Destination Hope Blog » Eating Disorder Treatment and the Holidays

Eating Disorder Treatment and the Holidays

No doubt that eating disorder treatment in some form of jest crosses every American’s mind around the holiday season when the never-ending gorge that is Thanksgiving rolls around.

If your family is like so many others and has a large Thanksgiving, then you’ve almost certainly spent the last several days overindulging and eating until your stomach feels like it’s going to burst. That said, contrary to a popular and misinformed belief, eating too much at Thanksgiving or any of the surrounding holidays does not mean you qualify for having an eating disorder.

Treatment is not necessary as you are not an overeater or a binge eater if eating to excess this one time of year or even on occasion is your main crime.

Eating disorders are classified by the National Institute of Mental Health as “illnesses that cause serious disturbances to your everyday diet, such as eating extremely small amounts of food or severely overeating.” A lot of the time these illnesses can start as disruptive or unhealthy eating habits that spiral out of control.

Common signs of an eating disorder are often a seemingly obsessive attitude towards food as well as one’s weight and body image. Eating disorder treatment is regularly recommended for those suffering from the three most common eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder.

Eating Disorders and Co-Occurring Illnesses

Eating disorders fall into a category of mental illnesses that often are accompanied by other diseases. We call them co-occurring because an individual can suffer from both illnesses simultaneously, and these co-occurring illnesses can influence each other and often intensify the other’s symptoms.

Other illnesses that often co-occur with an eating disorder are depression, substance abuse and several different types of anxiety disorders. Eating disorder treatment as well as treatment for the co-occurring illness must happen at the same time in order to increase its effectiveness and the likelihood of recovering from both diseases.

Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorders are commonly treated with a multi-tiered approach. For starters, it’s important to remember that an eating disorder by definition is a mental illness; therefore simply sending the sufferer to receive nutritional counseling will not be an effective treatment plan as it will not deal with the mental and emotional aspect of the disease.

Cognitive behavioral therapy serves as a large component of eating disorder treatment to try and identify the underlying issues that are causing and encouraging disorder to exist in the first place. Quality eating disorder treatment will include individual, group as well as family counseling working in conjunction with medical care and nutritional counseling.

Destination Hope: The Women’s Program is a full service drug and alcohol rehab facility for women that specializes in the treatment of the co-occurring illnesses of substance abuse like eating disorders.

Eating disorders regularly accompany addiction and a very individualized treatment plan is needed for each woman who suffers from them. If there is a woman in your life who may be suffering from an eating disorder and is also abusing drugs or alcohol, do not hesitate to put her in contact with the experts at Destination Hope today. You just might save her life.