Occupational Therapy in the Treatment of Severe Eating Disorders
Eating disorders impact all aspects of a patient’s life. Occupational performance issues in eating disorders can affect activities like meal preparation, socialization, financial management and self-grooming.Low body weight and malnutrition can affect an individual’s memory, cognition and concentration, making work or study more challenging. Engaging in eating disorder behaviors is a time intensive pursuit. For many, their eating disorder becomes the primary occupation of life, with all other areas of daily life declining. There is little time, energy or motivation left for things like showering, cleaning or socializing. As individuals with eating disorders become less engaged with other occupations, motivation, independence and quality of life decline. This often leads individuals to stop going to school or work, participating in hobbies or activities, seeing their loved ones or leaving their home. Occupational therapy can help eating disorder patients re-engage and learn new coping mechanisms to help fully participate in all areas of their lives.