It Is Okay To Take a Break From Normal Life to Pursue Eating Disorder Treatment

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Making the decision to take a break from your normal life to get eating disorder treatment can be a difficult choice to make. For some individuals, this choice leads to feeling guilty, ashamed, or stressed.

However, it’s okay to take a break from day-to-day responsibilities in order to get treatment. In fact, it is really important that someone does so. While it seems that eating disorder treatment gets in the way of participating in normal life because of the time commitment, research shows otherwise.

In the long term, eating disorders create the biggest barrier to maintaining a normal life [2]. Not only can eating disorders potentially cause serious medical complications, but it can also lead to impairment in other aspects of someone’s life [1]. Such as their ability to function at work or school, maintain fulfilling relationships, or participate in hobbies.

It is okay to take a break from normal life to pursue treatment for an eating disorder. Here’s why:

Eating Disorder Treatment Requires Specialized Professional Treatment

Eating disorders are serious medical and psychiatric conditions. Eating disorders are considered one of the deadliest mental illnesses because of the potential medical complications [3]. Eating disorders are complex diagnoses because they require medical and psychological treatment at the same time.

Because of this, often, a team of eating disorder professionals is involved in providing treatment. Treatment teams usually involve a mental health professional, dietitian, doctor, and a psychiatrist. These professionals have received specialized training in order to treat these complex disorders.

African American Woman thinking about Eating Disorder TreatmentThe support and guidance from these professionals are crucial in getting an accurate diagnosis, treatment plan, and support. These professionals can also determine what level of support is needed.

Depending on the severity of the eating disorder and any associated medical conditions, the treatment recommendation may be for hospitalization, residential treatment, intensive outpatient programming, or appointments with outpatient providers. Ultimately, the level of care matches the level of severity of the disorder.

The appropriate level of care is important in ensuring that the necessary medical and psychological support is given. Only a qualified professional can make this recommendation.

Following treatment recommendations is a time commitment that often requires someone to press pause on their everyday life. However, taking a break is an investment in physical and emotional health. This investment protects someone’s ability to participate in and enjoy everyday life in the long-term.

Aside from the medical and psychological benefits, it’s okay to invest in well-being. In fact, it’s more than okay, it’s deserved. Every person deserves to thrive. However, without professional help for disordered eating, someone’s ability to thrive is compromised.

Get yourself or your loved one help. It’ll be worth it.


[1] Klump, K. L., Bulik, C. M., Kaye, W. H., Treasure, J., & Tyson, E. (2009). Academy for eating disorders position paper: eating disorders are serious mental illnesses. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 42(2), 97–103.

[2] Stice, E., Marti, C. N., & Rohde, P. (2013). Prevalence, incidence, impairment, and course of the proposed DSM-5 eating disorder diagnoses in an 8-year prospective community study of young women. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 122(2), 445-457. doi:

[3] Chesney, E., Goodwin, G.M., & Fazel, S. (2014). Risks of all-cause and suicide mortality in mental disorders: a meta-review. World Psychiatry,13(2), 153-160.

About the Author:

Samantha Bothwell PhotoSamantha Bothwell, LMFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, writer, explorer, and lipstick aficionado. She became a therapist after doing her own healing work so she could become whole after spending many years living with her mind and body disconnected. She has focused her clinical work to support the healing process of survivors of sexual violence and eating disorders. She is passionate about guiding people in their return to their truest Self so they can live their most authentic, peaceful life.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a 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.

Published July 30, 2020, on
Reviewed & Approved on July 30, 2020, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.