How to Enjoy Summer Break While in the Structure of Eating Disorder Treatment

Summer music treatment

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Director of Content and Social Media at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

The words “summer break” usually have a positive meaning associated with them. For many, this means a vacation from school, a planned family trip, or simply a time to slow down from the typical fast paced schedule that occurs on a daily basis.

However, if you are in recovery from an eating disorder, you may very well understand that these psychiatric illnesses have no bounds or seasons. When in the throes of an eating disorder, treatment is necessary for intervention, whether you had planned a vacation or not.

Understanding the Need for Eating Disorder Treatment

Unfortunately, eating disorder treatment is never convenient for anyone involved, and the necessity for structure provided by a treatment program may arise at the most inopportune times.

Life is fragile, and there is often a small window of time for connecting to the comprehensive help and treatment that is needed for eating disorder recovery. While taking time to enroll in a treatment program may not be what you had in mind for your summer vacation, it is important to keep your health and wellness a priority.

Summer suppliesThink of the reality of what summer might be like if fully engaged in an eating disorder. You are likely not enjoying family, friends or relationships. Eating and situations in which food is involved are probably stressful, and you may be avoiding activities that you previously enjoyed. While it may be difficult to use your “summer break” as a time to seek out eating disorder treatment, this is a necessary intervention to getting back a life of freedom.

Levels of Care for Recovery

Many individuals may perceive eating disorder recovery as something that will keep them locked away for an extended period of time, though this is not quite the scenario at hand. Working with an eating disorder specialist is the first step in determining the level of care that will be most appropriate for your treatment. There are several levels of care available for eating disorder treatment, all depending on the severity of the illness and acuity of symptoms you may be experiencing.

At the inpatient and residential level of care, your days will be highly structured with around the clock care from medical professionals. Inpatient care is typically reserved for patients who are medically and psychiatrically unstable and may occur in a hospital setting. Residential treatment often occurs in a home setting, and though also structured, provides routines with group therapy, counseling sessions, meal support, and more.

Intensive outpatient and outpatient levels of treatment for eating disorder recovery allow for the most flexibility while in treatment, giving patients the opportunity to resume a job, enroll in school, or return to a home environment.

Making the Most of Your Treatment

Whatever your situation may be, you can make the most of your treatment by focusing on the help you are receiving rather than think of the things you may be missing. While you would like rather not be within the confines of a treatment program, especially during the summer vacation, you will not experience the freedom of recovery while living under the burden of an eating disorder. The work an effort you are willing to put in to treatment will propel you forward and give you the health needed to live the life you truly want.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What are ways that you can enjoy your summer break, even while in the structure of eating disorder treatment?


Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on July 10, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com