Eating disorders are a serious and often difficult mental illnesses to overcome. They can affect people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. Eating disorders not only impact the individual suffering from the disorder but also their family members and loved ones as well.
Unfortunately, eating disorders are still often stigmatised and misunderstood. The shame that comes with it can make people feel reluctant to seek help or even admit they have a problem. This is why psychologists who specialise in treating eating disorders are so important for the recovery process. A psychologist will help you understand your disorder better and give you the tools to overcome it.
What are eating disorders and who can they affect?
There are three main types of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. People with eating disorders suffer from extreme emotions when it comes to food and weight. This leads them to develop abnormal behaviours in relation to food that can severely impact their health, social life, or day-to-day living. Some people with eating disorders will starve themselves or restrict what they eat while others might have to binge and then compensate for the extra calorie intake by vomiting, fasting, over-exercising, or misusing laxatives. Eating disorders do not discriminate against age, gender, or culture. It can affect people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds.
How does a psychologist treat eating disorders?
Psychologists use a variety of methods to treat eating disorders. If the disorder is related to anxiety, they may help you develop coping skills for when you begin attending social events or confront situations that make you feel anxious. Therapists may also teach you how to break down overwhelming tasks into manageable ones so that your thought process can be more realistic and less ‘catastrophic’. In addition, they may use various techniques to help you talk about difficult emotions and how to process them in a healthy way.
Regardless of the specific approach used by your therapist, they will encourage you to adopt healthy eating habits for your body and lifestyle. This will also include making sure that you socialise with friends and family so that you can learn how to have realistic expectations for yourself and your relationships with others.
In addition, a psychologist will help you to identify unhealthy behaviours so that you can overcome them in a supportive manner, usually creating a judgement-free zone. As a leading eating disorder psychologists in Melbourne, Glynn Mind Clinic has helped hundreds of clients normalise their eating patterns, and tells us that a judgement-free zone is the best way to build trust with a client.
Why it’s important to seek treatment for an eating disorder, even if you feel embarrassed or ashamed
The sooner someone receives treatment for their eating disorder, the easier it is to treat. Unfortunately, many people suffering from an eating disorder feel too embarrassed or ashamed to seek help. Consequently, they may be reluctant to admit that they have a problem and this can delay the recovery process. It’s important to realise that you are not alone in your struggle and that seeking help does not mean you are weak. It simply means that you care about yourself enough to try and get better.
Discovering the cause of your eating disorder is another important step in overcoming it. This will give you insight into why you developed this behaviour so that you can learn how to stop it from continuing.
The benefits of therapy in overcoming an eating disorder
During therapy, you will be able to learn coping strategies to help you get through your day-to-day living while battling an eating disorder. The skills learned in therapy can continue to impact your life even after treatment has ended.
While there are no guaranteed ways of overcoming an eating disorder, seeking professional treatment is one way that the individual suffering can get better. If you are suffering from an eating disorder, the best thing you can do for yourself is to seek treatment. This will give you the opportunity to gradually learn how to accept your thoughts and feelings while learning healthy habits that will benefit both your mental and physical health.
The recovery process is not an easy one but it’s definitely worth it to be free from the control of an eating disorder.
Treatment is an important step in overcoming an eating disorder. It gives the individual experiencing this illness the opportunity to learn how to accept their thoughts and feelings while developing healthy habits that will benefit both their mental and physical health.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.
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