How Sick Do You Need To Be For Treatment?
We often hear this question from individuals and their families: “How ill do you have to be to necessitate eating disorder treatment?”
The short answer is if you are concerned at all about an eating disorder being present, you need to get assessed for treatment. It doesn’t matter how ill you are, how sick you feel, what you look like or whether or not you fit the definition in some book. Anyone that thinks they might have an eating disorder should absolutely get assessed for treatment.
It is the nature of eating disorders to get worse, not better, unless you get the help you need. Studies show people who don’t receive treatment get worse over time and, in fact, their risk of dying prematurely increases as the presence of an eating disorder continues. However, when people are treated for an eating disorder, they are often able to take back their lives.
Eating disorders are subtle illnesses. Often, we have behaviors, such as restriction or compulsive exercise, that actually look normal to others, but in our hearts and thoughts we may understand them to be symptoms of an illness. Anyone who is concerned that they might have an eating disorder probably does.
You don’t have to be in a hospital, starving yourself, purging every day or exercising constantly to require care. Anyone with negative behaviors, troubled body image or disordered eating that disrupts their life, can and should get eating disorder treatment.