National Eating Disorders Association

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Recovery on my own or with professional help?

Hey everyone.

I've been in recovery for about 1 week this time around and am doing it on my own. I've never been diagnosed with an ED but have been struggling with disordered eating for most of my life (I'm in my late twenties and my behaviors have been all over the map.) I've been planning to recover on my own with the help of books and possibly an online 12 step group. I'm not currently engaging in behaviors. I'm wondering if I should look into professional treatment? I've always felt like I'm not "sick enough" because I'm a healthy weight and don't have a diagnosis. I guess I view recovery with professional help (for example, outpatient services at an ED clinic) for those that are unable to begin recovery on their own or for those that are severely sick. I'd appreciate any feedback on this, thank you.

I would

Advise seeking professional help, as they can properly diagnose you. Without help, it's much more likely that you won't recover. I've found trying to do it on my own doesn't work. If I were able to cure myself, I wouldn't need others, but I only get worse doing it alone. I think another outside person is able to help you figure things out. I don't exactly know how else to help.
Seeing a professional can help you know what type of help is needed, and we can't.
I truly hope you seek out help from someone.
Your Eating Disorder doesn't want you to let someone else in. It wants to keep you sick and eventually kill you. Please get help.


Hello and welcome... You have come to the right place for support. Although I would echo what Savedbygrace said. You stated you have been struggling your whole life. Although it is great you have been behavior free for one week, that is not much time considering how long you have had it. The eating disorder doesn't want you to be free. I really think getting some one on one counseling is the best choice because eating disorders don't happen for no reason. It is the symptom of something deeper down that you may not be aware of. They serve a purpose. If you can figure out what purpose the eating disorder is serving, it will make recovery more possible. I know you want to try it on your own, but even with professional help it is difficult to recover. I am not telling you what to do, but giving my opinion. I hope you look into some therapists, the NEDA hotline can help you with that.

I think it is very good and a brave step you are takin. Sounds like you want and are ready to start down the road of recovery. Best to you.


Hi, I hope that you are able to find someone to help you. Lots of hugs.


Hi Emyajxo-
Welcome to the forums! We're so glad that you've come to this community full of individuals who can truly understand what you're going through. I'm so sorry to hear that you've been struggling with ED for much of your life. So excited for you that you feel ready to begin the process of recovery though- that's such a tremendous step forward! I echo what Savedbygrace and Iwanttolive said as well in that professional help really is so important in reaching last recovery. As has been mentioned, ED is a way one learns to cope with underlying intense emotions that often lay beneath the surface. For me, working with a therapist was key in being able to identify what purpose ED was serving in my life and better understand what was driving the behaviors- and from there, behaviors began to decrease then stopped all together. It took me several years to take that step to seek a therapist. I tried to take on recovering on my own and was able to gain back the weight I had lost, but even as a healthy weight, still never dealt with the underlying stuff-- which led me to fall into binge eating behavior for several more years until I got help. I think there is so much value to 12 step and self-help books- but more as a supplement to working with a professional. ED tries to trick us all the time that we are not "sick enough" but that is a lie that keeps us unwell. Having an ED is not your fault, but you are struggling with a severe mental illness that requires treatment to thrive as you are meant to. Let us know what steps you decide to take- and know that we are always here to listen & we care <3 Know that recovery is possible- you're amazing!