Deciding when to seek treatment is probably the hardest step in the recovery process. It requires you to realize that you need help and that you can’t beat your eating disorder alone. Seeking professional help is necessary because of the life-threatening status of eating disorders. When your eating disorder is in control, you lose the ability to think rationally and see the damaging effects it is having on your physical and mental health. A therapist can help you look at the situation logically and learn coping skills to deal with stress or poor self-esteem.
Sadly, there is a lot of guilt and shame attached to these behaviors so they tend to be done in private. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA
When deciding whether or not therapy is the right option for you, it is important to ask yourself these questions.
Seeking help for bulimia nervosa is a difficult thing to start, but is something that becomes absolutely necessary for several reasons. Bulimia is an eating disorder which can lead to life-threatening circumstances and health concerns. Eating disorders in general are extremely hard to recover from, but bulimia especially is difficult to handle alone and often requires professional help.
Anyone who is has an eating disorder is very invested in maintaining the thoughts and behaviors that fuel it, so when a loved one expresses concern they may be met with anger or defensiveness. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA
Here are a few steps to seeking treatment if you or someone you care about is struggling with bulimia nervosa.
As mentioned in previous posts, bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder and that it focuses on control. Essentially, it is about monitoring your food intake and weight carefully enough to binge-eat and then purge immediately after to avoid the effects of the food. Because of this, you are not in control. Your disorder is.
While therapy and treatment are both necessary to recovery, so is a support system. You can’t beat an eating disorder by yourself, which is why you have a therapist to give you the tools and coping strategies needed for recovery. However, you also need a support system outside of your treatment. Your friends and family can help give you strength and courage when you’re scared and want to give up.
At a larger social level are the influences of pressure and advertisements on children and adults of what constitutes a perfect body and the ways that food, or lack thereof, may achieve that. — Leslie E. Korn Ph.D., MPH, LMHC, ACS, NTP
…people who restrict will obviously begin to lose weight, wear baggier clothing to hide it, move their food around on the plate but not eat it, chew food and spit it out. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA
Happy and I have been best friends since we were 5 years old. We went to the same school together until high school and only parted ways when we entered college. I took up engineering and Happy was finishing nursing. She always wanted to help those in need especially children with cancer. But all of these are now a forgotten memory. Happy died 3 months ago due to esophageal bleeding and complications from bulimia.
Someone who is struggling with an eating disorder may attempt to eat “normally” in the presence of others, and then look for opportunities to be alone to find ways to binge or purge. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA
Everyone struggles with something, whether it be stress, anxiety, depression, or other specific mental disorders. When you watch someone you care about struggle with something serious, like an eating disorder, it can be hard to decide how to act around them. It can be hard to act normal, especially when you’re worried that the situation has become life-threatening. While it’s important to treat the person like you usually would, it’s also important to recognize what they are going through and be honest with them about your concerns.