If you or a loved one have an eating disorder and are ready for treatment, it may feel tempting to start with an outpatient program. Although an outpatient program can be vital for ongoing treatment, there are several reasons you should begin with in-patient treatment, such as:
The idea of attending an intensive program can be off-putting and overwhelming, but it is the same intensive treatment that may be what you need to find your path to healthy relationships with food. Eating disorders typically are multi-faceted. There are dysfunctional relationships with food, often as a symptom of other mental health issues. Additionally, if you do not have family support or do not feel you need their help, it can make the recovery process more difficult in the outpatient setting. Anorexia treatment programs deal with the nutritional, medical, psychological, and support facets of recovery to tackle the numerous problems that may be contributing to your eating disorder.
You Can't Hide
Outpatient settings or dealing with eating disorders on your own make it easy to hide dysfunctional behaviors. Sometimes the ability to hide an eating disorder is the reason friends and family may not realize there is a problem until it is obvious their loved one is alarmingly thin. Additionally, you cannot hide the problem from yourself during in-patient treatment. You may convince yourself that you are just thin or have a high metabolism. Some people with eating disorders have body dysmorphia and look in the mirror to see a much larger person or believe their bones protruding from under their skin is fat. Addressing the reality head-on makes it more likely you can accept there is a problem.
Having Medical Professionals
With in-patient treatment, there is medical staff readily available to deal with potential medical concerns as they arise, even at odd hours of the night. The people in your life who care about you will be relieved that you are constantly being monitored. Although people with eating disorders may believe their health is fine, the behaviors associated with eating disorders are not only dangerous to their health; they can be deadly. Many relatives of people with eating disorders fear their loved one will not wake up the next day. If you purge to rid yourself of calories, you can degrade your esophagus and cause irreparable damage or perforation of your esophagus. Your body needs some fat so it can function normally. Without enough nutrition and body fat, your heart may stop suddenly.
Choosing in-patient treatment on the road to recovery from an eating disorder will give you a better shot at improving your mental and physical health. Although being away from work and family can be intimidating, some time away seeking help may give you the tools you need to return to your normal life safely.