Contributed by: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Eating Disorder Hope
Eating disorders on their own are difficult and complex diseases. If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with an eating disorder, you have likely found that many adjustments have become necessary in your life.
The reality is that things must change in order to move forward with healing, though the initial diagnosis can be overwhelming. Hearing the words “eating disorders” can trigger a myriad of stigmas and stereotypes that sadly make it more challenging to connect with treatment.
When Another Mental Disorder Is Diagnosed
As you proceed with your recovery journey, you may also receiving the diagnosis of a “co-occurring” disorder, or the discovery of another mental health illness in addition to the eating disorder. This can also add to the confusion and burden of what you are already feeling with battling an eating disorder.
The general lack of education and awareness about mental health illness make it more complicated for the sufferers who are trying to find hope, healing and recovery. Though hearing of a dual diagnosis can be fearful and intimidating news to receive, knowledge truly is power.
Being better informed of what you are struggling with will only empower you to get the help and treatment you need for these disorders.
Improved Treatment and Outcomes
Thankfully, there is greater understanding about the connection between eating disorders and other mental health illnesses, which has lead to improved treatment and outcomes for those who are suffering.
While it can be devastating to know the reality of what you are dealing with, there is a tremendous amount of hope for your future. Recovery IS possible, and giving everything you can towards your recovery will be a hard but beautiful process.
Facing the Recovery Journey
The recovery journey is anything but a linear process, and you will find that there are many unique challenges you will face as an individual who has suffered with both an eating disorder and other mental illnesses.
But these illnesses do not define you, nor will they determine the outcome of your future. With adequate treatment and support, you will find yourself better able to life your life to your fullest potential.
As much as a diagnosis might feel like a “label”, the first step towards recovering is understanding what exactly you are facing and suffering with. With this knowledge, you can find the appropriate resources you need to move forward with healing.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
Have you been in treatment for a dual diagnosis? What has been your experience with co-occurring disorders?
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 13th, 2015
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com