There are many different opinions about the use of medications in recovery from an eating disorder. Here, I present only my opinion based on my own experience and what I have seen of other’s experiences. When I was in treatment there were a few medications that my psychiatrist recommended to just about everyone. Your eating disorder may tell you that medication is weakness and that you are better and stronger, or perhaps even that you deserve the pain you are experiencing. You do not need your eating disorder to be strong and medication is not weakness, it is being brave enough to accept that you need help and strong enough to accept it.
Anti-Depressants – These are the most contested medications when it comes to recovery. Often people do not want to take these medications because they fear they will need to take them forever. People can sometimes be very resistant to taking these medications however it is my opinion that they can be incredibly helpful. Taking anti-depressants while in recovery doesn’t mean you will need to take them forever, they are only a tool to help you overcome some of the darkest days. They give you a boost and make you more able to fight with your full strength. I have seen people only need to take them for a year or 2. In my own experience, anti-depressants have changed my life and I have seen it change the lives of my friends. I am currently taking an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety medication which I will likely be taking for a while.
Digestion Aids – These are extremely helpful in the early days of recovery from an eating disorder. My psychiatrist recommended something called Motilium which helps the stomach digest food faster, decreasing sensations of fullness, easing bloating and general discomfort. When restricting intake sometimes your stomach shrinks and isn’t as capable of digestion. When your digestive system is out of practice this medication helps the muscles contract and gets them working properly again. This medication is usually only necessary for 2 weeks or so.
Anti-Acids – These are HEAVEN SENT! I have taken so much Gaviscon in the last 2 years I might as well have invested in the company! The liquid works best but the chewable tabs are great for at work, in your locker or in your purse. In the early stages of recovery there is a lot of acid buildup and acid reflux. This is incredibly triggering, especially if you have had purging symptoms in the past. I know personally my eating disorder demanded that I sit through my misery and endure the discomfort, all the while demanding that if I just gave in and purged everything would be ok again. Don’t sit in your pain, do yourself a favor and take something to ease the pain.
Sleeping Aids – There were sometimes prescribed in order to help people sleep through their anxiety. In the early stages of recovery there is an incredible amount of anxiety. In order to be emotionally and mentally strong enough to face each day, you need to be able to sleep. If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Fiber Supplements – These can make digestion much more comfortable while your body adjusts to eating normally again. Be cautious of laxatives and laxative supplements, especially if you have abused these in the past. Try gentle aids like Metimucil or Normacol to regulate things, if you think these will be a problem or create any issues a simple stool softener should be a gentler way to get everything moving.