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How to Prevent Relapse in Recovery from Anorexia


Recovery from anorexia is possible, albeit difficult.

It is a process that can take months or even years, but in the end leads to a full and happy life free from thoughts and behaviors of anorexia. Relapse is often a step in this difficult process of recovery but should never be taken as failure.

Signs of Relapse

You might be experiencing a relapse if your thoughts continue to turn to food, dieting or weight. Other signs of relapse include being dishonest about treatment or behaviors, feeling as though there is no outlet for stress, feeling hopeless, perceiving yourself as fat, skipping meals and isolating yourself.

Because a patient may not recognize a relapse, it is important to detect signs of relapse in others. A friend or loved one may be experiencing a relapse if they move toward another dependency like alcohol, often suffer from sleeplessness or seem tired, lie about food related behavior or become sensitive when discussing anorexia.

Keep Calm

If you suspect that you may be experiencing a relapse, it is important to stay calm and contact a professional immediately. Remember that relapse does not mean failure, and that you have been through this before and can overcome it again.

It is vital to focus on creating a positive environment built on trust and respect with yourself and others. Relapse is a normal step in recovery from an eating disorder and important to acknowledge.

How to Prevent Relapse

There are a number of ways to prevent relapse including seeking help from a professional, developing self-acceptance, fostering a positive internal dialogue, and having a relapse-prevention or correction plan.

Additionally, it is important for recovering anorexics to look forward to something. Watching a regular TV show or learning to play an instrument creates a break from the daily routine of life and can promote a healthy lifestyle, therein fostering a positive environment for recovery.

Source: National Eating Disorders Association