We hear a lot about the stress or depression that the holiday season can trigger. Families may be concerned about affording gifts or finding childcare during school breaks, whereas others may find this time of year painful due to the loss of a loved one. However, there is another, often overlooked, segment of the population that faces a unique set of obstacles during this time: those with eating disorders.
The most common forms of eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. Together, they affect up to 30 million Americans of all ages and genders; although, they are most common among women. With an already precarious relationship with food, eating, and body image, holiday events that frequently center around meals can be especially difficult. The following are a few tips that can help make navigation of these occasions easier and more enjoyable:
Have a Support System Readily Available
Too often, patients place the burden of their disorder entirely on themselves. Not only does it make the task of remaining healthy exceptionally difficult, it shuts out others who genuinely care and would like to help. If you don’t already have a support group, look for one in your area. Becoming involved in these communities can give you an outlet to discuss concerns, struggles, and victories with others who understand. Likewise, a trusted, supportive family member who will also be in attendance at holiday events can be a great source of comfort.
Go into Holiday Meals with a Plan
When going into a situation that you know could serve as a trigger for your disorder, a game plan isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity. Mapping out your strategy ahead of time can help you feel more in control of the situation and allow you to be better equipped to handle issues as they arise. When you have already addressed the possible scenarios and their solutions beforehand, you eliminate the element of uncertainty and increase your overall level of comfort.
Focus on the Holiday Aspects You Love
It can be all too easy to focus on the aspects of a situation that are stress-inducing, but it is important not to lose sight of the things that are most important to you. Whether it is time spent with family, the holiday décor, or favorite holiday music playing in the background, take time to appreciate the facets of a holiday gathering that bring you true joy.
Speak with Your Psychiatrist about Eating Disorder Concerns
If you area already seeing a psychiatrist for an eating disorder, speak with them about your concerns surrounding the holidays. They can provide you with additional resources for support, as well as discuss any changes to medication that may be needed. However, if you do not currently have a psychiatrist monitoring and treating your condition, now is the time to start. Mental health disorders, including eating disorders, are serious conditions that can have major medical implications if left untreated. You wouldn’t attempt to fight off a physical disease without a doctor’s help. So, why would you do so with a mental disease?
To get started with treatment and the medical support you need for a healthy lifestyle, contact Psychiatry Associates of Baton Rouge. Request an appointment with one of our psychiatric physicians, and look forward to this holiday season with confidence.