Getting Help for Eating Disorders: Where to Start

help for eating disorders

28.8 million Americans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.

Eating disorders are the second deadliest mental illness.

10,200 deaths each year are the direct result of an eating disorder—that’s one death every 52 minutes.

Even if you haven’t heard of these statistics, it’s important to note that it’s not a fear tactic to try and get people into treatment – it’s a life reality that so many people face alone, sometimes not even knowing they have an eating disorder. It is also not uncommon for people to know something is wrong, but they are misdiagnosed, falling into a never-ending cycle of doctor visits and tests.

Eating disorders are complex, often hidden battles that millions of people around the world face every day. If you or someone you care about is grappling with an eating disorder, it’s important to understand that you are not alone, and there is hope for recovery. 

This blog aims to provide empathy, understanding, and guidance on how to seek help for eating disorders. Remember, taking that first step toward healing is an act of courage and self-compassion.

The First Steps

We know the story all too well. After arriving at our eating disorder center, we hear clients’ struggles about being passed around by different doctors and hospitals, being told their disorder is not as severe as it really is, and oftentimes misdiagnosed as depression, anxiety, OCD, BPD, gastrointestinal problems, etc. These other conditions are important and need to be treated as well, but these are rarely the primary issue – the eating disorder is. The co-occurring disorders are just exacerbating the struggles the sufferers are experiencing. 

Every individual’s experience is unique, complex and multifaceted, but there is often a shared reluctance to seek help for eating disorders. Overcoming these barriers often requires a combination of self-awareness, support from loved ones, and access to appropriate eating disorder treatment options. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, it’s essential to reach out to a healthcare professional or a mental health provider for guidance and support. Early intervention and treatment can significantly improve the chances of recovery.

Recognize the Signs of Eating Disorders

The first step in seeking help for an eating disorder is to recognize the signs and acknowledge that there may be a problem. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, among others. Signs to watch out for may include extreme weight loss or gain, obsession with food, changes in eating habits, frequent comments about body image, or excessive exercise. Remember that eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, and backgrounds. 

Recognizing the signs of an eating disorder can indeed be a challenging process, and it’s crucial to remember that self-diagnosis can be tricky. However, being open to the possibility that you might be dealing with one is a significant and courageous first step. It’s perfectly okay to feel scared and apprehensive about this acknowledgement because it’s a big deal. Eating disorders can be incredibly sneaky and persuasive, making it tough to see what’s happening from the inside. Try our free self-assessment to gain insight into what emotions and feelings people typically experience or to gauge how you feel right now.

Reaching a point where you’re willing to consider the possibility is a positive sign. It means you recognize that something might not be right, and that self-awareness can be a powerful motivator for seeking professional eating disorder help and support. Remember, you don’t have to face this journey alone, and there are compassionate experts ready to guide you toward healing and recovery.

Educate Yourself About Eating Disorders

Educating yourself about eating disorders and mental health is like equipping yourself with a powerful tool kit to find the help you truly need. It’s not just about understanding what you’re going through; it’s about empowering yourself to navigate the complex world of mental health care more effectively. When you learn more about these conditions, you gain insights into your own experiences and struggles. You become better at recognizing when something isn’t quite right and when it’s time to reach out for support. It also helps you ask the right questions and advocate for yourself when seeking professional help. 

Knowledge truly is power, and it can be a beacon of hope that guides you toward the resources, treatments, and professionals who can make a real difference in your recovery journey. So, don’t underestimate the value of self-education; it can be a pivotal step toward healing and finding the eating disorder help you genuinely need.

In eating disorder treatment, you’ll discover a wealth of psychoeducational information about your condition, and it’s a significant part of your healing journey. Understanding the ins and outs of eating disorders can be incredibly empowering. It’s like having a roadmap that guides you through the twists and turns of recovery. This knowledge helps you recognize the patterns, triggers, and underlying factors contributing to your struggles. It’s not just about addressing the surface-level symptoms but digging deeper to find the root causes. Armed with this insight, you can make more informed decisions, develop healthier coping strategies, and work on dismantling the negative thought patterns that may have held you back. Being knowledgeable about your illness is like gaining a superpower on your way to recovery. 

Reach Out for Eating Disorder Help

We completely understand how asking for help or support when you’re grappling with an eating disorder can be an incredibly tough step to take. Dealing with something as serious as this alone can be overwhelming and isolating. It’s entirely natural to feel anxiety and shame around reaching out, and these emotions can be powerful barriers. But knowing you’re not alone in facing these challenges is important. 

