The question I have always wondered about what weather the physical symptoms of an eating disorder should be the first and primary goal or if the emotional symptoms should come first?
In terms of physical symptoms I'm talking primarily about weight gain. And in terms of emotional symptoms I'm talking more about the thoughts, the mental process, the body image issues, and everything that goes on regarding the patients thinking.
Because we all know that eating disorders are not so much about weight as they are about our thinking and our love for ourselves.
So my first inclination would be to back up the position of the emotional symptoms being treated first.
However, of the articles I've been reading they all say the opposite, that it's the physical symptoms that matter the most.
And I can see how this is right too, as one with an eating disorder, specifically anorexia, usually is at a very unhealthy weight and needs to get to a stable place in order to get the body back to functioning normally again.
That all makes sense to me. But going back to the fact that eating disorders are not about the weight, focusing on the mental issues and underlying matters seems to make more sense to me.
As I mentioned in my post about treatment, my experience was so focused on getting to a certain weight, that my mind freaked out and I never actually healed any of my underlying issues I was holding on to. I left the center feeling mentally worse than when I entered.
This could have been because I just needed more time in the program but when insurance kicks you out (as it does for a lot of people) you have to leave. And the insurance companies have no idea that just because you might be at a healthy weight, it doesn't mean you're better.
I have expressed that this is the reason why so many girls jump from one treatment center to another. They gain the weight and get discharged and they do what they know how to do, freak out and lose the weight.
I feel like the easy way to prevent this from happening is either longer stays in treatment or a more prevalent focus on the thought process and mental factors of the disease.
I recently talked with Sophia Lee over at Burp and Slurp about treatment centers and how most are focused on weight gain and how this can be very backwards, especially for the patients and their thoughts.
Anorexics tend to base their worth around a number on a scale and it becomes the main focus of their lives, so the idea that treatment is centered around the same issues seems backwards. Shouldn't they be helping us switch our perspective to healing our minds and less on what we weigh or how much we need to gain?
I've also read that the anorexic mind isn't really at a place of proper function until the body reaches a healthy weight again, which makes sense. But from my own personal experience this was not the case for me.
My thought process became even more skewed when I was at my "goal" weight. I hated myself and my body even more than when I was in the deepest depths of my sickness. I couldn't think straight because all I wanted to do was get out of the foreign body I had ended up in.
I don't know, what do you guys think? Is it better to treat the physical weight gain symptoms first or should the emotional symptoms be the focus?
The only reason I lean towards the emotional side, is because it just makes more sense to me. Treating an illness that is commonly mistaken as a disease about weight, with weight gain and the focus on the patient's weight just seems backwards to me.
Eating disorders are so much more than just a number on a scale. They are a disease of the mind, and that should be the center point of the treatment.
I want to hear your thoughts! What do you think?