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How to Start the Eating Disorder Healing Process

So, you’ve finally come to terms with the fact that you need help. You’ve recognized your behavior is self-destructive. You’ve realized you do not want to spend the rest of your life with an eating disorder. Be proud of yourself for getting to the point that you want to ask for help. For many people this is the most difficult part, and it often never happens. However, now that you have gotten to this point you may not know how, exactly, to proceed. Here are some great options to get you started with treatment.


The first person you should reach out to is a trusted friend or family member. Having someone who you are consistently around, and who is responsible, is extremely important. This person can help you seek out treatment and keep an eye on you, ensuring that you’re feeling safe and supported along the way. If you do not have someone close to you who you feel you can reach out to, contact your doctor, a therapist, or even the eating disorder helpline.


While opening up about all of your feelings may seem scary, it is one of the most important steps towards recovery. To open up, just start by explaining what you have been doing and how it has been affecting you. This will help give the person you are talking to an idea of what you will need to do next. You may feel guilt or embarrassment when talking about your eating disorder, but it is important to know that your loved ones are there to offer support so you can heal, not judge you.

After reaching out to a professional, you will most likely establish some goals that will include therapy, nutritional education, medication, and potentially hospitalization. This will all depend on what eating disorder you are diagnosed with and its severity.


If you must be hospitalized first in order to be stabilized, know that you are definitely not alone. Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that can have devastating effects on a person’s health and well-being. Hospitalization may be necessary when a person’s health is in danger due to their eating disorder.


If you're considering treatment for an eating disorder, it's important to understand what the different types of programs are and what they entail. Here's a brief overview of some of the most common eating disorder treatment programs:


Inpatient Treatment: Inpatient treatment programs provide 24-hour care and supervision. This type of treatment is usually recommended for people with severe eating disorders who need intensive care and support. The individual is referred to a facility at which they will stay for some time (the length of time depending on the severity of the situation).


Outpatient Treatment: Outpatient treatment programs provide less intensive care than inpatient programs. They typically involve meeting with a therapist or counselor for a few hours each week. This type of treatment is typically recommended for people with less severe eating disorders who have a solid at-home support system. They will be able to stay at home to receive care and will not have to be admitted into an inpatient facility.

Individual Therapy: This, of course, involves meeting with a therapist or counselor one-on-one. This type of therapy can be very effective in treating eating disorders that do not require a higher level of care.


Group Therapy: Group therapy involves meeting with a group of people who are also struggling with eating disorders. This type of therapy can be helpful in providing support and encouragement from others who understand what you're going through.


The decision to hospitalize someone with an eating disorder should not be taken lightly. It is a serious step. Because there are other options available, hospitalization is reserved for those cases in which a person’s life is truly at risk. A clinician has determined that life-saving measures must first be taken. It is also important to note that it is simply a first step to stabilize. Follow up methods of treatment should be utilized in order to ensure the person receives ongoing care.


Remember that you are the most important person in your treatment plan, and your actions affect your progress. Allowing others to help you can seem scary and shameful, but you have to remember you are in control of your body and how your treatment progresses. The success of your treatment starts and ends with you.


Take this journey seriously and lean on those around you for support. You can’t do it alone and shouldn’t have to. By being patient and utilizing the tools you will be given you will continue to grow into a healthier version of yourself.


If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please seek help from a qualified professional. There is hope for recovery, and treatment can save lives.

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