looking for topics such as gastric band hypnosis or reasons to use weight loss hypnotherapy. You can also search for hypnotherapy for treating bulimia, anorexia or for treating binge eating disorders.
An easy way to explain what the treatment is would be to say it is a way for a trained practitioner of hypnotherapy to use hypnotic or subliminal suggestion to help patients overcome addiction or fear without the use of conventional medicine.
How does hypnotherapy for eating disorders work?
That’s a question asked time and time again, and with good reason. With hypnotherapy often viewed as something to have fun with by television personalities, the public mistake this as a trick, rather than an accepted form of complimentary therapy.
However, whilst hypnotherapy isn’t endorsed by the NHS, you can find narrative on their website and suggestions of when this form of therapy can be useful. This is openly discussed under losing weight and quitting smoking and refers to the 2009 Cochrane report on Psychological Interventions for Overweight or Obesity.
Hypnotherapy for eating disorders works by promoting an overall change in mindset that includes a motivation for regular physical exercise. It motivates you to feel good about eating less, replaces the old cycle of thinking and behaviour, with a new confident “can do” attitude and fundamentally changes your mindset towards food.
What are eating disorders?
Whilst we all need food to survive, grow and maintain our health. It is often our lack of understanding or simply a development of unusual eating habits that affect our relationships with food.
Some of us develop emotional relationships with food, generically referred to as “disordered eating” sometimes referred to as comfort eating or binge eating as well as clinical terms such as anorexia and bulimia.
These are often tied to other emotional and mental health issues like depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
Eating disorders are a range of mental health conditions that see sufferers build unusual habits with food. As well as the psychological issues, you have the physical affects which are not only extreme weight loss or weight gain, but also the effects that extreme losses and gains in weight have on our internal organs like our hearts and liver. Quite often these seemingly simple “unhealthy choices” can have devastating effects on the body.
How are eating disorders caused?
It’s very difficult to pigeon hole an individual or a group of people and say that any one trigger starts a food based relationship. But there is always a trigger, typically an emotional one.
However, the hypnotherapy directory lists a number of causes:
- Having a family history of eating disorders or depression.
- Having someone criticise your eating habits or your weight.
- Feeling pressure to stay slim for work or a hobby.
- Having certain characteristics, such as an obsessive personality or a tendency to be anxious.
- Experiencing upsetting events, such as a death or abuse.
- Relationship difficulties with friends or family members.
- Being under a lot of stress, for example at school or university.
Can hypnotherapy cure bulimia or anorexia or binge eating disorder?
Hypnotherapists shouldn’t claim to cure eating disorders, such as bulimia anorexia or binge eating disorder because hypnotherapy has different results within different recipients of the treatment. So as part of a multi-pronged treatment which should include counselling (and often hypnotherapists are cross trained) we often see extremely good results.
Please be aware, it is sometimes noted that further treatments are required several months or years down the line, again depending on the person receiving the treatment.
When a clinical eating disorder has been diagnosed, treatment can begin. For those reading this article, you will often see the signs of anorexia or bulimia in a family member or a friend long before they will accept that they have a problem. It is up to you to encourage them to talk about their eating and seek professional help, their failure to understand their issues will make it difficult for them to seek help independently.
The difficult thing with helping a patient suffering from an eating disorder is that treatment can often swing backwards as well as go forwards as the patient unwinds back towards dealing with the trigger event. But early treatment gives someone the best opportunity to recover.
As mentioned earlier, a multi-pronged approach is often best used when treating eating disorders and we list some services below:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy – A form of psychological therapy that aims to change the way you think and behave.
- Interpersonal therapy – A talk therapy that focuses on relationship-based concerns.
- Family therapy – Eating disorders affect more than just the sufferer. Family therapy may be advised to help all members deal with the condition.
- Medication – Some sufferers will be prescribed antidepressants to help regulate mood.
Hypnotherapy practice for eating disorders
A hypnotherapist must understand the root causes of the issues behind the eating disorder and often uses regression techniques to discover these. The therapist will use relaxation techniques to access your subconscious to reveal the trigger event, comment or situation that may have contributed to the development of the disorder.
The goal of this is to use the power of suggestion to change thought processes and then habits around the eating disorder to facilitate a change in daily routine and the food relationship.
By using positive suggestion whilst you are “under” hypnosis, a trained practitioner can change the way you feel about yourself (self-esteem) as learning to feel good about and appreciate yourself is a massive part of recovery. Couple that with a new understanding of food and changing that relationship, hypnotherapy for eating disorders provides the mental support a person needs to fight back and avoid relapsing.