August 15, 2023
5 Steps Toward Recovering from Anorexia and Bulimia
Written by Guest Author
We live in a society that tells us we must look a certain way. To dress based on the standards of what society says is appropriate. Society puts a lot of emphasis on ensuring you live up to its expectations.
Because of these things, more people nationwide are developing eating disorders. While eating disorders are more commonly associated with women, men are equally susceptible to developing one.
In Part 1, we suggest five approaches to treat and recover from anorexia.
In Part 2, we talk about five steps to bulimia recovery.
Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that causes someone to have intense fears about weight gain and being ‘too fat.’ Which, in turn, causes someone to eat abnormally low amounts of food, causing their body weight to decrease dramatically.
Eating disorders such as anorexia are hard to deal with, especially when someone attempts to manage them independently. Due to the complexities of anorexia, it is always advised that someone work with a licensed professional to help recover from anorexia.
Here are five different methods for treating and recovering from anorexia.
Part 1: 5 Approaches For Anorexia Nervosa Recovery
Remember that recovery from anorexia is not a simple or quick process. It often involves multiple approaches because it is a complex disorder that impacts many aspects of the human body and mind.
Education is always a vital beginning step to begin healing from anything, especially when it comes to eating disorders. After all, you can’t begin to recover from something you don’t understand.
Thankfully, education is readily available from licensed professionals who can help you on your journey to recovery. Similar to any other subject matter, you will likely encounter misinformation online.
It’s best to find more information from professionals or official organizations specializing in treating eating disorders.
2. Medical Treatment
Anorexia doesn’t just impact someone’s outward appearance. It also impacts vital organs within the body.
When the body doesn’t receive the nutrients it needs to survive, they break down and malfunction over time.
The road to recovery from anorexia also involves helping your organs recover, too. Anorexia impacts cardiovascular and gastrointestinal health, among other functions within the body.
The health of these organs will be medically monitored and tested regularly with a doctor to help manage any issues.
Many people struggle with taking medication, especially regarding mental health. However, antidepressant medications are extremely powerful in treating eating disorders.
They can help someone struggling with anorexia by helping to quiet the anxiety in their head surrounding their weight and other body image-related issues.
4. Nutrition Therapy
Working with a registered dietitian specializing in eating disorder recovery is another step in the recovery process. Anorexia, in the short and long term, can dramatically impact how the body processes and views food.
A dietitian can help you by learning about the specific nutrition needs that your body has as well as your preferences in food.
From there, a personalized meal plan that seems manageable to the person with anorexia will be created.
Over time, this can transform the relationship with food into a more positive experience.
There could be any number of reasons why an eating disorder occurs. Often, it isn’t because of one singular thing but rather a perfect storm of different factors. This is why many people struggle to overcome eating disorders like anorexia on their own.
Therapy is one of the most transformative tools someone can have when it comes to eating disorder recovery. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) among others, is a therapy modality that can help someone in their recovery process.
It helps someone see the relationship between their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors surrounding food and weight. From there, it helps someone shift these negative patterns into a more positive perspective.
If you are interested in learning more about eating disorder treatment, don’t hesitate to reach out when you are ready.
Eating disorder support groups can also be helpful in the recovery process. Combining support, like-minded peers, and practical coping strategies can be a great way to heal.
Part 2: Bulimia: Treatment & Steps to Recovery
If you or a loved one is struggling with bulimia or another eating disorder, help is available to you. Many people who struggle with bulimia are able to find treatment and take the necessary steps to recover.
If you are currently struggling with bulimia and looking into finding treatment options, congratulations on taking this amazing first step. The recovery process can be a long journey, but treatment and recovery are possible.
Let’s learn more about bulimia treatment and the steps to recovery.
The Steps to Recovery
The road to recovery for someone struggling with bulimia can be long. The stages of change model are often used as the primary model for eating disorders and recovery. Let’s learn more about the recovery process through the five steps in this model.
1. The Pre-contemplation Stage
The first stage in the stages of the change model is the pre-contemplation stage. In this stage, the person struggling with bulimia may be in denial about having bulimia.
Since the disordered eating habits are likely being used as a coping mechanism, someone struggling with bulimia may feel unwilling or even fearful of the thought of giving them up. Friends and family members who express their concern for someone in this stage of the cycle may be dismissed or ignored.
Only the person struggling with bulimia can decide if and when they’re ready to move past this first stage.
2. The Contemplation Stage
The contemplation stage is when the person struggling with bulimia is ready to admit to themselves and others that they have a problem.
Since they’ve decided they’re ready on their own terms, they’re also more willing to accept feedback or help from others.
The contemplation stage is a challenging one. Someone may be ready and then need a bit more time. It is possible to overcome that fear of change.
3. The Preparation Stage
The preparation stage means that the person struggling with bulimia is finally ready to make a change.
This is where the prep work comes in. Instead of immediately jumping into treatment, a plan must be put into place first.
During this stage, an individual will learn healthy coping mechanisms and find ways to overcome any negative thoughts or feelings.
4. The Action Stage
The action stage is when a person struggling with bulimia officially begins the process of working to overcome their eating disorder. This stage, as the name applies, requires a lot of action from the individual.
During this stage, the person struggling will confront their eating disorder head-on.
They’ll work to face their fears, start to reject their old, disordered eating habits, and replace them with healthier and more positive thoughts and behaviors.
It’s important to know that this stage isn’t linear. Someone may make progress and then regress.
This isn’t an unusual process for someone who struggles with bulimia or another form of disordered eating.
5. The Maintenance Stage
Once the new thoughts, ideas, and beliefs are implemented and maintained for at least a few months, they will move on to the maintenance stage.
This stage means that the individual has fully changed their disordered eating habits and behaviors and is making positive efforts to maintain their recovery journey.
Recovering from bulimia will look different for each person. There isn’t a right or a wrong way to go through the process or a set standard of time that it may take.
If you need additional support, we’re here to help. You can start your journey toward recovery whenever you’re ready. Reach out to us today if you’re interested in learning more about treatment options for bulimia.