In general, many people find it hard to reach out to therapists or seek help because anxiety often makes us doubt ourselves. Remember, reaching out to get help for an eating disorder is a brave and crucial step toward healing, and there are professionals who genuinely care and are ready to support you on your journey to recovery. You deserve the care and support needed to overcome these difficulties, and taking that first step can lead to a path of healing and hope.

Find a Treatment Center That Matches Your Needs

Absolutely; finding the right help for your eating disorder can be a challenging journey, but it’s one that’s worth every effort. Researching your options is vital in this process because, unfortunately, not all healthcare providers are equally specialized in treating eating disorders. It’s common for individuals to encounter confusing or conflicting advice, which can be frustrating. 

But don’t lose hope; persistence is key. Seek out professionals with experience in eating disorders, such as eating disorder specialists, therapists, or nutritionists who understand the complexities involved. It might take some time, but finding a knowledgeable and empathetic support team can make a world of difference on your path to recovery. Remember, you deserve the best care and support possible, and finding the right help for an eating disorder is a significant investment in your well-being.

Consulting a healthcare professional is crucial for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Start by making an appointment with your primary care physician or a mental health specialist, such as a therapist or psychiatrist. They can assess your condition, provide guidance on treatment options, and connect you with specialized eating disorder treatment centers or support groups.

Eating disorders often require specialized treatment due to their complex nature. Treatment may involve a combination of medical, psychological, and nutritional interventions. Inpatient or outpatient programs, therapy (such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Dialectical Behavior Therapy), and nutritional counseling can be valuable components of your recovery journey. 

Other factors you should consider when choosing an eating disorder treatment program include:

  • Treatment setting: It is important to decide if you want to attend an inpatient program, a partial hospitalization program, an intensive outpatient program, or an outpatient program.
  • Location: Consider whether you would prefer local treatment or traveling to another state or city.
  • Cost: Set a budget before comparing treatment programs so you can find one that is affordable.
  • Insurance coverage: If you are insured, you should check out programs that are in network with your insurance company.
  • Treatment approach: While all accredited recovery programs utilize evidence-based treatment methods, programs may differ in their approach, such as incorporating holistic or experiential therapies.
  • Inclusivity: Finding an inclusive eating disorder treatment center is of utmost importance for several reasons, and you should ask questions about whether they have a diverse clientele, cultural competence, gender-inclusive care, and LGBTQ+ sensitivity. 

Once you find a center you trust with your recovery, you can explore different treatment options to find what works best for you.

Build a Support Network

Recovery from an eating disorder is not linear and can be challenging. Building a support network of professionals, friends, and family who understand your struggles can make a significant difference. 

Eating disorder treatment centers, such as Eating Disorder Solutions, are incredibly valuable because they offer comprehensive support that extends beyond immediate treatment. One of the most crucial aspects is helping you build a strong support system for when you transition back to the real world. We understand that returning to everyday life can be daunting, and having a network of understanding friends, family, or support groups is essential for ongoing recovery. 

Our center equips you with the skills to manage your eating disorder and provides you with tools to nurture healthy relationships and seek out the right resources. Remember, you don’t have to face this journey alone, and the support system you build during treatment can be a lifeline when you’re back in the real world, helping you maintain your progress.

Getting help for eating disorders at Eating Disorder Solutions

Eating Disorder Solutions truly understands the importance of your voice and your unique journey toward recovery. In our treatment approach, you’re not just a client but an active participant in your healing process. We believe that your needs, preferences, and desires should shape your treatment plan. From making food choices that align with your recovery goals to selecting the therapy options that resonate with you, we’re here to support your choices. Your voice matters every step of the way because, ultimately, your recovery should reflect your aspirations and strengths. We empower you to use your voice, helping you take ownership of your healing journey. Remember, you’re the expert on your own life, and we’re here to walk beside you as you pave the path toward a healthier and happier future.

Seeking help for an eating disorder is a courageous step towards reclaiming your life and well-being. Remember that recovery is possible, and you deserve to live a life free from the grip of an eating disorder. Surround yourself with understanding and supportive individuals, consult professionals, and embark on a journey of self-compassion and healing. You are not alone; there is hope for a brighter, healthier future.