The majority of people who are suffering from an eating disorder, particularly in the early stages resist any form of treatment or change to their behaviour. Sadly they are under the illusion that if they lose weight or remain slim, they will feel better about themselves and their lives will be improved whilst enjoying success and self confidence.
However, after a while anorexics begin to comprehend that their perceived benefits of being thin are an illusion and will fail to bring them happiness and starving themselves along with the other usual weight loss characteristics is not the answer.
Once an anorexic has reached this point in their illness they begin to search for other ways to build a meaningful life although there are a number of obstacles to reach this point.
During the treatment stage, between 20-30% drops out too early and relapse. Many of those who continue their treatment have lapses and become discouraged to continue. When an anorexic realizes that it takes months, sometimes years or hard work and determination before they are recovered they often give up too.
There are four major stages of commitment in the recovery process for anorexia
- i) obtain treatment
- ii) remain in treatment
- iii) make certain changes to ones lifestyle
- iv) treat the underlying emotional/psychological issues that led to the eating disorder in the first instance.
Recovery for people with eating disorder is possible and a lot of people have received successful treatment. However, the treatment and recovery process is a very difficult process and can take over a decade for some, although others make a much faster progress.
Those who receive treatment for the psychological issues along with the medical ones that contribute to the disorder usually make a faster recovery.
The recovery rate or significant progress rate of those who receive treatment for eating disorders is approximately 80%. The remaining 20% are regarded as chronic sufferers or die.
Recovery is a lot more that one having the ability to eat a normal size meal with ease. It includes the following at minimum:
- for women menstrual periods return to a normal regularity
- normal or near normal weight is maintained
- a balanced diet of a normal variety of foods and not just those which as low in fat, sugar or low calorie
- appropriate relationships with family members
- a major reduction or elimination of food fears which are irrational
- natural interests in romantic relationships
- mutually satisfying relationships which are healthy and with normal people
- appreciating the process of making choices and having consequences
- having goals and a plan to achieve them which is realistic
- activities which are fun and not involving food, appearance or ones weight.
- Individual no longer drives oneself with criticism and demands for any unrealistic performance
- Gains strong ability for problem solving
Every persons situation it unique therefore the treatment is essentially custom made. However, the treatment process should always begin with an evaluation by the physician or an eating disorder counsellor.