You Finished Eating Disorder Treatment, Now What?
Living with an eating disorder isn’t easy, in fact, it can be life-threatening. But making the decision to seek help for your eating disorder, even when you know you need to, can feel just as hard. If you have been to treatment for your eating disorder, kudos to you! It may have been difficult, but you will find that it is worth every minute.
After spending time in treatment, getting back to your life is a transition that may be hard, as well. Treatment doesn’t “fix” you for the rest of your life, but it does provide you with the tools that you need to embrace recovery and live a healthy life. Here are some of the things that you learned about in treatment that are important to your continued recovery from an eating disorder.
Willingness Perhaps the most important thing that you learned in treatment was that being willing to accept that you have an eating disorder and that you need help is essential to move into recovery. When you have completed treatment, you have to hang onto that willingness in order to propel yourself into action. Slipping into the “what’s the use?” mentality will put your recovery at risk.
Accountability While you were in treatment, you were accountable to doctors, therapists, and others, but once out of treatment, you may feel like you are on your own. That’s why it’s important to maintain accountability. Try planning your meals with others, talking to a mentor or other friend in recovery each day to check in, and eating with other people, to keep yourself accountable.
Support Go to meetings and talk with others who are going through the same things you are, even when you don’t feel like doing it. Peer support is essential to recovery. Know who you can reach out to when you are struggling ahead of time so that when difficult times arise, you already know who to call for support.
Structure During treatment you learned how to plan your meals and eat in a healthy manner – stick to this when your treatment is over. Having and maintaining structure will help you develop healthy eating habits.
Therapy Continue therapy after you get out of treatment. Without it, you are more at risk of relapsing when issues come up.
Feelings It’s important that you separate eating disorder behaviors from stress. That means that you have to use new coping skills that you learned in treatment to deal with stressful times, and not fall back into old behaviors. Keep in mind that sitting with uncomfortable feelings won’t kill you, but an eating disorder might. Deal with stresses and negative feelings one minute at a time.
Boundaries For some people, eating disorders are a means of protection to keep other people at a distance. If this is you, then working on setting and maintaining boundaries is very important. Discuss boundaries and practicing assertiveness with your therapist so you can feel comfortable setting limits and be saying no when that is best for you.
Helping Others Offering your experience with eating disorder recovery to others who are struggling with it, is good for everyone. If you attend support groups or meetings, volunteer to be of service to those who would benefit from your support and encouragement. You may find that you get even more out of giving help than receiving it.
Continued Recovery from Eating Disorders
Your continued recovery from your eating disorder is in your hands, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. With the right support – professional, family and friends, and peer – you can recover and live a healthy fulfilling life.
If you are struggling with an eating disorder, or you know someone who is, let Summit Behavioral Health help you get on the road to recovery. Call us today for more information.