Need Eating Disorder Help? Call (716)276-6939
Buffalo Centre for the treatment of eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa

Why Seek Treatment for an Eating Disorder?

Treatment of an eating disorder is not easy or quick, and never without a lot of emotions and feelings of vulnerability. The amount of emotional strength and will necessary to recover and break free from this illness is immense. Someone struggling with their eating disorder will often feel alone and scared but with professional guidance and support a break through to recovery can be made.

Eating Disorders are complex and so is the road to recovery. Breaking free from an eating disorder may be his or her toughest challenge in life. Not only will they have to rebuild their body physically, they will have to rebuild themselves psychologically. All why learning the necessary skills and tools to deal with life and all of it’s emotions without need for their eating disorder.

Eating disorders cloud judgment about the need for treatment.
Eating disorders usually begin with restrictive dieting to lose weight. At first, dieting is not a matter for concern and may even lead to compliments from others. The initial focus on weight loss or control of food intake may lead to increased self-confidence, feelings of self-control and positive social feedback. Alternatively, it may begin to counteract certain negative feelings. However, with time, the attempt to control weight becomes driven by a progressive fading of realistic perspective about the original goals as well as the adverse psychological, emotional, social and physical consequences.

As the eating disorder advances further, there is often a growing rigidity in thinking, depression, anxiety, mood fluctuations, and social withdrawal. Later, the physical as well as social consequences may become more pronounced even though blood tests remain normal and intellectual performance remains intact. Ultimately, depression, social isolation and progressive physical decline lead to failure to achieve educational, employment and social goals. The conviction that weight control is desirable and serves an essential purpose becomes so powerful that even the strongest suggestions to seek treatment are rebuffed.

You have to want to get better before you seek treatment.
This is a mistake since ambivalence about recovery is a symptom of eating disorders. Waiting until you “want to get better” may be too late. On one level, those with eating disorders can understand that symptoms are destructive; however, on another level, patients are terrified about the implications of recovery. The motivations in favor and against recovery are usually complex. For example, symptoms may serve a positive function of increasing self-control, self-confidence or self-protection. At the same time, many patients understand the negative consequences of their symptoms but feel helpless to change in the midst of self-hatred about their physical appearance and suffer from chronic social and life functioning insecurity. Moreover, most patients know that they will probably feel worse at the beginning of treatment. Thus, those suffering from eating disorders need to know that the experienced professionals providing treatment do not expect them to be entirely and positively motivated and will be in need of continual encouragement to stay motivated.

Medical complications are significant, potentially irreversible, and life-threatening.
The medical complications of eating disorders are significant, potentially irreversible, and life-threatening; thus, a medical evaluation is essential as part of a comprehensive assessment. Medical complications can involve almost all organ systems and can be viewed as consequences of starvation, vomiting, laxative abuse, binge eating, and overexercise¹. Medical complications are not only evident during the acute phase of the disorder, but also there is an increased risk for a wide range of physical and emotional disorders years later (Johnson et al., 2002).

An eating disorder can result in a 12-fold increase risk of death.
The mortality rates for anorexia nervosa exceed the expected incidence of death from all causes among women 15-24 years of age by 12-fold and are about three times higher than other psychiatric disorders². Mortality rates for bulimia nervosa are much lower but still not insignificant³. Psychological and physical impairment are common in long-term follow-up studies (Keel et al. 1999).

¹Becker, Grinspoon, Klibanski, & Herzog, 1999; Pomeroy & Mitchell, 2002; Rome & Ammerman, 2003
²Emborg, 1999; Sullivan, 1995
³ Keel, Dorer, Eddy, Franko, Charatan, & Herzog, 2003; Nielsen, 2003

Buffalo Centre
Eating Disorders Partial Hospital Treatment Program

95 John Muir Drive
Suite 104
Amherst, NY 14228
(716) 276-6939
Fax: (716) 276-6943

Home | Privacy | Disclaimer | ©2010