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How Eating Disorder Treatment Can Enhance Your Life

Seeking out eating disorder treatment near you can fundamentally change your life or the life of a loved one for the better. The symptoms of eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder or an unspecified obsessive eating disorder must be treated, but there is also more to the equation than simply addressing the symptoms. While the best eating disorder treatment centers address an individual’s symptoms while supporting the individual on the path to recovery, there is an opportunity for people in treatment to enhance their overall quality of your life. You or your loved one can learn skills and develop positive tools and techniques, and have the opportunity for a higher level of success.

By taking these various lessons into other areas of life, recovered clients can enhance their ability to enjoy and get the most out of their daily experiences.

While some eating disorder treatment programs are exclusively focused on eradicating only the symptoms of eating disorders, the best eating disorder treatment programs understand people are more than their disorders. Seeing and treating the whole person is key, in both residential programs or a more local outpatient eating disorder facility near them.

The idea that mindful and life-enhancing eating disorder treatment options can also improve the quality of life beyond mere treatment of symptoms is hardly new, but it is definitely important. With the right help and support, individuals can not only become fully recovered from their eating disorder, but they can also address other issues in their life with the same tools and techniques.

How can this be achieved? Here are a few ways life-enhancing treatment options can have an impact on an individual’s post-treatment life:

1. Increased Confidence in Your Life Choices

Confidence in themselves and their decision making can be gleaned from life skills classes taught at the best eating disorder treatment centers. These skills are learned through specific therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), which help identify and eliminate flawed or distorted thought processes. As a part of these kinds of treatment, they will begin to see where other areas of their life may need improvement, and they will gain confidence that their decisions are logical and clear-eyed. More importantly, they will begin to see how they can make those improvements, and have the confidence to work toward recovery. Many former clients feel as if the wool has been lifted from their eyes as they learn to think carefully about their life choices and choose the healthiest option.

These benefits can extend far beyond their applications for managing an eating disorder; they are also a great way for recovered individuals to make well-considered choices regarding other concerns they have in their personal and professional life. These can relate to career choices, relationships, etc.

People’s ability to make positive life choices goes beyond eating disorder treatment – life can throw a wrench in the works at any time. Being able to cope with those issues depends on many factors, including the way you approach those roadblocks.

Some people are naturally better at coping than others, but coping is also a skill that can be taught through careful counseling. With that in mind, a treatment program for eating disorders can help teach the confidence patients need to feel like they can be successful at more than just becoming fully recovered from their disorder. This kind of confidence can make all the difference.

2. Keep the Important Things in Mind

Different things matter to different people, but many individuals with an eating disorder can become so caught up in the repetitive cycle of negative thoughts and feelings they forget the important things in life. If enrolling in an eating disorder treatment facility near them and a focus on mindfulness, they can start re-developing their focus on enjoying the small moments that make life worth living. Here at Monte Nido, we like to remember that what you are recovering to is just as important as what you are recovering from. Finding that focus can provide motivation and a sense of purpose, which is very important in becoming fully recovered.

Especially for young adults with eating disorders, finding a focus in life and perceiving value in their future is quite essential. There are many ways to help people understand their future matters, but whether it is traditional talk therapy, experiential therapy such as mindful meditation or CBT, they have a better chance of being fully recovered for the long term. This enables individuals to make meaningful progress by confidently working toward their goals and dreams.

3. Strengthening Family and Friendship Bonds in Your Support System

They say, “it takes a village,” and while you may not need an entire town, a strong support system to help during aftercare and beyond is essential to recovering from any eating disorder. One of the things people in recovery of any type need to maintain their recovery is a support system. If they have that system, not only are there opportunities for quality-of-life improvement, but they have a better chance of becoming fully recovered and staying that way.

Unfortunately, many people have limited knowledge of the challenges that come with eating disorder recovery.

