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Coping with the Stigma of Eating Disorder Therapy

Identifying an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia and seeking treatment for it is just the first step to recovery. Eating disorders can make sufferers retreat from their family and friends, making them feel even more alone and alienated. While the stigma of having an eating disorder has been discussed at length, something that’s not often in the spotlight is the stigma associated with being in treatment for an eating disorder.


During an interview, Anne, who has been in treatment for an eating disorder, disclosed how difficult recovery was – not just overcoming her eating disorder but also facing the scrutiny she endured during the treatment itself. Anne felt that many other eating disorders do not carry the negative stigma that is associated with eating disorders. Her mother faced depression and anxiety and Anne feels that her mother can speak more freely about her treatment and the different medications that she was prescribed. Anne admitted that depression is spoken about much more freely than eating disorders, which are still considered a taboo subject to many people.


Anne felt that when she spoke to people about her eating disorders, it was often turned into a discussion of dieting. Not many people are knowledgeable about the real details surrounding eating disorders, so it’s a common occurrence for anorexia to be seen by some people as just a way of being skinny or even as a way to rebel. Anne confessed that when she’s discussed bulimia with members of her family, they saw it as a “spoiled kid’s rebellion,” not a real disease. Eating disorders are often seen as irresponsible or a mere lack of self-control to many people. That’s why, Anne admits, she found support groups so helpful.


Finding a group of like-minded people that are struggling with the same issues is a good way to avoid the negative stigmas associated with treatment, and like Anne, you can even become an advocate yourself by speaking out about eating disorders in your community. Without a strong support group, whether it’s family and friends or a support group, treatment can seem unbearable. Finding help for yourself or someone you know can not only speed recovery time but assure a more successful outcome.

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