The most important thing for you to know is that recovery IS possible. There are several specially trained professionals in Alberta and throughout Canada that can help you regain control of your eating habits and let you live your life to the fullest. Here are the steps that can be taken to facilitate your recovery process.
Psychologists and therapists can help you recognize and manage thoughts and behaviours that are contributing to your disorder. This may include:
Family-Based Therapy (FBT): Also called Maudsley Therapy, family-based therapy can be used to help break secrecy surrounding a disorder, rebuild trust, and teach families how to give effective support. This is currently the most effective evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents.
Group therapy: Group therapy can help the individual feel like they are not alone in their illness. It can help them to cope with disappointments, celebrate their recovery victories and deal with any shame they are feeling.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT): CBT can change negative thought and behavioural patterns and focuses on creating personal coping strategies. This is currently the most effective evidence-based treatment for adults. It can also help to improve perception of body image.
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT): Focuses on providing emotional therapy for individuals. This includes teaching mindfulness, increasing negative emotional tolerance, overall emotional regulation and positive interpersonal communication.
Emotion focused therapy (EFT): EFT teaches individuals how to create safe and healthy relationships with themselves and the people around them3. Eating disorders can often be caused by past trauma or hidden feelings that the individual may have. EFT can provide the tools to help recognize and deal with the cause of the eating disorder.
Talk to your doctor. Most people will want to consult their family physician as a first step of treatment. However, doctors receive very little training in eating disorders. Of the 4,100 registered psychiatrists in Canada, only 12 specialize in eating disorders 1. Therefore, it is important to speak to them openly and honestly about your symptoms. When you speak to your doctor, it may be helpful to bring this questionnaire to help facilitate the consultation.
Eating disorder treatment depends on your disorder and your symptoms. There are typically four tiers of treatment offered to Canadians in specialized facilities for those suffering with eating disorders.
- Outpatient Treatment: The individual receives therapy from a psychologist and/or dietician once or multiple times per week.
- Day Treatment: The individual goes to a full-day program multiple times per week where they receive various forms of psychological therapy, meal-time supervision, and nutritional guidance and counselling.
- Residential Treatment: The individual stays in a home-like setting where they receive meal-time supervision and participate in various forms of psychological therapy as well as receive nutritional guidance and counselling from a dietician. There are currently no residential treatment programs offered in Alberta.
- Inpatient Treatment: The individual is admitted to a hospital and is treated and monitored extensively in that setting. This type of treatment is ideally reserved for those who are medically unstable and require constant supervision by medical professionals.
Dietitian's can help you develop a plan to maintain healthy eating habits. This may include:
- Education about how nutrition affects your body
- Meal planning
- Establishing regular eating patterns — generally, three meals a day with regular snacks
- Taking steps to avoid dieting
- Helping you to recognize and manage thought patterns that affect your food intake
Talking to Professionals
You will work with trained professionals, who will help develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. It is important to remember to ask questions, as this is about your future recovery and well-being!
Keep in mind that you are interviewing the practitioner and they will be open to answering any questions you have. They are here to aid your recovery process and provide support. For more information on how to find the right professional for you, see our resource page.