Treatment and Recovery

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The inner voices of anorexia and bulimia whisper that you’ll never be happy until you lose weight and that your worth is measured by how you look. But the truth is that happiness and self-esteem come from loving yourself for who you truly are, and that’s only possible with recovery.

It may seem like there’s no escape from your eating disorder, but remember you are not alone in your struggle. Millions of men, women, girls and boys struggle with anorexia and bulimia and manage to recover. With treatment, support from others, and smart self-help strategies, you can overcome your eating disorder and gain true self-confidence.


Eating disorder recovery


The road to recovery starts with admitting you have a problem. This admission can be tough, especially if you’re still clinging to the belief–even in the back of your mind–that weight loss is the key to happiness, confidence, and success. Even when you finally understand this isn’t true, old habits are still hard to break.

The good news is that the eating disorder behaviours you’ve learned can be unlearned if you’re motivated to change and willing to ask for help. However, overcoming an eating disorder is about more than giving up unhealthy eating behaviours. It is also about rediscovering who you are beyond your eating habits, weight, and body image.

True recovery from anorexia and bulimia involves learning to:

  • ·         Listen to your body.
  • ·         Listen to your feelings.
  • ·         Trust yourself.
  • ·         Accept yourself.
  • ·         Love yourself.
  • ·         Enjoy life again.


Eating disorder treatment: Help for anorexia and bulimia


The exact treatment needs of someone struggling with an eating disorder will vary according to the individual. It is, therefore, important that a health professional coordinates any treatment plan.


Eating disorder treatment step #1: Ask for help

It can be scary and embarrassing to seek help for an eating disorder but gaining support from a trusted friend, family member, religious leader, school counsellor, or work colleague is for many people the first step on the road to recovery. Alternately, some people find it less threatening to confide in a treatment specialist, such as an eating disorder counsellor or nutritionist.

Whoever you select as a confidant, set aside a specific time to discuss your situation with them, ideally in a quiet, comfortable place away from other people and distractions. Remember, your friend or family member may be shocked when you disclose details of your eating disorder. They may even be angry or confused, unsure of how to respond or the best way to help you. It’s important to remain patient. Take time to educate them about your specific eating disorder and the ways you’d like them to support you during the recovery process.


Eating disorder treatment step #2: Find a specialist

Eating disorder recovery is much easier when you have experienced, caring health professionals in your corner. It’s important to find a professional counsellor or nutritionist who specializes in anorexia or bulimia. As you search, focus on finding the right fit, someone who makes you feel comfortable, accepted, and safe. To find an eating disorder treatment specialist in your area:

  • ·         Ask your primary care doctor for a referral.
  • ·         Check with local hospitals or medical centres.
  • ·         Ask your school counsellor or nurse.


Eating disorder treatment step #3: Address health problems

Anorexia and bulimia can be deadly–and not just if you’re drastically underweight. Your health may be in danger, even if you only occasionally fast, binge, or purge, so it’s important to get a full medical evaluation. If the evaluation reveals health problems, they should take top treatment priority. Nothing is more important than your physical well-being. If you’re suffering from any life-threatening problem, you may need to be hospitalised in order to keep you safe.


Eating disorder treatment step #4: Make a long-term treatment plan

Once your health problems are under control, you and your doctor or therapist can work on a long-term recovery plan. First, you’ll need to assemble a complete eating disorder treatment team. Your team might include a family doctor, a psychologist, a nutritionist, a social worker, and a psychiatrist. Then you and your team will develop a treatment plan that’s stylised to meet your needs.

Your eating disorder treatment plan may include:

  • ·         Inpatient treatment
  • ·         Individual or group therapy
  • ·         Family therapy
  • ·         Eating disorder education
  • ·         Nutritional counselling
  • ·         Medical monitoring

An effective treatment program for eating disorders should address more than just your symptoms and destructive eating habits. It should also address the root causes of the problem—the emotional triggers that lead to disordered eating and your difficulty coping with stress, anxiety, fear, sadness, and other uncomfortable emotions.


Treatment options for anorexia and bulimia


While there are a variety of different treatment options available for those struggling with eating disorders, it is important to find the treatment, or combination of treatments, that works best for you.


Therapy for eating disorders

Therapy is crucial to treating anorexia and bulimia. There are many ways a therapist can work with you, including addressing any feelings of shame and isolation caused by your eating disorder. Different therapists have different methods, so it is important to discuss with a therapist your goals in working towards recovery.

The most common therapy for eating disorders is cognitive-behavioural therapy. This targets the unhealthy eating behaviours of anorexia and bulimia and the unrealistic, negative thoughts that fuel them. One of the main goals is for you to become more self-aware of how you use food to deal with emotions. The therapist will help you recognise your emotional triggers and learn how to avoid or combat them. Cognitive-behavioural therapy for eating disorders also involves education about nutrition, healthy weight management, and relaxation techniques.


Nutritional counselling for eating disorders

The goal of a nutritionist or dietician is to help you incorporate healthy eating behaviours into your everyday life. A nutritionist can’t change your habits overnight, but over a period of time you can learn to develop a healthier relationship with the food you consume.


Eating disorder support groups

While family and friends can be a huge help in providing support, you may also want to join an eating disorder support group. They provide a safe environment where you can talk freely about your eating disorder and get advice and support from people who know what you’re going through.

There are many types of eating disorder support groups. Some are led by professional therapists, while others are moderated by trained volunteers or people who have recovered from an eating disorder.

To find an eating disorder support group in your area:

  • ·         Ask your doctor or therapist for a referral
  • ·         Call local hospitals and universities
  • ·         Call local eating disorder centres and clinics
  • ·         Visit your school’s counselling centre


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The Have I Got A Problem website is a free online resource to help people better understand any issues or concerns they may have about mental health or addiction. The website includes resources specifically focused to; general Mental Health, Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Insecurities, Self-harm Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Anger Management, Eating Disorders, Coping, general Addiction, Alcohol, Smoking, Gambling, Drugs, Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana (Cannabis) Ecstasy, PCP, Mephedrone, Ketamine & Crystal Meth.

The site was created to give the public information to help them understand mental health and addiction issues and to assist people in making better informed decisions about their life and personal choices.

www.haveigotaproblem.com was created and is run by 'Advising Communities’, which is a UK registered charity (Charity No. 1061055)

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