Misconceptions about Interventions for Eating Disorders

Misconceptions about Interventions for Eating DisordersEating disorders are serious conditions in which individuals become so obsessed with food and weight that they care about little else. The following are the three main types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia nervosa, a condition marked by starvation to attain a perceived ideal body type
  • Bulimia nervosa, a condition in which weight is maintained and controlled by purging food through vomiting or use of laxatives
  • Binge-eating disorder, a condition in which individuals consume excessive amounts of food in a short time period

The majority of people who suffer from eating disorders are female, but males are also affected. When untreated, eating disorders can cause serious physical harm and even death. Treatment options include the following:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Nutrition
  • Family counseling
  • Medication
  • Hospitalization

Professional help is often needed for long-term recovery from eating disorders. In treatment, individuals learn to handle life stress with positive coping skills, problem-solving strategies and social support.

Interventions: Myths and Misconceptions

Holding an intervention is one strategic way to help a loved one overcome an eating disorder. An intervention is a structured, focused meeting in which addicted individuals are confronted by significant people in their lives and challenged to face their problems. Effective interventions create opportunities for people to get help before an addiction worsens. Interventions typically accomplish the following goals:

  • Clearly communicate the impact destructive behaviors have had on the addicted person and others
  • Offer a prearranged treatment plan with steps, goals and guidelines
  • Set boundaries about how each person present will respond if treatment is refused

Misconceptions about interventions prevent some people from considering this life-saving strategy. One major source of misinformation comes from primetime television shows that portray interventions as highly dramatic confrontations. Actual interventions are calm, orderly and scripted. Other misconceptions about interventions include the following:

  • An intervention will push a loved one further away. Although an addict’s initial reaction may be negative, a positive intervention will always communicate support and express love.
  • You can stage an intervention without a plan. Nothing is left to chance in a well-executed intervention. Meticulous preparation ahead of time keeps the event focused and positive.
  • An intervention is an opportunity to freely speak my mind. To make sure only beneficial and constructive thoughts and feelings are shared, most participants read from letters written in advance.
  • Interventions are one-shot deals. Many interventions take place in a single meeting that typically lasts from 3 to 4 hours. Sometimes they require numerous sessions.
  • Participants do not need support. Friends and family members need emotional preparation before the event and time to debrief afterward.

Many people hire trained professionals to facilitate interventions. Using specialized skills, experts can catalyze change for individuals suffering from eating disorders and the people who love them.

Getting Help for Overcoming an Eating Disorder

If you or someone you love suffers from an eating disorder, we can help. Recovery counselors are available at our toll-free, 24 hour support line to discuss your treatment options and answer your questions. Don’t go it alone when help is just one phone call away. Start your recovery today.