Eating Disorder Recovery
The National Eating Disorders Association approximates that 20 million women and 10 million men in America will end up experiencing some form of an eating disorder during their lifetimes. Unfortunately, eating disorders can affect someone both mentally and physically; they can take a toll on every bodily system or even be fatal. It is important, however, to also remember that eating disorders are also treatable.
Eating Disorder Hotlines
If you or a loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, you can always begin by contacting an eating disorder hotline. A great resource for eating disorder hotlines is the National Eating Disorders Association, which offers a few different ways to speak with someone. Methods available include texting, calling, or even instant messaging. You can text with a representative Mondays through Thursdays, from 3:00 PM until 6:00 PM Eastern Time, and you can reach them via phone call on Mondays through Thursdays between 11:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time, or on Fridays between 11:00 AM and 5:00 PM Eastern Time. Representatives are also available for online chat between 9:00 AM and 9:00 PM Eastern Time on Mondays through Thursdays, and on Fridays from 9:00 AM until 5:00 PM. And if you find yourself unable to get in contact with someone, you can always leave a message; they will get back to you as soon as possible. If you or a loved one, however, is in a state of crisis, you can text “NEDA” to 741-741 to be put in contact with a properly trained volunteer.
What Does Eating Disorder Recovery Involve?
The National Eating Disorders Association suggests that people look at recovery from an eating disorder as five different stages of change. These stages are pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. In the pre-contemplation stage, you may not yet be convinced you have an eating disorder, though it is likely your loved ones have noticed that you do. In the next stage, called the contemplation stage, you are able to admit that you have an eating disorder and are ready to receive treatment for it. You will know you are moving onto the next stage–preparation–once you feel ready to change, but are not yet sure of how you should proceed. It is important to establish effective coping skills during the preparation stage.
The penultimate, which is known as the action stage, begins once you feel ready to put your recovery strategy into action and head-on confront your eating disorder; you can help ensure that this stage is successful by trusting your treatment team and support network. The fifth and final stage of eating disorder recovery is called the maintenance stage, though it can also be called the maintenance/relapse stage. You will have reached it once you have kept up the action stage for around six months or more; a major aspect of the maintenance stage also involves revisiting things that may trigger you in an effort to prevent relapse, as well as looking for new interests in life.
The National Eating Disorders Association also lists a possible sixth stage, known as the termination stage and relapse prevention. During this stage, you could come to learn that it is time to stop treatment; it is also important to remember to always ask for help when you need it in order to best prevent yourself from relapsing.