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.
Accept That You Need Help
You can’t beat bulimia alone and it’s important to recognize that before you go into treatment. If you enter therapy without expecting it to help, it isn’t going to. You need to believe in your own recovery before you can seek treatment. The key to getting help is realizing that you need it. If you think that your disorder is fine and that it isn’t a problem, you’re wrong. You may feel in control, but you’re not. Your eating disorder is and you need help from professionals in order to discover the tools needed to take control back and restart your life again.
Living a healthy life means accepting that you need help, not only in the sense of recovery, but also in reference to a support system. You can’t beat bulimia on your own because you need people to hold you accountable and to give you moral support when you feel like you can’t do it. Another benefit of therapy and treatment is that you have someone else to think logically when you can’t. You have a professional telling you how to be healthy and happy at the same time.
Many patients with eating disorders have depression and/or anxiety prior to the development of the eating disorder. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS
Decide How Severe Your Bulimia Is
A huge part of treatment is deciding what type of treatment you personally need. This can be in-patient therapy at a rehabilitation center or out-patient treatment in the form of therapy. This decision is heavily based on the severity of the disorder. While any level of bulimia is dangerous and should be treated as soon as possible, the level of consciousness of the individual suffering can help with the choice of treatment.
For instance, if the individual refuses to admit that they even have a problem, in-patient therapy is more than likely the best option because it gives them around the clock care and therapy in order to help them adjust to a healthier lifestyle, as well as assist in seeking the source of the problem. Out-patient therapy is a better option for those who feel like they are still in control and can logically look at their disorder and see that it is detrimental to their health. Individuals that deny they have an eating disorder at all are unlikely to seek treatment, though these individuals are truly the ones who need it most.
Treatment is scary and the road to recovery is a long and hard road. However, it is absolutely without a doubt worth it. The most important part of seeking treatment is to be courageous and try not to let the fear and uncertainty get to you. Your decision to reach out for help is a huge step and it truly shows that you are willing to work to overcome your disorder and reach a healthier position in life.
The truth is: weight is a lousy indication of health. Ample research shows that people can be healthy and confident at a whole range of shapes and sizes. Alexis Conason Psy.D.
It’s easy to let insecurity and discomfort in, but it’s important to push through, even when therapy reaches areas that are foreign and hard to deal with. Be prepared for things to get raw and painful. Accept that there are going to be hard times. And remember that relapse does not mean failure. It just means you’re still working on it and that’s all you can really ask of yourself.
Seeking treatment is the first step to living a healthy and happy life. Believe in yourself because the people that love you are rooting for you.