Art Therapy as a Treatment for Eating Disorders Why it works

Art therapy: an alternative means of expressing troubling emotions and thoughts.

people suffering from eating disorders

Data from National Eating Disorders Association's online article "Get the Facts on Eating Disorders"

Approximately 30 million people suffer from eating disorders in the U.S. In comparison, some 5.1 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's Disease (National Eating Disorders Association).

Different perspectives

ED patients, mental health professionals, and loved ones often have different points of view about the practice and effectiveness of art therapy.

ed's treated with art therapy (AT): the stats

Data from Maria J. Frisch, Debra L. Franko, and David B. Herzog's 2006 study of 19 ED treatment facilities, "Arts-Based Therapies in the Treatment of Eating Disorders"

In a 2006 study of 19 ED treatment facilities, 100% of facilities reported employing art therapy at least once per week, while 26% reported engaging patients in art therapy once per day.

combating the causes

A variety of biological and environmental factors can contribute to the onset of an eating disorder. These include but are not limited to perfectionistic tendencies, trauma (e.g. illness, death of a family member, or a breakup), and pressure to look a certain way.

how an ed progresses

Good intentions to eat healthily and exercise regularly can quickly spiral out of control, resulting in a dangerous ED.


Art therapy helps to expedite the ED treatment process by providing another outlet for emotional expression and regulation.


Without art therapy, patients may struggle to articulate their emotions in individual and group therapy sessions. As a result, they may experience undue frustration and require additional therapy sessions, prolonging their time spent in ED treatment.

the bottom line

Art therapy is an efficient and effective way of expediting the ED treatment process by providing patients with an opportunity to express their thoughts and emotions by way of creating something new.

Works Cited

Frisch, M. J., Franko, D. L., & Herzog, D. B. (2006). Arts-Based Therapies in the Treatment of Eating Disorders. Eating Disorders, 14(2), 131-142. doi:10.1080/10640260500403857

Get the Facts on Eating Disorders. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2017, from

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Created By
Jennifer Horton


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