There aren’t many positive words to say about eating disorders. If you’ve made it this far, you probably already know the truth: An eating disorder isn’t a thing to be trifled with, or brushed aside. It can ruin your life, if you don’t take active steps to set yourself on the road to healing. Of course, that healing can’t come through willpower alone, and so it is that professional addiction treatment is the single most important point of focus for any victim. The bottom line: If you’re going to get better, you’ve got to get help.
And so there’s no mistake: It won’t be easy. These disorders are formidable obstacles, and eating disorder treatment is invariably hard. Those who get better, in the end, are the ones who commit themselves to the healing process, and resolve to make recovery work for them. If you’re going to beat your addiction, you’ve got to be ready for a fight.
Which is precisely why the right eating disorder treatment program is so important, because you’re going to need all the help you can help. Treatment works when you are engaged with your own healing processes…and such engagement can only be nurtured by a specially-tailored treatment program. To get over any addiction, you need a customized recovery program designed to meet each and every one of your needs.
It’s in that spirit that the following text lays out the rudimentary framework of the recovery process: why eating disorders are so serious, and how treatment programs work to combat them. Addiction treatment is and can only be a long journey…but every journey starts with a first step, and self-education is a vital precursor to meaningful and lasting recovery. Please, for your own sake, let today be the day you start leaning what you need to know.
The Facts About Eating Disorders
To beat an eating disorder, you’ve got to first understand it: how it works, and why it’s so difficult to overcome. A program then is most effective when you play an active role in your own healing…and, as should probably go without saying, you can’t play an active role in anything without seeing it for what it really is. For a successful recovery, you might say, you must be grounded first and foremost in education.
An eating disorder is any consumption-oriented abnormality that jeopardizes an individual’s physical health. Common disorders include anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive (or “binge”) eating, which are themselves all ultimately rooted in a victim’s abnormal physical and psychological relationship to food. That distorted relationship, in turn, is on its most fundamental level a manifestation of a behavioral disorder, and so it is that you can only get better by virtue of professional treatment.
These disorders shouldn’t provide cause for shame, or guilt, because they exist outside the scope of individual volition. Indeed, the only choice any addict can ever really make is that which concerns the decision to seek treatment for their behavior disorder. And with so much on the line, you can’t afford to opt for anything else.
Eating Disorder Treatment
As eating disorders operate on both physical and psychological levels, so it is that addiction treatment must pose both physical and psychological solutions to them. A successful treatment program is that which treats addicts in their totality: in mind and in body and in everything in between. At the same time, it’s important to reemphasize that an effective recovery program is and can only be the product of your engagement with the healing process. Again, to beat any disorder, you’ve got to play an active role in your own recovery.
The first phase of eating disorder treatment concerns itself primarily with physical healing: with ensuring that you get the emergency nutritional care you need, and with working to alleviate the chemical imbalances that trigger these disorders in the first place. Most significantly, these disorders are often linked to irregular levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the human brain, which means that an effective recovery process must often include pharmacological therapies to restore a patient to metabolic normalcy. It’s only with that sort of biochemical stability that recovery can go forward.
Of course, such biochemical stability is only a precursor to substantive treatment, because again behavioral disorders themselves are both physical and psychological. Recovery that lasts, in the end, must be that which is grounded in thorough emotional and personal growth; you have to learn new ways of relating to food and to yourself if you are ever going to get better for good. To master an disorder, you might say, you’ve first got to be able to master yourself.
And, to reemphasize a point that really should speak for itself: It’s not easy. Rehab is a struggle, and complete recovery takes work. No one gets better in an treatment facility without straining a little along the way…which means that those who get healed are more often that not those who commit themselves to the process, and resolve themselves to the fight. The bottom line: Your destiny is ultimately in your hands. What you do with it is up to you.
Eating Disorders and Depression
As is true of many psychologically-oriented diseases, eating disorders rarely exist in isolation. Of particular note here is the connection between these disorders and clinical depression: Both conditions have been empirically linked to irregular serotonin levels in the brain, and so it is perhaps unsurprising that eating disorder victims often exhibit symptoms of depression. The important corollary, of course, is that these patients are often in need of depression counseling, and so effective co-occurring disorder treatment programs must entail comprehensive mental health screenings.
It’s a simple point, really: An eating disorder victim who suffers from depression can’t beat his disorder without proper depression treatment. A treatment program that doesn’t account for both isn’t really a proper treatment program at all, and recovery that leaves depression untouched is and must be inevitably bound to fail. In the end, it has got to be an all or nothing proposition; if you’re going to get better, you’ve got to do it right.
What that means, of course, is that any competent program must be preceded by a thorough mental health screening. The center that is right for you is the one that treats you, all of you, as you really are. Treatment that works can only be that which addresses every patient as a unique individual. To put it as simply as possible: If you have been diagnosed with anorexia, and also suffer from depression, you have co-occurring disorders, and your eating disorder treatment program must include depression therapy.
As you choose an addiction treatment center, you have got to be the guarantor of your own best interests; if you don’t champion your own cause, no one else will. Please, for your own sake, resolve to find a program that’s committed to healing the full scope of your disorders. With so much at stake, you can’t afford to settle for anything less.
Eating Disorders and Drug Addiction
Depression, though, isn’t the only co-occurring disorder to which eating disorder victims are subject. No less importantly, and perhaps even more dangerously, these disorders can and often do exist in tandem with drug dependency, and these patients comprise an especially at-risk group for drug addiction and drug abuse. In this scenario, a good facility must take full account of an addict’s susceptibility to acute or chronic eating disorders and treat both occurrences of addictions.
The chemical underpinnings of eating disorders make victims especially prone to the whiles of drug abuse. As was true of these disorders and depression therapy, no treatment plan can be effective if it fails to take full account of drug abuse and drug dependency. If a bulimic patient is also a drug addict, he can’t beat his disorder without addiction therapy. There is, in the end, no other way to get better. Again, real healing, be it from a behavioral disorder or a drug dependency, has got to be holistic healing.
Eating Disorder Recovery
An obvious point, in conclusion: treatment only counts to the extent that it effects full and lasting recovery. Eating disorder victims are real people, who suffer real pain and live real lives. If they’re going to get better, they have got to get better for good. With so much at stake, anything less couldn’t ever cut it.
A rehab program can’t be called successful if it only helps patients get better for a few months, or a few years. An addict isn’t healed if he relapses, and recovery doesn’t count if it’s marked first and foremost by fragility and desperation. With that in mind, it’s fair to say that only those eating disorder treatment facilities which account for patients’ long-term health—with established ties to 12-step support groups, for example—are substantively conducive to the healing process.
But discussions of long-term health are perhaps best left for the long-term, because the healing process can’t start until you take the first step. For now, you know what’s important: You know that you need help to beat your disorder, and that the program that’s right for you can only be the one which treats you as you actually are. Again, there’s too much at stake here for you to settle for anything less than the most expert and most intimate care. For your own sake, and for the sake of the people who care about you, make today the day you start taking control of your future.
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