Eating Disorders: What To Tell ED Treatment Decision-Makers

February 24, 2016 Z Zoccolante

When you have an eating disorder, you need to know what to tell an eating disorder treatment decision-maker. After all, having an eating disorder sucks and being worried about affording, or being denied eating disorder treatment, adds to the suckiness. During my stay at an inpatient facility, one of the girls threw up blood, and still, her insurance kicked her out after 11 days. Another girl with anorexia was there before I arrived and stayed after my release. To insurance companies, people are words on a page. They don’t know us. Even if they saw a picture, they might think we’re fine when we’re not. What they don’t know, is that just because we don’t look like a skeleton, it doesn’t mean we’re not at risk of dying. Here's what eating disorder treatment decision-makers need to know.

Eating Disorder Treatment Decision-Makers: We're Trying to Recover

The girl, who threw up blood left an imprint in my memory. She sat across the picnic bench from me, under the blue sky of the hospital’s courtyard, and announced that her insurance had kicked her out of treatment. Her voice quivered. Her eyes filled with tears.

I’m a little ashamed to say that, although I was sad for her, my main emotion was fear. I was afraid that my insurance might kick me out, too. It had taken me almost a decade to finally get real help, to check myself into a place where I was watched and monitored, where I was forced to give up control (Eating Disorder Help: Where To Get Help For Eating Disorders). For the first time in my life, I was desperately trying to get better. My body was flighty with the terror that in one swift motion, someone who’d never met me, and had no idea what I’d been through, could flick a computer key and send me back into the world, still sick, but deflated and hopeless.

Eating Disorder Treatment Decision-Makers, You Can Make a Difference in ED Recovery

What people with the computers don’t know is that it can take years for a person with an eating disorder to even agree to go to therapy, let alone step foot in an eating disorder treatment facility.

The eating disorder makes us feel worthless. It tells us we don’t deserve to get better, that recovery is impossible, and we’ll live in this hell forever (Who Am I Without My Eating Disorder?). Because of this, eating disorders, often starting in the mid-teens, can go somewhat undetected, undiagnosed, or treated until a person’s 20s.

This means years have gone by, during which the eating disorder has taken up residence in our lives. Its patterns have been acted upon countless times. Neural pathways have formed in the brain that favor a comfortable slip into the eating disorder whenever we’re triggered (Comparison, Competition and Eating Disorders).

Seeking treatment within the first few years of having the eating disorder increases your rate of recovery. However, no matter how many years you’ve lived with the eating disorder, starting recovery now is your best time.

Getting the treatment we need, and getting it as soon as possible, increases our chances of full recovery. Eating disorder treatment decision-makers must understand that relapse is directly related to dropping out of treatment. Anorexia Nervosa and Other Eating Disorders (ANRED) estimates that an average of one-in-four who enter eating disorder treatment drop out too soon and relapses. This shows how crucial the proper, and full course of, eating disorder treatment is for recovery.

Eating Disorder Treatment Decision-Makers, We're All in This Together

Eating disorder treatment decision-makers' support makes the life or death difference in getting help to recover. Here's what to tell ED decision makers. Read now.

If you’re thinking, “Well, that means that three-of-four people did okay with inadequate treatment,” then I’d ask you:

  • What if that one was your your child, parent, or friend?
  • What if that one was you?

Sure, some of the people might have left treatment of their own accord, but I believe there are far more who want to get better, and are doing the work, but insurance companies have kicked them out too early.

Every person deserves to have the best possible chance of recovery.

Eating Disorder Treatment Decision-Makers, You Are Key To Eating Disorder Recovery

To those who wield the computer keys: I hold no animosity towards you, and I’d like you to please understand something. We are more than words on a page and more than a diagnosis. We are your daughters, sons, parents, friends, neighbors, or coworkers. We have dreams. We are important and we can heal with your help.

Find Z on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and on her blog.

Sources and Resources

APA Reference
Zoccolante, Z. (2016, February 24). Eating Disorders: What To Tell ED Treatment Decision-Makers, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Z Zoccolante

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