Eating disorders are complicated disorders with drastic impacts on both the mental and physical health of an individual. Put simply, they alter a person’s perception and relationship with food, exercise and body image to such a degree that the individual risks putting their own lives in danger.
Just as there is no one cause of an eating disorder, there is also no “one size fits all” to eating disorder treatment. Eating disorders can manifest in different ways (anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating, etc.) because of various causes (trauma, family history, unhealthy dieting), so each eating disorder case needs to be treated uniquely, tailored to the individual seeking treatment.
Additionally, treatment shouldn’t focus exclusively on improving the physical health of the client, even though this is an extremely important piece. Attention needs to be given to the mind of the individual, with the intent of healing the mental processes which led to the development of the disorder. In order to do this effectively, it is vital to find and connect with an eating disorder therapist.
A guide for the recovery journey
While you might’ve decided on your own to begin the recovery process, healing from an eating disorder is rarely completed successfully alone. Regardless of how long the disorder has been present, the path to recovery is long and difficult but not impossible. In fact, many people recover from eating disorders because of effective treatment plans and the therapists behind them.
It’s important to remember that receiving help from a therapist isn’t a sign of incompetence or weakness. It’s a sign of resolve on your part – you recognize your lack of tools to successfully defeat the eating disorder on your own and therefore find someone who can and will help you recover.
In addition to guiding you through recovery, there are countless other benefits to working alongside a therapist during eating disorder treatment.
More than physical recovery
Working with a therapist allows clients to not just heal physically, but to heal mentally as well. Eating disorders can co-occur with other mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety or OCD. When a therapist is part of the recovery process, co-occurring conditions are not overlooked. Rather, the ability to address them and work through them frequently allows for the total healing of the individual.
A fuller understanding of one’s condition
Eating disorders can be confusing. It sounds strange to say, but some clients struggle to understand why or how their eating disorder arose, or how it grew to an extreme level. An eating disorder therapist, because of their personal training and understanding of the disorder, can talk with their clients about all aspects of it. They can help identify the causes and triggers, as well as provide an overall understanding of the disorder to their client. This, in turn, can provide a strong avenue for recovery as that which is understood has significantly less power over someone.
More than just a safe space
It’s important to have a support system around during eating disorder treatment. The encouragement and love of family and friends have been the turning point for many, many clients. However, it’s just as important to have a trusted individual with professional training to talk to. While a best friend or close sibling can provide love and kindness in a unique way, a therapist can offer both a safe space to talk and expert tools regarding recovery. They can discuss your fears or concerns, share in your victories or milestones or offer concrete steps to avoid relapse, all while providing an environment of care and support.
Returning to normal, everyday life after treatment is a challenge for anyone. When you’re no longer under the regimented schedule of a recovery center, it can be intimidating or frightening. After all, it’s up to you at that point. While this is true, you’re not completely alone – this is where therapists play another crucial role. They can provide you with countless follow-up/check-in meetings to encourage you, work with you after a fallback and provide you with strong, healthy coping mechanisms to continue improving even long after your time in a treatment center has concluded.
Counseling for more than just you
Counseling sessions with family members can make a world of difference during eating disorder treatment. It offers your family a chance to engage with you and your therapist, allowing them to gain a better understanding of the disorder as well as the best ways to be supportive during recovery. Sometimes people struggle to be helpful or supportive simply due to a lack of understanding, but once they understand and know how to best be helpful, they can be a powerful support system throughout your recovery.
Get in touch with a therapist today
Unfortunately, eating disorders aren’t something that can be treated at home. For the best chance at recovery, they require the professional assistance of a therapist, whose counseling and support offer more than just an outlet to vent. They benefit clients with recovery strategies, a deeper understanding of the disorder and healthy coping mechanisms.
To get help from an eating disorder therapist, reach out to Seeds of Hope today at 610-644-6464.