If you have an eating disorder, you’re not alone. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, at least 30 million people have an eating disorder in the United States. Eating disorders impact the way a person thinks and feels about their body and food. Common traits of individuals with this disorder are having a low self-esteem, perfectionism, overachiever, anxiety, need for control, difficulty expressing emotions, need for acceptance, and depression.
Many loved ones have difficulty understanding what it’s like to have an eating disorder but educating themselves on the struggles many people face can open doors for more love and support. The following are common obstacles people with an eating disorder face:
- Difficulty finding the right therapist. This goes for pretty much anyone seeking therapy, but the therapist-client relationship is so important and not having this could mean not getting the appropriate help you need. One person explained their experience on The Odyssey by stating, “I constantly felt attacked and judged by the therapists that I saw there, but at the time, I never factored in that I was so angry about my situation that I took it out on them.” So many things factor into therapy, and it’s important that you try to work with your therapist and maintain as much open communication as possible.
- Fear of social judgment. Especially for those who have developed an eating disorder young, fear of judgment begins to occur often in high school years and this can be a tough time for teens who are just forming their sense of self. One individual shared her experience on the National Eating Disorder Information Centre. She explained, “Once puberty hit, it felt as if the game had changed but no one had explained the rules to me. Social structures at school became complicated, and peer pressure became unbearable.”
- Coping with a mental illness. Many people do not face an eating disorder alone – it often begins as a coping mechanism in response to a mental illness that has not been dealt with in a safe and healthy way. A person explained this more on The Mighty by stating, “You can have food and exercise under control, but there are other symptoms that are just as debilitating…No one seems to understand that sometimes other mental health issues run hand in hand.”
If you have an eating disorder or if you’re seeking out information to better support a loved one, consider seeking out a reputable treatment program today. With so many types of therapy, recovery is possible. Don’t wait any longer. Seek the help you need today.
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