Anorexia or bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), or even unlisted disorders like orthorexia nervosa – it doesn’t matter the type of eating disorder, it can have an effect on personal relationships with other people. Through the self-improvement lessons learned through specialized eating disorder treatment, people in treatment will learn a lot about how to break through those social relationship challenges and discover how interpersonal relationships can be improved. Check out some of the ways to enhance your personal relationships in conjunction with the treatments received at an eating disorder treatment center.

Relate and Commiserate During Group Therapy Activities During Eating Disorder Treatment

At the beginning of treatment, the other people in group therapy may be total strangers. On the other hand, they will often have things in common with you and understand you in ways that others cannot. At virtually every one of the best eating disorder treatment facilities, group therapy will be provided or a requirement. If you want to see your personal relationships with others get better, taking part and being active in group therapy activities can be hugely beneficial. During group therapy, there are usually programs involving:

  • Developing new communications skills that can be used in personal and professional settings outside the treatment program
  • Building confidence in yourself about your sense of self and your self-esteem
  • Find new, more positive ways to express your thoughts when conversing with others

An eating disorder psychologist will normally lead the sessions, which may also alternate leaders among the participants. They will guide the conversations, but they will also allow time for discussions between group members to help encourage the development of those social skills that may be lacking.

Family Therapy Can Improve How You Relate With Your Family and Vice Versa

Family therapy is an integral part of treatment for many mental health disorders, and for good reason. Eating disorders don’t affect only the person with disordered behavior; those closest to people with an eating disorder also experience a kind of peripheral suffering, watching their loved one struggle. Having your family work through the issues relative to the disorder is part of every complete continuum of care for eating disorder treatment. Once you get out of treatment, your family will be the people you rely on to help you when you have a tough time with recovery.

Learning to Open Up to Someone Can Help You Be More Engaged with Others

Those who spend some time with an eating disorder psychologist often find themselves facing stumbling blocks in their personal relationships because they have kept their disorder a secret for so long. After so much time in secrecy, it can be tough to increase your transparency, but expressing yourself among the people who will support your recovery once you leave an eating disorder treatment center can bring you closer. According to Psychology Today:

“Seeking help when you are struggling is a sign of strength, not weakness.”

Opening up to your loved ones about thoughts and feelings surrounding a disorder shows that you are building an open and healthy foundation for a life in recovery. Whether it is your parents, siblings, or significant other, these people will be able to help you more when they understand what you have been through with your eating disorder. They will feel validated that you trust them, also – and this brings your even closer.

An eating disorder is a condition that is oftentimes so private and very often involves a sense of guilt or shame. The good news is that while these personal feelings can easily affect how you interact with the people around you, the behavior isn’t set in store. Through treatment and therapy, you will learn how to open up and rebuild those relationships that may have suffered throughout your illness.

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "Eating Disorder Treatment Can Be a Chance to Enhance Personal Relationships," in Medicalopedia, December 12, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/8065/eating-disorder-treatment-can-be-a-chance-to-enhance-personal-relationships/].