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The Challenge Of Relapse Prevention In Eating Disorders

How do you prevent a relapse for an eating disorder?

Food is a choice everyone has to make throughout the day every day. Unlike drugs and alcohol, there is no option to “not pick up no matter what”. Recovering from an eating disorder requires eating differently, thinking differently, and living life in a different way. Through treatment for eating disorders, we learn how to regard our bodies and minds with compassion. Therapy, physical activity, meetings, and meditation are all tools we pick up in order to live a healthy lifestyle without abusing ourselves through harmful behaviors. Like any recovery program, we are prone to slip up on our practice. Cutting a few extra calories from our meal plan might seem innocent when we are struggling with uncomfortable feelings of poor self-esteem. Taking therapy time as “self-care” time and missing an appointment can become an easily repeated pattern. These small changes can seem harmless. Recovery is not meant to be rigid without a margin for error. However, the flexibility can only go so far until it has a negative effect. Eating disorders live in the part of the brain which create habits. Habits are one of the most difficult psychological processes to change. Once a new habit starts leaning toward an old habit, it can quickly change. Old thoughts and voices can come creeping in, encouraging dangerous behaviors, critical observations, and more. Though we live in a world that obsesses about diet, exercise, food and body regularly, it can be life threatening for someone recovering from an eating disorder to go there.

During the early recovery months, it is important to stick to routine, including diet and exercise plans, as well as treatment plans. Stay honest about your experiences with challenging thoughts and moments. We are likely never the only one who is struggling with recovery. If the pressure of an eating disorder comes on too strong, make sure to reach out to someone immediately. We are equipped with a lot of tools to help ourselves, but sometimes the most powerful tool is asking for someone else’s help.

Recovering from eating disorders is absolutely achievable. One day, the voices will get quiet and the choices will become easy. Time, work, and dedication are required. You can find the support and encouragement you need with Enlightened Solutions. Our day treatment programs provide care for eating disorders and co-occurring mental health or substance use disorders. For information on our holistic method of healing, contact us.

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