Eating Disorder Treatment
Has Disordered Eating Compromised Your Self-Worth And Self-Esteem?
- Are you trapped in a vicious cycle of give-and-take with your body?
- Is it increasingly difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with food?
- Are you desperate for a sense of self-acceptance and control in your life?
Though there are different types of eating disorders, many of the emotional symptoms of disordered eating are universal. You may feel out-of-control, easily agitated, or triggered by thoughts of food. Perhaps you ruminate on how your body looks, what your next meal will include, or how many calories you’ve consumed in a day.
Whether you binge (eating to the point of discomfort), purge (regurgitating what you have eaten, over-exercising, etc.), or restrict (abstaining from eating, enough or entirely), it’s likely that you often feel famished or experience random pains. Maybe you have developed digestive issues or noticed changes in your sleep patterns. You may become easily lightheaded, dizzy, or nauseous. Or perhaps you’ve lost your sex drive and/or ability to menstruate.
Because of the fraught relationship you have with food and your body, your social life may have been impacted by your eating behaviors. It’s possible that you become avoidant during shared mealtimes, or that disordered eating causes you to feel isolated from everyone around you. You may feel misunderstood or judged by others, resulting in interpersonal tension or distance from people you were once close to.
All you want is to maintain a peaceful and loving relationship with your body. And while an eating disorder may have compromised your self-image, therapeutic treatment can help you heal and feel secure in your body.
Eating Disorders Are A Serious But Misunderstood Mental Health Issue
Eating disorders are a common and serious mental health condition in this country. In fact, the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) estimates that 9 percent of the US population will struggle with an eating disorder in their lifetime, making it the second deadliest mental health condition after opioid addiction.
Unfortunately, eating disorders often go misunderstood or unnoticed because of the misconceptions we as a culture have created around certain body types. For instance, we may wrongly assume that someone’s disordered eating is only serious if they are severely underweight.
However, ANAD reports that of the 9 percent of people who struggle with eating disorders, only a fraction are diagnosed as medically underweight. This means that most of the individuals who battle with disordered eating do not appear as the thin and malnourished body type that we are likely to associate with anorexia, bulimia, and variants of bingeing and purging disorder. Moreover, our culture is quick to praise weight loss without much regard for how it is achieved, oftentimes overlooking symptoms of harmful or disordered eating habits.
And while eating disorders affect all genders, we can see clear correlations between the messages that girls receive and the development of eating disorders. From a young age, we as women are taught that there is something wrong with our bodies if they don’t look a certain way. Wellness and beauty standards dictate that we should be thin and that there is a direct correlation between how much we weigh and how healthy we are. And diet culture promises us that if we just try hard enough, we can achieve what is deemed an “acceptable” (read: “good,” “attractive,” “lovable”) body.
Furthermore, eating disorders often involve genetic components and the influences of our families. If we grew up with a parent who constantly dieted or commented on our body type, we are likely to develop a complicated relationship with food. In addition, because eating disorders have so much to do with a need to maintain control, there are countless other traumas and stressors that may contribute to the development of an eating disorder.
The truth is that when an eating disorder enters into the picture, our habits become addictive, ultimately affecting our brains on a fundamental level. And because there is so much shame associated with disordered eating, it can be difficult to ask for help.
But in therapy, you can feel safe to explore the origins of your eating disorder so that you can achieve a healthier relationship with food and your body.
Treatment Gives You An Opportunity To Recover From Your Eating Disorder
When trapped in a cycle of disordered eating, it can be hard to identify certain emotions, triggers, and causes. Working with a therapist, however, you can better understand the factors that contribute to your eating disorder so that you can begin the process of healing.
Eating disorder treatment in this setting is most effective for those who want and are ready for help. That means if you are seeking help on behalf of a loved one whom you hope will be willing if you set it up for them, or if your eating disorder has become so severe that you require inpatient services (including the help of medical professionals), then counseling at The Davis Group may not be as effective as other resources (you can find more information below*).
However, if you are ready and willing to receive therapeutic outpatient treatment for your eating disorder, our specialists are here to help. The first session of therapy will revolve around getting to know you and your struggles with eating. We work to deeply understand you and your needs to customize your treatment plan and provide you with effective solutions.
Using elements of narrative and behavioral therapies, we will help you adjust your relationship with your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors—especially as they pertain to food—so that you can start finding healthier, more affirming ways to express yourself and tell your story, which greatly impacts how you live your story. We may also incorporate parts work that will allow you to clarify your strengths and values to harmonize the conflicting parts of yourself. And finally, trauma-informed approaches can allow you to trace your eating disorder back to its roots to help better understand your need for control or perceived lack thereof.
As you foster a deeper awareness of your eating disorder in therapy, you will begin to develop the skills to navigate challenges and cope with stress in healthier ways. In doing so, you can have a chance to recapture the headspace that your fears and anxieties around food have stolen away from you—ultimately making room for all of the fun, exciting, and meaningful experiences that life has to offer. At The Davis Group, we know that your eating disorder has probably made you feel like you can’t live without it; but in treatment, you can rediscover a sense of control and see that you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your relationship with your body.
Maybe you’re ready to seek counseling for an eating disorder, but you still have questions…
I’m afraid you will shame or judge me in eating disorder treatment.
Our clinicians understand that your eating disorder does not define you and that you deserve relief from the grips of this painful and scary struggle. It takes courage to reach out for help, and you have a lot to be proud of for doing so. You will not encounter shame or judgment at our practice, but rather a sense of humanity and empathy to promote true healing.
I’m honestly afraid to let go of my eating disorder.
Your eating disorder has probably served some kind of purpose in your life—especially regarding your sense of control—so we understand why you might feel this way. We aim to support you in treatment in a way that honors the relationship you have with your eating disorder so that we can address its roots and develop healthier coping skills to replace harmful patterns. Therapy always moves at your pace, so you can take your time letting go of your eating disorder.
I just don’t think I will ever recover from my eating disorder.
We understand that when an eating disorder takes over, you can feel defeated and powerless to stop it—but that is part of the illusion. A big part of our collaboration will be helping you to recognize your ability to affect the eating disorder itself so that you can feel empowered to change. And this is the kind of work that you don’t have to do by yourself—a therapist can help make this work manageable and allow you to feel supported in the process.
A New Self-Image Is Possible
If you are ready to develop a healthier and more affirming relationship with your body, eating disorder treatment at The Davis Group can help you to create meaningful change. Please contact us and specify your interest in eating disorder counseling for your free, 15-minute consultation or to set up your first eating disorder treatment session. Both in person and video appointments are available.
Our practice has locations in Roseville, Palo Alto, El Dorado Hills and San Diego.
*Furthermore, we are happy to provide you with additional resources for eating disorder treatment, both online and at nearby locations. You can find this information below:
- NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) at https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
- ANAD (National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) at https://anad.org/
Treatment centers nearby:
- Eating Recovery Center at https://www.eatingrecoverycenter.com/recovery-centers/sacramento (Sacramento)
- Center for Discovery at https://centerfordiscovery.com/locations/granite-bay/ (Granite Bay)
- Newport Academy at https://www.newportacademy.com/ (Bay Area)
- Monte Nido at https://www.montenido.com/ (in East Bay – Lafayette – and Malibu for residential, and LA and Newport Beach for day treatment/outpatient)Alsana at https://www.alsana.com/ (in Monterey, Santa Barbara, and Westlake Village)