Staying In Recovery
The decision to seek help and begin treatment for an eating disorder is one that takes a lot of courage. However, there is something more important than the decision to seek treatment and that is maintaining the motivation to stay in treatment and ultimately recover. The hardest obstacles faced on the road to recovery are challenges not usually placed by others but by ourselves. It is no surprise that those who suffer from an eating disorder tend to develop patterns of negative thought distortions about food and themselves. One of the most important tools to use in combating this is education.
Education is key and is a vital part of treatment. It is important for those with eating disorders to educate themselves about the cycle of change and what an eating disorder truly is in order for them to remain optimistic, and more importantly realistic about their process. In addition, a bonus to treatment includes a team of professionals such as therapists, nutritionists and physicians. It is important to get the facts about mental health, nutrition and the body from professionals instead of relying on information developed by thought distortions, friends, media or misconceptions made by society.
Aside from your multidisciplinary team being a tool for education they also play a major role for support. It is important to have a good rapport with your therapist and begin to identify the people that play a supportive role in your life and go to them in times when you may feel urges, negative thoughts or need to be redirected. It has been suggested that people with a sound support system have better mental health, which decreases the chances of relapse. People that have a healthy relationship with their bodies and food can be great role models during a person’s time of recovery. In addition, there are numerous groups and forums that can play a supportive role allowing someone in treatment to use the support of someone relatable such as their peers in their time of need.
Changes Don’t Happen Overnight
Once you have become educated and identified your support system, it is important to understand that change does not happen overnight. Take the time in treatment to rediscover yourself. Keep a journal, identify your triggers, identify what you’ve been using to cope and determine if it’s a healthy strategy. What are your hobbies and skills? Evaluate, express and acknowledge your feelings. Treatment centers differ in various ways however Center for Discovery offers a compact daily schedule with a diverse selection of groups focusing on educating and helping clients discover various skills and coping strategies.
Finally, staying positive is crucial for staying in recovery. According to former president of Columbia University Nicholas Murray Butler, “Optimism is essential to achievement and it is also the foundation of courage and true progress”. There will be days in which you may be discouraged or experience relapse but in those times it is important to remind yourself of your goals and stay optimistic about your future.
Reachout.com. Overcoming an Eating Disorder.
DDS Safety Net. Social Support Systems and Maintaining Mental Health.