“Many patients are reluctant to discuss eating patterns that they suspect might not be healthy,” says Dr. Katie Stage, an assistant professor at SCNM. “NDs typically use a very comprehensive intake with new patients, and take the time to ask about diet, desired weight, anxiety, depression, and more, which aids in eliciting warning signs for eating disorders.”
“Addressing eating disorders and nutritional peculiarities requires a sensitive eye, a listening ear and a thorough appointment: the written patient intake, the physical exam, and an extensive interview,” adds Dr. Jennifer Botwick of the University of Bridgeport.
After the initial stage of screening, naturopathic doctors take a multifaceted approach to address the eating disorder as thoroughly as possible.
“Naturopathic physicians always aim to treat the cause of a condition, be that anxiety, depression, trauma, or other – and in treating the cause, we can offer lasting improvement, or in many cases, cure,” Dr. Stage says. “NDs also typically spend more time with patients than conventional doctors, and thus are able to establish trust, which leads to healing. Many NDs are also open to other types of activities, such as meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and journaling, all of which are helpful in promoting healing in this patient population.”
“Management of eating disorders should be a multidisciplinary approach involving psychiatrists, psychologists, endocrinologists, dentists, gastro enterologists, internists, naturopathic doctors and so on,” says Dr. Afsoun Khalili, an associate professor and clinic faculty at CCNM. “All personnel must work closely together and maintain open communication and mutual respect.”
Dr. Nicole Cain, an integrative mental health expert from SCNM also takes a team-based approach. “My team typically consists of a counselor who will address psychosocial variables, the family dynamic, issues of trauma, and the cognitive-behavioral factors that contributed-to and often maintain the eating disorder. I also work with a dietician, and sometimes a psychiatrist,” she says.
“My role as a naturopathic doctor is to seek to understand the root cause, remove obstacles to cure, stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal itself, give the body what it needs to heal, tonify weak and damaged systems, and evaluate structural integrity,” Dr. Cain explains.