Given the complex nature of eating disorders and the many factors that play a role in their development and perpetuation, treatment must address a variety of issues. It is accepted that a two-track approach is necessary for the treatment of eating disorders. The two tracks are:
- Issues concerning eating, weight, and physical condition
Issues concerning the underlying psychological conditions.
Treatment will focus more on the physiological issues in the early phases of therapy, with the view to establishing some degree of normalcy with eating and weight. This enables the individual to benefit from the therapy to address psychological issues. The therapist must not lose perspective on either track, and achieving a balance between the two is essential. Focussing on only one track to the total exclusion of the other is never in the best interest of the individual and may prevent full and lasting recovery. In order to be effective, the professional treating the person with an eating disorder in either phase of treatment must have a thorough understanding of eating disorders.