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​Eating Disorders: Benefits of Art Therapy

Dian Handayani, from the Department of Psychiatry, Singapore General Hospital shares how art therapy helps individuals with eating disorder.

ART THERAPY​ helps​ eating disorder patients express difficult emotions that are otherwise expressed through the control of food.

Eating disorders are illnesses originating from a combination of issues such as long-standing behavioural and emotional struggles, physical concerns, interpersonal relationship issues and social factors.


There are different types of eating disorders. Besides anorexia and bulimia, there are also variants of the illness such as binge eating disorder. People struggling with eating disorders often use food as a coping strategy to deal with difficulties. Behaviours can include restricting food intake, strict dieting, binge eating and purging. These behaviours are physically harmful and can damage emotional well-being and reduce self-esteem even further.


In treating eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, a multi-disciplinary team can enhance the chances of recovery. Treatments include a careful combination of medical treatment, nutrition management, psychotherapy, art therapy, family-based therapy, as well as physical and occupational therapy.

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