Glossary of Eating Disorder Terms

Approved Mental Health Practitioner

This role relates to the Mental Health Act 1983. If someone needs compulsory treatment, they will be involved in that decision. They act in the best interests of the patient and ensure that they understand their rights and are treated with dignity.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

Cognitive analytic therapy is a kind of therapy that can be recommended for the treatment of anorexia. It looks at past events that may explain the unhealthy thoughts that cause your anorexia, and helps you to recognise and find ways to break the unhealthy patterns.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioural therapy helps you to deal with problems by breaking them down into smaller parts. It focuses on current problems and how to change negative thought patterns to develop healthy ways of coping with them. This therapy is often recommended as part of the treatment for all kinds of eating disorders. It can be adapted to the needs of people with particular illnesses, such as bulimia (CBT-BN) or binge eating disorder (CBT-BED).

Counselling

A type of talking therapy where you can talk about your thoughts and feelings, which aims to help you overcome emotional issues that you’re struggling with.

CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse) / CMHN (Community Mental Health Nurse) 

A mental health nurse who may visit patients at home to support them as they go through treatment.

Dietician

A mental health nurse who may visit patients at home to support them as they go through treatment.

Family therapy

Family interventions may be recommended for children and adolescents with eating disorders. This kind of therapy involves family members, acknowledging that the eating disorder can impact the people around the sufferer and helping them to better understand the illness.

Focal Psychodynamic Therapy (FPT)

This is a form of therapy based on the idea that mental health conditions may relate to past unresolved conflicts. The therapy encourages people to think about early events that may have impacted their mental health and helps them find healthy ways to cope with negative feelings.

General practitioner (GP)

Usually the first port of call when seeking treatment for an eating disorder. They can assess your physical and mental health, give a diagnosis, prescribe treatment, and refer you for specialist care.

Interpersonal therapy (IPT) 

This is a form of therapy that looks at the effect your relationship with others and with the outside world has on your mental health. It helps you to understand the feelings involved and develop healthy coping strategies. This can be part of the treatment for all kinds of eating disorders.

Modified Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

This is a kind of therapy that focuses on your ability to control and regulate your emotional responses, and it can be adapted to help treat binge eating disorder.

Psychiatrist

A doctor who specialises in psychiatry, the field of medicine that involves the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental health conditions.

Psychologist

Someone trained in psychology, the study of how people think and behave. You might work with a clinical psychologist if you go through some form of therapy as part of your treatment. It’s advisable to check your psychologist is registered with the British Psychological Society.

Psychotherapist

Someone who is trained to deliver one or more types of therapy. You can see whether your psychotherapist is registered at the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Issue date: January 2017  Review date: January 2020 Version 1.0 Sources used to create this information are available by contacting Beat. We welcome your feedback on our information resources.