Psychiatric Medication and Eating Disorders

When clients with eating disorders seek medication management for healing their eating disorder or other mental health concerns like depression or anxiety, it’s important to work with a medication provider who understands eating disorders, mental health, and the complexities of how medications interact with common ED behaviors.

Why work with someone who understands ED behaviors?

Many medication providers and doctors get limited education in the treatment and assessment of eating disorders. Because of this, there are often unintended misunderstandings where well-intentioned medical professionals may not ask important questions or can even do harm by prescribing simple diet and exercise changes. Below are some of the ways that things might go missed or untreated due to the nature of eating disorders if a medication manager doesn’t have a working knowledge of EDs:

  • Prescribing medication to someone who is restricting so much that the medication loses it’s effectiveness because it requires normal food intake to be absorbed.
  • Prescribing medication to someone who struggles with bulimia nervosa and not giving the client education on how dosage and consistency may be impacted by purging behaviors.
  • Ensuring that although it’s important to take a patient’s weight for dosing, that it may be harmful to tell them their weight/let them see their weight while they’re actively going through recovery.
  • Unintentionally making comments about a patient’s weight, appearance, or prescribing simple diet fixes
  • Treating binge eating disorder with medications that are solely prescribed for “weight loss” and missing the important psychological underpinnings of these behaviors.

Ultimately, I believe that most medication prescribers are doing their best. There is so much for them to learn about the nuances of each mental health disorder. When possible, try to find someone who has experience and education with prescribing medication and eating disorders. If there is no one in your area who specializes in prescribing medication to patients with eating disorders, see if there’s someone who’d be willing to learn and ask questions to ensure they understand your eating disorder behaviors and also not to comment on your weight or diet as you’re going through recovery.

At SOMA, we have a couple of medication providers who have done trainings, are compassionate, and want to be a resource for those struggling with eating disorders in our Wichita community.

For more information, please contact our friendly administrative team by calling 316-201-6047 or by filling out the form on our contact page.