Necessary but not sufficient
People facing an eating disorder - the patient, the family, and the clinical team - have to hold a few necessary but insufficient facts in their head for a long time. Each of them are counterintuitive, complex, and difficult to achieve. Grasping one, no matter how enthusiastically, will not help unless you embrace the others, too:
- Eating disorders are a real brain problem, not an accumulation of wrong thoughts.
- The first order of business is normalizing nutrition, activity, and eating behaviors.
- The mental symptoms will get worse before they get better.
- The mental symptoms will outlast the visible and medically measurable symptoms.
- Full recovery is the goal.
- Relapse prevention is necessary.