Talking to someone at an eating disorder clinic is a first but critical step toward recovery. Fear, shame, denial, hopelessness, not believing you can change–these feelings can overwhelm those suffering from eating disorders. Getting better starts by breaking the silence and power of these emotions.
Do I Need Help?
Whether an eating disorder has been an issue for a month, year or decade, it’s never too soon to get help. Research shows that early treatment for eating disorders has a higher rate of success for long-term recovery. Like other addictive behaviors, eating disorders become more entrenched over time.
Certain patterns of thinking and behavior can be signs that you may have or are at risk of developing of an eating disorder. Some of these include:
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Negative thinking about yourself and your body
- Feelings of worthlessness, self-blame
- Preoccupation with food, weight and calories
- Avoiding social situations centered around food
- Frequent mood changes, depression, anxiety
- Use of diet pills, appetite suppressants, laxatives or diuretics
- Excessive exercise
Signs that issues with food have led to an eating disorder:
- Skipping meals or abstaining from food on a daily or regular basis
- Dramatic and continuing weight loss
- Binging episodes become more frequent; often tied to relieving emotional distress
- Purging food after meals or binging is routine; happening twice a week or more
- Secretive nature of eating problems leads to withdrawal and isolation
- Abstinence from or addiction to food controls daily life, relationships and healthy functioning
- Experience fatigue, dizziness, skipped menstrual cycles, bruising, frequent infections or illness, increased anxiety, depression, irritability or other health issues
At the root of all eating disorders is emotional vulnerability or damage which profoundly impacts self-esteem. The longer a person suffers from an eating disorder, the more fragile her emotional and physical health becomes. Developing a positive, trusting and open relationship with a counselor, therapist or doctor is instrumental in getting better.
Getting Help: Eating Disorder Clinics
Counselors at eating disorder clinics, which are facilities that are designed to help those with eating disorders, have experience in all types of eating disorders and can help plan and prioritize treatment needs. Here are some of the ways they can help:
- Will help with referrals to therapists, support groups, medical specialists and treatment programs
- Answer questions about insurance and payment options
- Will assist and arrange for needed exams and tests to evaluate your physical health
- Work with you to develop a treatment and recovery plan
They key to all treatment is learning that eating disorders develop for many reasons and–like all illnesses–people suffering from eating disorders require expert care and support to get better.
There are many resources available on the Internet to help you find local eating disorder clinics and specialists. Most eating disorder programs and facilities will also be listed in the local yellow pages.
While recovery from an eating disorder takes time and dedication, the beginning of a new life can start with just one phone call.