It’s estimated that over 8 million people suffer from eating disorders. We’ve covered eating disorders on other pages of Addictive Addiction – these can range from the more commonly diagnosed anorexia and bulimia to lesser known disorders such as pica.
Finding an eating disorder treatment isn’t necessarily difficult. There are centers, both out- and inpatient, located in locations across the globe. But first, proper diagnosis is mandatory, and a realization that you suffer from an eating disorder is also essential.
If you or someone you know suffers from an eating disorder, look for help. These conditions can be fatal, and will affect a person both psychologically and physiologically. Here’s how to find help diagnosing an eating disorder, and how to find an eating disorder treatment that’s relevant to the person who’s suffering.
Eating Disorders Diagnoses
As discussed elsewhere on Addictive Addiction, it’s difficult to say how an eating disorder is developed. Many cases of eating disorders stem from childhood abuse or bullying but in other cases, no such treatment existed. Depression and mental illness are also causes of eating disorders.
In order to fully understand the scope of your eating disorder, it’s important that you seek professional medical assistance. Your doctor will begin tests, usually beginning with basic blood tests, and then advancing to psychological evaluations. If that sounds scary to you, please don’t worry. You won’t get in trouble for your eating disorder, and no one will judge you.
Psychotherapy, whether it’s just basic counseling or intensive therapy, is the single most effective way of treating an eating disorder. But it’s only through evaluation and diagnosis that your doctor can begin to help you. Take that first step, and seek the guidance of a doctor. He or she can explain, more in depth, the following programs which may be available to you.
What to Expect During Eating Disorder Treatment
You’ve probably seen examples of treatment centers on television. The ones in the media are generally geared toward overweight people, for example those with a sugar addiction. The facilities you see most frequently are inpatient facilities, and they offer an immersive treatment option for eating disorders.
These centers have one focus: to treat your eating disorder. The patients, or “residents” of the center are usually admitted on a revolving basis. They are others who, like you, suffer from an eating disorder and are there to find a solution.
Treatment centers aren’t scary places; you can expect kind treatment at these facilities. Some are private, while others are state run. All will be able to provide you with doctors and therapists who will help you overcome your disorder.
When you arrive at your inpatient treatment center, you’ll be checked in and shown the place where you’ll stay. You’ve usually already been given a tour of the facility. But if you haven’t, this will happen soon after check-in. Once you’re settled, you’ll be given tests. The doctors will want to take blood tests, and the therapy team will ask you some questions as well.
These questions are generally basic upon check-in. You’ll be asked about your habits and your lifestyle, as well as about any depression of thoughts of suicide. Be sure to be completely honest- it’s the only way you’ll get the help you need.
While you’re at the treatment facility, expect to be monitored closely. Your doctors will want to know that you’re consuming all of the nutrients you need. However, if you ever feel threatened, be sure to let someone know. You should never feel physically threatened by the staff; they’re there to help you.
Therapy for Eating Disorders
There are a huge number of ways that eating disorders can be treated through therapy. In fact, there are too many to list here. You may choose art therapy or dance therapy. Family therapy is an option, as is equine therapy, or therapy which uses horses.
A lot of your treatment will depend upon the resources available to you, and on your lifestyle. Much also depends upon your age. Children are diagnosed with eating disorders just as adults are, and they’ll undergo different treatments than adults will.
The most commonly practiced methods of treating eating disorders through therapy are cognitive behavioral therapy and medical nutrition therapy. These methods are often used in conjunction with one another, as they’re complementary.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is, in short, counseling. This therapy focuses on your negative thinking, using basic psychology to teach you different ways to cope with emotions. Your therapist will talk with you about your family, your lifestyle and will eventually seek to determine the root of your disorder.
Medical nutrition therapy is used alongside cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You and a registered dietician will establish a healthy and customized meal plan. Your nutritionist will likely also teach you the importance of including the right nutrients in your diet. This may be information that you already know, and it’s not your therapist’s job to sound condescending. A good nutritionist will strive to present information to you in a way that you’ve never considered before.
Your response to your therapy is sometimes a determining factor as to whether you’ll be required to attend an inpatient clinic. As always, be honest in your answers, as your honesty helps your doctors to help you.
How to Find Eating Disorder Treatment
As with any addiction or disorder, recognizing that you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Finding help is the next. You can begin by visiting your doctor, as most doctors can point you in the right direction.
If you don’t have a general practitioner, a good next step is to look up your local hospital. Most large hospital networks have treatment centers specifically for eating disorders. For example, Duke University runs the Duke Center for Eating Disorders. Johns Hopkins runs their Eating Disorders Program, too.
If you’d prefer a private clinic, you can do a quick web search for eating disorder clinics. Before you admit yourself, though, please tour the facility and solicit reviews from others. You can find these reviews online and in local forums. Be sure that the clinic you choose makes you feel safe. Finding a center that makes you feel safe will allow you to concentrate fully on what’s important – your eating disorder treatment.