How to help yourself recover from an eating disorder

Things can and will get better
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People with eating disorders can and do recover. However it can be a very complicated process because an eating disorder affects many aspects of the person from their physical well being to their emotional well being, psychological well being and behavioural patterns.

This means that you might need to get help that focuses on different aspects of the condition e.g. medical help if you are physically very unwell. You might also need psychotherapy or counselling to help you with the mental side of things.

Even if you've had eating disorder for years, it is possible to recover: The sooner a person seeks/receives help and support the better.

  • Recovering from an eating disorder starts with realising you have a problem and don’t have normal eating habits.
  • You need to be ready to get help; nobody else can do it for you. There must be a part of you that wants to get better. You may feel conflicted about this because the ED thoughts will try to keep you trapped under its control.
  • It’s important to get help as soon as possible. Try to talk to someone you trust and tell them what’s happening.
  • Many people deny the existence of a problem, because they are afraid that if they tell someone they will be forced to stop right away and this is frightening. This doesn’t have to be the way it happens. Talking about it is a first step and it is important not to anticipate too much what will happen. If you are to get better you need to acknowledge to yourself first that you have an eating disorder.
  • You might feel frightened of asking for help or even ashamed or uncomfortable speaking to others about how you feel. However the longer an eating disorder continues, the more difficult it is to break the habit.
  • Your doctor or an organisation such as BodyWhys can advise you about the different options for getting help.

If someone you know has an eating disorder:

  • Encourage them to get professional help.
  • Let them know you’re there for them and encourage them to talk.
  • Don’t try to force them to eat or point out that they look sick or need to put on some weight.
  • Let them know you’re worried, be supportive, try not to judge them and contact BodyWhys for advice on how to help them.
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