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Eating Disorder Treatment and Recovery Inverness

The inner voices of anorexia and bulimia whisper that you’ll never be happy until you lose weight, that your worth is measured by how you look. But the truth is that happiness and self-esteem come from loving yourself for who you truly are–and that’s only possible with recovery.

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Eating Disorder Treatment and Recovery

The inner voices of anorexia and bulimia whisper that you’ll never be happy until you lose weight, that your worth is measured by how you look. But the truth is that happiness and self-esteem come from loving yourself for who you truly are – and that’s only possible with recovery.

It may seem like there’s no escape from your eating disorder, but recovery is within your reach. With treatment, support from others, and smart self-help strategies, you can overcome your eating disorder and gain true self-confidence.

Eating disorder recovery

The road to eating disorder recovery starts with admitting you have a problem. This admission can be tough, especially if you’re still clinging to the belief – even in the back of your mind – that weight loss is the key to happiness, confidence, and success. Even when you finally understand that thinness isn’t the Holy Grail you thought it was, old habits are hard to break.

The good news is that the eating disorder behaviours you’ve learned can be unlearned. That doesn’t mean the process is smooth, quick, or easy, but you can do it if you’re motivated to change and willing to ask for help. However, eating disorder recovery is about more than giving up unhealthy eating behaviours. Overcoming an eating disorder is also about rediscovering who you are beyond your eating habits, weight, and body image.

Help for Anorexia and Bulimia

True recovery from anorexia and bulimia involves:

  • Learning to listen to your body
  • Learning to listen to your feelings
  • Learning to trust yourself
  • Learning to accept yourself
  • Learning to love yourself

    This may seem like a lot to tackle, but just remember that you’re not alone. Help for eating disorders is out there; all you have to do is ask.

    Eating disorder treatment: Help for anorexia and bulimia

    It can be scary and embarrassing to seek help for an eating disorder. But it’s important to get treatment. Eating disorder recovery is much easier when you have experienced, caring health professionals in your corner.

    Eating disorder treatment step #1: Find a specialist

    The first step in eating disorder treatment is finding a doctor or therapist who specializes in anorexia and bulimia. As you search, focus on finding the right fit. Your relationship with your doctor or therapist is important to the recovery process. Look for someone who makes you feel comfortable, accepted, and safe.

    Eating disorder treatment referrals

  • National Eating Disorders Association
  • Eating Disorder Referral and Information Centre
  • Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders

    To find an eating disorder treatment specialist in your area:

  • Ask your primary care doctor for a referral
  • Search online at the eating disorder websites listed to the right
  • Check with local hospitals or medical centres
  • Ask your school counsellor or nurse

    Eating disorder treatment step #2: Address health problems

    Anorexia and bulimia can be deadly – and not just if you’re drastically underweight. Your health may be in danger, even if you only occasionally fast, binge, or purge, so it’s important to get a full medical evaluation. If the evaluation reveals health problems, they should take top treatment priority. Nothing is more important than your physical well-being. If you’re suffering from any other life-threatening problem, you may need to be hospitalized. While the thought of hospitalization may be scary, try to remember that it’s sole purpose is to keep you safe!
    Eating disorder treatment step #3: Make a long-term treatment plan

    Once your health problems are under control, you and your doctor or therapist can work on a long-term recovery plan. First, you’ll need to assemble a complete eating disorder treatment team. Your team might include a family doctor, a psychologist, a nutritionist, a social worker, and a psychiatrist. Then you and your team will develop a treatment plan that’s individualized to meet your needs.

    Your eating disorder treatment plan may include:

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Individual or group therapy
  • Family therapy

  • Eating disorder education
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Medical monitoring

    Eating disorder support groups

    Anorexia and bulimia are difficult to overcome without support. It’s important to have people you can turn to when you need a sympathetic ear or a word of encouragement. While family and friends can be a huge help, you may also want to join an eating disorder support group. Participating in an eating disorder support group can help you feel less isolated. They provide a safe environment where you can talk freely about your eating disorder and get advice and support from people who know what you’re going through.

    Online support for eating disorders

    You can find online help for anorexia and bulimia at Internet support groups, chat rooms, and forums. Online resources are particularly helpful if you’re not ready to seek face-to-face help or you don’t have an eating disorder support group in your area.

    Click here for a list of online options, provided by the Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders.

    There are many types of eating disorder support groups. Some are led by professional therapists, while others are moderated by trained volunteers or people who have recovered from an eating disorder.

    To find an eating disorder support group in your area:

  • Ask your doctor or therapist for a referral
  • Call local hospitals and universities
  • Call local eating disorder centres and clinics
  • Visit your school’s counselling centre
  • Search the National Eating Disorders Association’s database of free support groups.

    Self-help for eating disorders: Learning new coping skills

    Anorexia and bulimia aren’t about food. They’re about using food to cope with painful emotions such as anger, self-loathing, vulnerability, and fear. Disordered eating is a coping mechanism – whether you refuse food to feel in control, binge for comfort, or purge to punish yourself. But you can learn healthier ways to cope with negative emotions.

    The first step is figuring out what’s really eating you up inside. Remember, “fat” is not a feeling, so if you feel overweight and unattractive, stop and ask yourself what’s really going on. Are you upset about something? Depressed? Stressed out? Lonely? Once you identify the emotion you’re experiencing, you can choose a positive alternative to starving or stuffing yourself.

    Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • Call a friend
  • Listen to music
  • Play with a pet
  • Read a good book
  • Take a walk

  • Write in a journal
  • Go to the cinema
  • Get out into nature
  • Play a favourite game
  • Do something nice for someone else

    Coping with anorexia and bulimia: Emotional Do and Don't Lists


  • allow yourself to be vulnerable with people you trust
  • fully experience every emotion
  • be open and accepting of all your emotions
  • use people to comfort you when you feel bad, instead of focusing on food
  • let your emotions come and go as they please without fear


  • pretend you don’t feel anything when you do
  • let people shame or humiliate you for having or expressing feelings
  • avoid feelings because they make you uncomfortable
  • worry about your feelings making you fall apart
  • focus on food when you’re experiencing a painful emotion

    Adapted from: The Food and Feelings Workbook by Karin R. Koenig, Gurze Books

    Self-help for eating disorders: Improving your self-image

    Improving your self-image: You are more than what you weigh, a fact you lose sight of when you have an eating disorder. When you base your self-worth on physical appearance alone, you’re ignoring all the other qualities, accomplishments, and abilities that make you beautiful. Think about your friends and family members. Do they love you for the way you look or who you are? Chances are, your appearance ranks low on the list of what they love about you – and you probably feel the same about them. So why does it top your own list?

    Placing too much importance on how you look leads to low self-esteem and insecurity. But you can learn to see yourself in a positive, balanced way:

  • Make a list of your positive qualities. Think of all the things you like about yourself. Are you smart? Kind? Creative? Loyal? Funny? What would others say are your good qualities? Include your talents, skills, and achievements. Also think about bad qualities you don’t have.
  • Focus on what you like about your body. Instead of searching for flaws when you look in the mirror, appreciate the things you like about your appearance. If you’re distracted by “imperfections,” remind yourself that nobody’s perfect. Even supermodels get airbrushed.
  • Challenge negative self-talk. When you catch yourself being self-critical or pessimistic, stop and challenge the negative thought. Ask yourself what evidence you have to support the idea. What is the evidence against it? Just because you believe something, doesn’t mean it’s true. Answering these questions will help you see things in a more realistic light.

    Tips to Improve your Body Image

    Wear clothes you feel comfortable in

    Dress to express yourself, not to impress others. You should feel good in what you wear.

    Cut labels out of your clothes

    Don’t focus on a number. The size on the tags shouldn't dictate your mood for the day!

    Stay away from the scales

    If your weight needs to be monitored, leave that up to the doctors. How much you weigh should never affect your self-esteem.

    Stay away from fashion magazines

    Unless you can look through these magazines knowing they are purely fantasy, it's just better to stay away from them.

    Do nice things for your body

    Get a massage, a manicure, or a facial. Pamper yourself with a candlelight bath, scented lotion, or a new perfume.

    Adapted from: The Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders
    Self-help for eating disorders: Learning healthy eating habits

    If you’ve been struggling with an eating disorder, chances are you’ve forgotten what healthy eating looks like. But learning and establishing healthy eating habits is an essential step in recovery from anorexia and bulimia.

  • Stick to a regular eating schedule. You may be used to skipping meals or fasting for long stretches. But when you starve yourself, food becomes all you think about. To avoid this preoccupation, make sure to eat every three hours. Plan ahead for meals and snacks, and don’t skip!
  • Challenge your strict eating rules. Strict rules about food and eating fuel anorexia and bulimia, so it’s important to replace them with healthier ones. For example, if you have a rule forbidding all desserts, change it into a less rigid guideline such as, “I won’t eat dessert every day.” You won’t gain weight by enjoying an occasional ice cream or cookie.
  • Don’t diet. Healthy eating – not dieting – is the key to avoiding weight gain. Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t eat, focus on nutritious foods that will energize you and make your body strong. Think of food as fuel for your body. Your body knows when the tank is low, so listen to it. Eat when you’re truly hungry, then stop when you’re full. If you follow these simple guidelines, your body will look and feel its best.

    Developing a plan for healthy eating. Developing a plan for healthy eating

    In order to make a healthy eating plan, you need to know the basics about nutrition. Once you learn what a well-balanced diet looks like, you’ll be able to make healthier choices for yourself.

    Read: Healthy Eating: Tips for a Healthy Diet

    Relapse prevention for anorexia and bulimia

    The work of eating disorder recovery doesn’t end once you’ve adopted healthy habits. It’s important to take steps to maintain your progress and prevent relapse.

  • Develop a solid support system. Surround yourself with people who support you and want to see you healthy and happy. Avoid people that drain your energy, encourage your disordered eating behaviours, or make you feel bad about yourself.
  • Stick with your eating disorder treatment plan. Don’t neglect therapy or other components of your treatment, even if you’re doing better. Listen to the advice of your treatment team and continue to follow their recommendations.
  • Fill your life with positive activities. Make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Try something you’ve always wanted to do, develop a new skill, pick up a fun hobby, or volunteer in your community. The more rewarding your life, the less desire you’ll have to focus on food and weight.
  • Avoid pro-ana and pro-mia websites. Don’t visit websites that promote or glorify anorexia and bulimia. These sites are run by people who want excuses to continue down their destructive path. The “support” they offer is dangerous and will only get in the way of your recovery.
  • Identify your “triggers”. Are you more likely to revert to your old, destructive behaviours during the holidays, exam week, or swimsuit season? Know what your triggers are, and have a plan for dealing with them, such as going to therapy more often or asking for extra support from family and friends.
  • Keep a journal. Writing in a daily journal can help you keep tabs on your thoughts, emotions, and behaviours. If you notice that you’re slipping back into negative patterns, take action immediately.

    Visit Helpguide.org for more information