Everything you Need to Know About Eating Disorders Program but Were Afraid to Ask by Carol

We all have inner dialogue. It’s normal. It significantly affects one’s actions and emotions.

For those affected by an eating disorder, it’s critical to shed light on harmful inner dialogue before attempting to shift one’s actions. One-on-one therapy sheds awareness of how your mind thinks and appropriately reconnects you with your emotions.

A good connection with your therapist will help you become aware of your harmful inner dialogue and emotional reactions. If you have the chance to get professional one-on-one therapy, brutal honesty is critical towards recovery when answering questions.

You will see gradual improvement as your awareness emerges. Differentiating between thoughts, emotions and sensations will unfold. As such, overall coping skills will improve. What’s important is not what happens in life, but how you react to it.

Group therapy illuminates how we are all connected, and influenced by environmental components, such as social, family, media, etc. It is an important part of recovery and most comforting and healing just knowing that you are not alone with the torment. It certainly is an eye opener in the variety of ways one can develop various eating disorder behaviours.

This disorder always starts with restriction. Keep in mind this is a learned behaviour. Patients’ focus on body image is often a distraction from other issues which lie beneath such as: low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, fear, a yearning to be loved and accepted.

Those with anorexia go for days, weeks, months and years with controlled restrictive eating. After a period of restriction, a binge/purge episode will often unfold, categorized as bulimia. Regardless of the type of eating disorder, the behaviour acts as an escape while on the flip side, an awful unbearable torment ensues. There is no quick fix to this. Hours of talk therapy with a trained professional will enable patients to sift out the deep routed issues.

Recovery has extremely difficult challenges when it comes to family. Though patients must take responsibility for their lives, part of the process can be discussing the family’s understanding of their eating disorder. In a perfect world, the best scenario is family participation in therapy sessions.

One last point: One-on-one and/or group meetings with a nutritionist, skilled in eating disorders, are part of the program. The nutritionist helps patients observe their own eating habits initially by writing a food journal. At the start, due to an overwhelming preoccupation with weight, patients have trouble understanding normal eating vs. out of control eating. A good nutritionist will help the patients become aware of food behaviours. As such, the focus will shift, rituals will slowly disappear, and normal eating will occur.

The “Recovery Talks” blog is a new additional tool; allowing an exchange with professionals as well as people with lived experience. As one with lived experiences, what subject(s) or question(s) would you like me to address in my next blog entry? Don’t be afraid to ask.

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Posted in eating disorders, hope, lived experience, mental health services, symptoms, treatment.

Posted on 05 Nov 2012, by Carol

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2 comments to Everything you Need to Know About Eating Disorders Program but Were Afraid to Ask by Carol

  1. Alison
    On Nov 14th 2012 at 11:46

    I have struggled with bulimia for more than forty years. Finally, finally I feel I am recovering and learning to handle my emotions without bingeing and throwing up. It is an incredible relief. I am so happy and grateful to the staff of the Douglas Hospital, to ANEB, to my therapist, Shawna Atkins, and to my fellow travellers along this long and sometimes rocky path. It was very comforting and helped me very much to encounter health care professionals who took my problem seriously and didn’t tell me to just “work on losing weight”. I am so impressed with the professionalism and the unflagging compassion and support of the members of the Eating Disorders team at the Douglas. I learned so much about bulimia; I learned that it wasn’t my fault. Slowly I regained confidence and shed my shame; slowly but surely I learned to challenge my dysfunctional thoughts.
    I have not purged on a regular basis for about 4 years; it used to be twice a week. I binge infrequently; I used to binge nightly. I believe I am very close to complete recovery, the complete recovery that I heard Mimi Israel speak about in a public lecture five years ago. I repeated her words over and over to myself to nourish my determination, and here I am.
    I am happier than I can ever remember being. I am healthier than I have ever been. Eating regularly and not purging have had an amazing effect on my general health.

    Thank you!

    • Carol
      On Nov 16th 2012 at 15:59

      You have so much to be proud of.
      Congratulations and continue to be a positive influence.