For these family members, their own training about obsessive eating disorder treatment can make the difference between providing roadblocks to recovery and providing support. As well as providing the eating disorder clients with knowledge about the disorder, these lessons can be applied to the family and friends. Then they can learn techniques on how to provide positive support for their loved ones, and also focus on avoiding enabling behaviors which they may have inadvertently done in the past.

Having someone to reach out to who can boost an individual’s mood or provide a non-therapist to talk to is a great way to help that person succeed in their recovery. Support systems are extremely valuable, and building a solid one is an important part of eating disorder treatment or any type of mental health improvement.

4. Life Skills That Can Work in Many Different Situations

No matter what kind of situation a person finds themselves, there are mental and emotional tools they will typically use to feel better, address the situation and decide what they are going to do next. These skill sets are often useful in not only eating disorder recovery but in daily life. Activities, such as journaling their emotions, making mindful decisions about what they eat and how they exercise, and how they clear their minds and relax can apply to life situations other than eating disorder symptoms. For example, a ten minute meditation session can help alleviate the urge to binge, and it can also help de-stress following a tense situation at work.

People in recovery can use the tools they gain from the best eating disorder treatment and start using them in other areas of their lives, as well.

At the eating disorder treatment center where they learn these skills, their application to everyday life situations will be introduced and practiced, with an eye on using these positivity-driven exercises to not only avoid disordered behaviors but to enact positive ones.

These tools are not exclusive to eating disorders. That is important to remember as patients move through treatment and out into the rest of their life as they will want to make the connection between the tools they learned and how to use them outside of treatment.

5. A New Set of Hobbies and Experiences to Enjoy

When a person searches for eating disorder treatment near them, they are looking for a way to get help. It is crucial they receive help for the eating disorders which are decimating their ability to enjoy life or get the most out of it. When they become fully recovered from their eating disorder they also often see areas of their lives they want to change or adjust. Monte Nido and our affiliates always include what we call life-enhancing activities in our programs. These can range from something as basic as going grocery shopping, to once-in-a-lifetime chances to see an art exhibit at the local museum.

Everyone has goals in life, and they should be able to get out and pursue their dreams as much as possible. If they don’t have the proper tools to do that they might not accomplish as much as they could or as they would like to. By being fully recovered and seeing a way forward, they can make a plan to pursue their goals and dreams so they can get more done in life and enjoy all the aspects of developing a career and a personal life that they are happy with and feel good about.

6. A Renewed Sense of Strength and Resilience

Throughout the course of obsessive eating disorder treatment as well as treatment for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or a combination of multiple disorders, clients can move from their lowest point to regain a sense of personal strength and resilience. They will come to learn they are more than their disorder, and it doesn’t have to hold them back. They can use the understanding of that strength to accomplish other goals. Strength comes from within – what the best eating disorder treatment programs do is simply help clients discover that strength in themselves.

Overall, eating disorder treatment can go beyond the simple treatment of symptoms and medical issues. It can make their entire quality of life much better because it gives them the tools and confidence they need, along with the support to keep moving forward. A sense of confidence in themselves and their decision making leads to a positive feedback loop, where positive thinking reinforces sounds decisions and boots self-esteem, whether a person learns how to encourage themselves or they receive encouragement from outside sources. Validation from the outside becomes less important than a sense of self-worth and positive self-image.

Treatment for eating disorders doesn’t have to be a battery of medical and psychiatric treatments. When done correctly, the best eating disorder treatments provide a way for clients in recovery to enhance several aspects of their life for the better – and a better life should be the goal.


Melissa Orshan Spann, PhD, LMHC, RTY 200, is Chief Clinical Officer at Monte Nido & Affiliates, overseeing the clinical operations and programming for over 50 programs across the U.S. Dr. Spann is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist and clinical supervisor as well as an accomplished presenter and passionate clinician who has spent her career working in the eating disorder field in higher levels of care. She is a member of the Academy for Eating Disorders and the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals where she serves on the national certification committee, supervision faculty, and is on the board of her local chapter. She received her doctoral degree from Drexel University, master’s degree from the University of Miami, and bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida.