Eating Disorder Intervention

Eating disorders are notoriously difficult to treat. Anorexia, bulimia and compulsive binge eating are among the most chronic and deadly mental health issues. Often, the individual who suffers from an eating disorder is in one of the following phases:

  • Precontemplation or Active Denial – this individual does not recognize that there is an eating disorder. The person may think that he or she is eating normally or that the eating disorder is an effective diet plan.  He or she is most likely very resistant to change.
  • Contemplation – this phase occurs when the person begins to occasionally notice or admits that there is a problem. During this phase the person with the eating disorder begins to weigh the possibilities of change and the costs of the eating behaviors. This person is still likely to resist change but may be more likely to accept help.
  • Preparation – this stage occurs when the person begins to attempt change. The person with the eating disorder begins to experiment with small changes and may be even more open to receiving help.
  • Action – this phase is the time in which the person with the eating disorder actively seeks help and gets treatment.
  • Maintenance and Relapse Prevention – this time occurs after the person has been treated. Sometimes after treatment, people may experience relapses and require treatment again. All of the above stages can occur again during the maintenance stage.

If your loved one is in the precontemplation, contemplation or preparation stage it may feel tempting to tell your loved one to get treatment right away. You may have even tried to persuade your loved one to get treatment only to be met with resistance, hostility find help immediately.

An intervention is a planned, assisted event in which a person’s friends and family gather together to lovingly help that person become aware of the impact of his or her eating disorder and work to persuade that person to attend treatment at a pre-arranged treatment center.

How Do I Plan an Eating Disorder Intervention?

Some families plan an intervention on their own, and others hire trained interventionists. It is always best to have an interventionist or counselor on hand if you are planning an intervention for a loved one. There are also several books available on interventions, many which provide detailed plans to follow in the event of an intervention.

Some key things to keep in mind for an intervention:

  • Always work together with your family and friends to see who will and who will not be involved in the intervention.
  • Keep the intervention a secret from the person in need of help until the actual intervention begins.
  • Always conduct interventions in a loving manner. If a person feels he or she is being bossed around or judged, that person is less likely to accept help.
  • Keep young children out of the intervention. If a young child wants to help an older person to get help, it may be okay to have the child write a letter or draw a picture. This is best done with the help of a trained child counselor.
  • Plan potential treatment before the intervention. Have a travel plan and a financial plan ready to go. Ensure that your loved one can arrive at a treatment center within 24 hours of the intervention.

Eating Disorder Intervention Help

We offer a toll free 24-hour helpline to help you find the best solution for your loved one. Our trained counselors are knowledgeable about eating disorder issues, drug and alcohol treatment and other emotional and mental health issues. We can even help you plan an intervention, learn more about interventionists and find the most affordable and effective treatment for your loved one. You don’t have to do this alone; call us today.