Why It’s Hard for People With Eating Disorders to Get Help

Recovering from an eating disorder, like any other mental health issue, is not hard. It takes a commitment to getting better and energy toward that commitment each and every day. So, if you’re living with an eating disorder, you may find that it’s challenging to want to get help, which is normal. Most people with eating disorders struggle to get the help they need, even if they know it’s what they need to do to get healthy. But, why is it so hard for people to give up disordered eating? 

If you’re living with an eating disorder and find it hard to accept the fact that you need help, you’re not the only one. It may help to understand that this is a natural occurrence that some scientific researchers find is natural. However, understanding why people with eating disorders struggle to give them up can also help you understand how to overpower these thoughts. And, get the help that you need and deserve to live a healthy and positive life of mental and physical well-being. 

 

Eating Disorders Impact the Personal Identity of a Person

One of the biggest challenges that explain why people with eating disorders have such a challenge changing disordered eating behaviors is to deal with identity. In many cases, people living with eating disorders identify their value with their disordered eating. So, changing these behaviors means not being true to themselves. People who experience disordered eating behaviors have lives that revolve around their eating habits. Almost everything they do has something to do with how they eat – where they go, what they do, and even how they think. So, as people with eating disorders think their disorders are tied to their identity and even their value, this makes it challenging to accept help. 

Most people who develop disordered eating behaviors do so during adolescence. During these times in people’s lives, this is the defining moment for the formation of one’s identity. So, when a young person starts developing behaviors of disordered eating, it can begin to become part of their identity as well. Studies published by the NIH have proven this to be true and a contributing factor as to why it’s so hard for people to get help for eating disorders. 

 

Disordered Eating is a Way to Gain Control and Manage Emotions

Another reason that getting help for eating disorders may be so challenging is that disordered eating gives those affected a sense of control in their lives. For many people living with eating disorders, underlying mental health issues may also be at play. These issues, including depression, anxiety, and even trauma, can make a person feel like they don’t have control over their emotions. So, being able to control what they eat and how to eat replaces the lack of control with emotions with this other sense of control. Therefore, people with eating disorders may feel like giving up their eating disorder behaviors means giving up what little they have to control in their lives. And, their means of dealing with unwanted emotions and thought patterns. 

 

Eating Disorders are NOT Your Identity Nor do You Control Them

It’s vital for people who need help with eating disorders to understand that they are not their identity nor do they have control over these behaviors. During eating disorder treatment, those affected can learn that they’re more than their eating disorder. And, that there are better ways to manage symptoms of underlying mental health issues and control unwanted thoughts or emotions, including coping skills learned in therapy. 

When people can embrace the thought of living a healthy life and that their identity does not have to include disordered eating, they can make use of treatment. And, commit to a healthy life in eating disorder recovery that provides much more freedom and allows for much more control than a life with eating disorders ever could! Reach out to us at Lotus Healing today to learn more about how we can support your wellness journey.

Dr. Dixie Brown is a PhD level Therapist, Integrative Medicine Practitioner, and Nutritionist with 15 years of experience working in Mental Health, specifically with trauma, eating disorders, and substance use.

Dixie Brown

Author

Trauma

Empowering Healthcare Professionals to Help Patients Heal and Move Forward

FacebookTweetLinkedInPin As healthcare professionals and providers, we understand that trauma can have a profound impact on a person’s life. Post…

Wellness

Mindfulness Practices to Stay in the Present Moment

FacebookTweetLinkedInPin Being present allows a person to stay in the here and now rather than focusing and spending energy on…

Testimonials

What People Say About Us

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.