Most people who suffer with an eating disorder need more intensive support such as 1;1 or group work or a course of group or individualised therapy. However for those who are waiting for these options, for people who are trying to maintain recovery or for those who are trying to assess whether or not they need help with their eating difficulties, self-help materials may be helpful.
Self-help options can be useful tools to help you work on your eating difficulties, as well as helping you to explore your knowledge and understanding about yourself and your eating disorder. Many individuals find self-help useful, particularly when used alongside other therapies or when someone can help to guide you through the process – a practice nurse at your GP surgery, or a friend or relative. Self-help can also be used as an interim measure when waiting for treatment or if you are experiencing a relapse and need support to get ‘back on track’.
There are many self-help books available - come and browse in our Library at SYEDA where we have reference copies of the main books as well as copies of many different books to be borrowed. We also have a comprehensive book list, with short reviews too to help you choose the book that’s best for you. Self-help books have different styles and approaches, so it’s worth looking at a few until you find one you 'click' with. It is also worth bearing in mind that a book, however well thought out it may be, may not be solely sufficient in helping you and there may need to be support coming from other areas. Everything will depend on how you use the book and it will take time, each journey is unique to the individual.
Useful websites and resources
BEAT (UK’s leading charity supporting anyone affected by eating disorders)
The B-eat website (www.b-eat.co.uk) has a very comprehensive book list as well as information about eating disorders and support and encouragement to seek treatment and recovery
National eating disorders guidance and advice to improve health and social care and recommendations for treatment.
This website includes a ‘Consumers’ section that has resources and printable workbooks to read and fill out on topics ranging from improving self-esteem, overcoming disordered eating and improving assertiveness.
A website for sufferers and clinicians which provides Cognitive Behavioural Therapy based self-help resources including worksheets, leaflets and MP3 downloads.
Mindfulness can be a really useful self-help tool. Books such as “Mindfulness; A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world” ( Mark Williams and Danny Penman) can be very helpful (it has a CD included to guide you through some mindfulness practices). Mindfulness is a skill that can take some time to develop. You might want to try an 8 week mindfulness course - http://bemindful.co.uk has a directory of courses. Or there are apps such as Headspace which you can use to see if mindfulness is helpful for you.