Eating disorder, to seek help or not?
Updated: Oct 11, 2018
Through my extensive work with clients who have some kind of eating disorder, it is pretty common that by the time they are sitting in front of me they have been struggling for a long time, often for many years.
What we know from all the eating disorder literature is that the sooner a person gets treatment the better the prognosis, so I’m always saddened when I hear how long people struggle for without help. Today is #worldmentalhealthday and the general consensus is that more help should be available sooner to more people. Is now the right time for you though?
Some of the arguments you may be having with yourself might be about whether your eating is a problem or not? Many people with an eating disorder talk about being in two minds so it is normal to fluctuate between the two. One of the biggest problems with having an eating disorder is how much thoughts about food and weight can dominate your life.
Are your fears or anxieties stopping you from doing the things you used to enjoy or that you feel you should be doing? If so this is a really big giant red flag. If something interferes with your important relationships, your work or studies or almost every part of life then addressing it couldn’t be more important to your mental wellbeing. It isn't normal for your life to revolve around food or your weight and you don't have to live like that!
Eating disorders come in lots of different shapes and sizes, lot's of people have said to me in the past that they didn't think they had an eating disorder because 'they are not thin enough'. Let me put that myth to bed straight away, the majority of people suffering with eating disorders are of normal weight or even overweight! Anorexia is not always really obvious either so weight should never factor in your decision about whether to seek help.
If you are making yourself sick regularly or using laxatives or other kinds of pills, these behaviours are really risky to your physical health and I would urge you to at least confide in your GP who can monitor your bloods to check everything is okay. Same goes if you are severely underweight, especially so if your BMI is 16 or less or if your periods have stopped. Check your BMI at: https://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx. You may not want to address your eating problem but at least have a doctor check you over.
You may already know your eating is a problem but you may want to address it yourself. Good for you, I applaud this kind of ‘can do’ attitude! There are lots of free self-help resources available, I would particularly recommend:
‘Overcoming Binge Eating’ by Christopher Fairburn. This book uses CBT principles to address your eating problem. Note: This is a good book even if you do not binge eat regularly as many people with eating difficulties experience urges to binge eat which can be really distressing.
There is also a great website which I often refer to in my practice that you might find useful: https://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/Resources/For-Clinicians/Eating-Disorders.
If you know of any more good resources let me know in the comments section or send me a message, I am always up for hearing new recommendations! Give self-help a go, but don’t spend too long trying to help yourself if it isn’t working, two heads are often better than one! An eating disorder is a really tricky problem to overcome and even with professional help it can be really challenging.
If you would like to have a free, no-strings discussion with me about whether I can help you call, message or email me my contact details are on my website.