As the family week therapist at The Meadows Ranch, I believe, and have witnessed, families benefiting from education around both the mental and physical effects of eating disorders. In addition, it is important to learn about the complexity of its origins, the role other co-occurring mental health diagnoses play in eating disorders, and the “addictive” process within the experience of the eating disorder.
Though everyone has her own journey into and through recovery, know that recovery is possible.
First, I recommend finding professionals who can guide and support you and your family through this journey. Plug into a team of professionals that will be straightforward and honest in providing education, make clear recommendations, and offer an understanding of everyone’s difficult circumstances while being professionally firm in holding people accountable for the safety of the patient within this process.
Second, realize and remind yourself often that recovery takes time. This is not going to be a short-term process and it will present with many ups and downs along the path to recovery. Remain calm even in difficult discussions and bring in compassion and empathy. It will be important to listen to learn, not listen to agree with, and not listen to speak. Ask yourself “What can I learn about your experience?” Avoid rationalizing, defer to the professionals for treatment and recovery decisions and acknowledge that this is difficult and affects everyone.
Finally, if treatment is what is necessary to help reverse malnutrition and contain the behaviors surrounding the eating disorder, acknowledge this reality and move in that direction. Treatment is a special gift to all affected by this disorder and a wise investment in recovery.