At Westwind, we have a distinct bias toward a predominantly psychosocial model of treating eating disorders, rather than a medical model. The psychosocial model takes the view that eating disorders are as much a lifestyle choice as they are a disorder. While both thinking (about food, body image and self worth) and behaviour (eating) are disordered, this is not seen as an illness, and terms such as "disease" and "sick" do not apply. The behaviour is voluntary and can be altered using measures completely under the individual's control. There is no illness to be "cured", but rather a persistent dysfunctional pattern of cognitive and instrumental behaviour to be altered.
Biological aspects may predispose one toward the development of a psychological disorder, but are not seen as the "cause". Biological interventions such as medication, have so far proven to be fairly ineffectual in treatment, and at this point, psychological interventions, such as various forms of psychotherapy and skills training, seem far more effective.
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