Eating disorder self-help

Why self-help?

Some people recover from an eating disorder using self-help alone. These effects are found to increase with a bit of guidance and encouragement from a non-specialist or inexperienced support person. In fact (due to the combination of potential helpfulness, and relatively low cost) the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that adults with bulimia or binge eating disorder try guided self-help before reviewing the need for therapy. There is also emerging evidence that some people with anorexia can also benefit from this approach.

Self-help is perhaps most likely to result in recovery for people with fewer significant complicating factors associated with their eating problem. However, even if you don’t make a full recovery through self-help alone, it may be at least partially helpful. CBT oriented eating disorder self-help can also be a good way of preparing for, or complimenting specialist CBT therapy.

Eating disorder self-help books and workbooks

The Overcoming Binge Eating book by Christopher Fairburn provides useful information and a step-by-step approach to eating disorder recovery. This book is very consistent with the most commonly used and well evaluated approach to specialist eating disorder therapy (CBT-E) as it was developed by the same psychiatrist.

And these freely available eating disorder workbooks and information sheets by the Centre for Clinical Interventions are also pretty good.

Eating disorder information for young adults

FREED have developed some excellent guides and resources for 16-24 year olds with possible eating disorders.

General eating disorder information

The eating disorder charity B-EAT provide lots of eating disorder information, including how to tell someone that you have an eating disorder. They are also available for web-chat and telephone support.

Help for concerned friends, family or carers

Please see my post on supporting a loved one with an eating disorder.

Published by Charlotte Rose

Cognitive behavioural therapist and supervisor

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