Eating disorders affect 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States and approximately 15% of these individuals seek professional help. Additionally, the average time it takes to seek clinical treatment is eight years. At this point, the disorder is generally severe and has taken a heavy toll on the dental, medical, and psychological aspects of the individual. For any eating disorder, early intervention is essential for rapid recovery and success.
Benefits of Early Intervention
Receiving treatment is best accepted early in the development of the eating disorder:
- Early identification and treatment improves the speed of recovery.
- Early intervention also indicates that there is a reduction in symptoms following treatment.
- Early intervention can improve the likelihood of staying eating disorder free after recovery is attained.
Early Intervention Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Professional Treatment
Early intervention strategies should focus on areas that educate and engage individuals in the severity of eating disorders. These can be online resources, community groups, or educational programs that teach individuals about recognizing the signs and symptoms associated with eating disorders. The National Eating Disorder Association offers initiative and education programming on their website aimed at the university, high school, and youth populations.
Online assessments are available to assess and screen if symptoms meet the criteria for an eating disorder. Online, campus-wide screenings upon college enrollment is one strategy to reach students who are unaware of the severity of the illness and/or those who wish to handle the disease independently. These screenings serve as a gateway for students to learn more about eating disorders, and also as a means to get the best treatment associated with their level of risk.
Other websites, such as Binge Eating Disorder Association, and Project Heal can help an individual learn more about eating disorders and find resources available in their area.
When Early Professional Treatment is Necessary
If you have noticed that you are becoming more obsessed with food, your weight, and your body image, you may be dealing with an eating disorder. Other symptoms include hiding food, bingeing, and engaging in self-induced vomiting. If you have looked through online websites about eating disorders and you don’t want to admit that you may be developing anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, or another eating disorder because you are scared of what may happen, it is time to seek professional treatment. Reaching out for help before the early stages of an eating disorder spiral out of control is so important in recovery. Dental complications, malnutrition, organ failure, menstrual abnormalities, osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse are well-known complications of eating disorders, however, they can all be prevented with early treatment intervention.
If you are dealing with symptoms of an eating disorder, do not hesitate to reach out for help. Avalon Hills is a treatment center designed to help those struggling with an eating disorder recover through a tailor-made component, unique to each individual. If you require help, please give us a call at 866-733-7564.