There are many ways to treat eating disorders, but the very first step is acknowledging that you have a problem. Once that has happened, you can get help from a specialist, so you won’t have to handle it alone; your doctor will establish a treatment plan that suits your specific case.
At first, you may need medication that helps lift your mood and enable you to fully participate in your own treatment. If you feel depressed, it can be difficult to make major lifestyle changes, especially if you have had an eating disorder for a long time. The medication can also help to negate an obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is common among people with eating disorders.
You can have psychotherapy sessions to discuss your triggers and symptoms, and then learn how to avoid them. You may also have to address other health issues that may be caused as a result of the eating disorder, because they can sometimes be life-threatening if ignored for too long.
A dietitian can offer you precious advice; he can tell you what foods are best to eat in order to help you stay healthy and slim, without having to suffer from the harmful effects of an eating disorder.
If you are young and still live at home, your family can offer you moral support and help prepare healthy meals. In fact, they can also get involved in discussions with your dietitian to help you with your meals. If you have support, most problems become a bit easier to manage, even in the toughest times.
You may have to be supervised during and after meals, so you don’t purge or hide food instead of eating it. Old habits can die hard if allowed to continue.
If normal treatment isn’t effective, you may need to be hospitalized, so that the doctors can monitor your health, make sure that you eat and drink without purging or hiding food, monitor your weight and care for your mental and physical health in a safe, controlled environment.
If you have counseling sessions, they will usually last a few months or perhaps a year, depending on the severity of the problem and how well you respond to treatment.
There are different forms of counseling. There are one-on-one sessions, group sessions, cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy, which focuses on solving relationship problems.
Family-based therapy gets your family involved as well. This helps parents and other family members understand how best to support you, whether you are a teenager or an adult.
Your therapist may ask you to fill out a daily journal of your thoughts and feelings, so he or she can better understand what you are going through, allowing both of you to see the patterns that emerge.
Although there are lots of different treatment plans available, you need to actively get involved in the treatment. You have to want to get better, and cope with your life without letting eating disorders take charge.