Building Blocks to Success
Just like substance abuse disorders, eating disorders are a mental health condition that can be treated and managed, but not “cured.” While it is certainly possible to recover from them – many of us at Ocean Recovery, both staff and clients, are a testament to this fact – it takes a lifetime of work to stay on track. Furthermore, just as there are underlying principles in the recovery of addiction, there are some common denominators to every successful eating disorder recovery program. By attending to these three pillars, a person can exponentially increase their chances of a sustained recovery.
Seek and Maintain Professional Treatment
As we’ve said numerous times in these blogs, eating disorders are the deadliest of all mental health conditions. With so much at stake, we can’t recommend expert treatment by trained professionals more strongly. Furthermore, it’s wise to maintain a relationship with professional help, even as one’s recovery progresses. The level or frequency of visits to an office varies, of course, from case to case. Perhaps you meet with a mental health therapist once a month and a dietitian every three months. On the other hand, maybe a life event creates a need for extra support. By maintaining an open dialogue with eating disorder specialists, it’s much easier to handle those changes and make sure you’re staying on the path of recovery.
Learn to Cope and Plan Ahead
In our blog on dialectical behavior therapy, we mentioned how DBT focuses on emotional regulation and distress tolerance. Part of this is done through roleplay and planning ahead for difficult situations. The therapist and the client will act out various stressful real-life scenarios that arise as part of recovery. This way the client gets a chance to start practicing the coping skills they’ve learned during their treatment. These skills could include grounding exercises, mantras, positive self-talk, or boundary maintenance to name a few. Testing out some of these skills in a safe space and knowing when and how to draw upon them when the time arises is an invaluable part of a successful eating disorder recovery plan.
Build a Recovery Support System
A quick Google search will reveal a multitude of support groups for those suffering from eating disorders. Furthermore, many are geared towards particular communities to foster a sense of belonging. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, for example, offers virtual meetings for general support, LGBTQ+, BIPOC, older adults, people with larger bodies, and teens and adolescents. It’s a chance to share your experiences with people who have had some of the same struggles. We also suggest finding which of your family and friends are supportive of your recovery and opening a dialogue with them. Your peers can often spot changes in you before you can and are a valuable resource.
Real Courage Means Asking for Help
Ocean Recovery has successfully been treating eating disorders since 2002 and has made numerous appearances on Dr. Phil to assist with difficult cases. At our facilities in Newport Beach, California, we’ve helped hundreds of clients overcome their eating disorders and live happy, contented lives. If you or someone you love is struggling with eating disorders, please give us a call today. Real courage means asking for help. Ocean Recovery is ready to answer.