Eating Disorders: What Motivates Recovery
By: Brianna Millier
Eating disorders are complex mental illnesses that can have severe physical, emotional, and social consequences. While the road to recovery may be challenging, understanding the factors that support and motivate recovery is essential for promoting healing and well-being. The motivating factors mentioned should be tailored to meet individual personalities and preferences. In this article, we explore the nature of eating disorders and delve into the evidence-based strategies and supports that can empower individuals along their recovery journey.
The Role of Social Support:
Research published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders highlights the importance of positive social relationships, such as family support, peer networks, and therapeutic alliances. These support systems provide encouragement, understanding, and practical assistance, reinforcing the individual’s motivation to recover. Supporting pro-recovery beliefs and lifestyle changes (e.g., not talking negatively about weight), building hope for the future (e.g., writing inspiring notes), and by discussing and working toward goals that conflict with the ED (e.g., volunteering, having children) are helpful suggestions (Venturo-Conerly et al., 2020).
A review by Tosca Braun et al., highlights self-compassion’s positive impact on body image, self-esteem, and psychological well-being. Practicing self-compassion involves acknowledging and accepting one’s struggles while cultivating a non-judgmental and nurturing attitude towards oneself. Incorporating self-compassion exercises, such as mindfulness and self-affirmation, can strengthen motivation and resilience throughout the recovery journey.
Embracing Individualized Treatment:
Personalized treatment may involve a combination of evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. CBT focuses on challenging distorted thoughts, building coping skills, and promoting self-acceptance. These factors all contribute to motivation and sustained recovery. Family therapy is particularly helpful in treating adolescents and improves communication, reduces blame, and fosters a supportive environment, enhancing the individual’s motivation to engage in treatment and sustain recovery. Participants in one study often described medical professionals as the first people who made them feel heard and understood (Venturo-Conerly et al., 2020). Professionals offer validation and safety while also providing a continuation of specialized support and a means to monitor progress.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Psychotherapy & Psychiatric Services. Contact our Manhattan, NY or Paramus, NJ offices respectively at (201)368-3700 or (212)722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit https://counselingpsychotherapynjny.com