Tough Days Icon
Tough Days in Treatment: What to Expect

challenges in eating disorder treatment
We wish that eating disorder treatment was easy. We wish that it was pain-free. But it’s not. In fact,
eating disorder treatment may be the hardest work that your loved one has ever done.

We know how difficult it is when someone you love is suffering. But the only way that your loved one will be able to shed their eating disorder — and thrive — is to do the work recommended in treatment and dedicate themselves to a full recovery.

Feeling ambivalent about treatment

When your loved one starts treatment at Eating Recovery Center, you may wonder if this is the right place for them. You may wonder if they are really "sick enough" to need help. Or, you may feel a huge sense of relief.

At times, our patients — and even their families — will question us and ask us if intensive care is really necessary. Commonly, we hear our patients say,
 

  • “I’m not as sick as the other patients are.”
  • “I have no friends here.”
  • “I feel worse since coming here.”


These statements are normal and, typically, these types of feelings will pass within a few days.

If you or your loved one feel ambivalent or unsure about the course of treatment, know that you have a choice. You can choose to work towards a full and complete recovery or you can choose life with the eating disorder. And if you do choose the path to recovery, know that full recovery will not be possible without hard work. When your loved one starts treatment at Eating Recovery Center, you may wonder if this is the right place for them. You may wonder if they are really "sick enough" to need help. Or, you may feel a huge sense of relief.

Resisting treatment

Often, particularly when it comes to young people in treatment, we see the following scenario: parents will drop their child or adolescent off at the treatment center. The parents feel a sense of relief. But the child has to suddenly quit their eating disorder behaviors. The child is immediately overwhelmed. Depending on the age of the child, they may or may not have words to express this frustration. They may or may not have the insight into what is going on.

Negative experiences are normal and to be expected at some point in recovery. Tears, anxiety and anger are part of the process of shedding the eating disorder. But if you find that your loved one is resisting care, consider the following:

  1. Validate them. Tell them you understand how hard this is.

  2. Support them. Tell them that this is the right place to be.

  3. Third, if your child continues to resist treatment, encourage your child to share these thoughts and feelings with their therapist — and make sure you talk to the treatment team directly.

The toughest days of treatment

In treatment, your loved one will experience physical sensations and emotions that they have not felt in some time. This can be overwhelming and unpleasant. We remind our patients that this discomfort is temporary and that “it’s okay to have a bad day.” In time, the pain and discomfort will lessen and will be much easier to manage.

 

The first few days and weeks of treatment are really hard. In these difficult moments, remind yourself of why your loved one considered treatment in the first place. It’s likely that they started treatment because they were facing a severe, and possibly life-threatening, health crisis.

Please know that your loved one is safe with us. Our care facilities are designed to keep our patients physically and emotionally safe. Their well being will always be our top priority.

Making progress in recovery

Recovery does not always occur in a straight line. There will be setbacks and successes on the path to recovery. Your love and support will be crucial to help your loved one get through the rough patches. So we ask you to have hope. And we will teach you how to support your loved one through recovery.

 

If you are the parent of a child who is ill, you may want to do what you can to “fix” your child’s problem — and you may want to fix things quickly. But the truth is that you can’t fix it all for them. Instead, you can support, validate and encourage them to do the hard work of treatment. Their job is to focus on getting better and your job is to support them.

Supporting your loved one in care

Treatment is often overwhelming and emotional for everyone. It takes time and a lot of work to process these very hard changes. One of the best pieces of advice we can offer is that you talk openly with the treatment team and trust the team’s guidance. We are here for you.

Testimonials

chat with us

Eating Recovery Center is accredited through the Joint Commission. This organization seeks to enhance the lives of the persons served in healthcare settings through a consultative accreditation process emphasizing quality, value and optimal outcomes of services.

Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

Joint Commission Seal
Schedule for a Free Consultation