5 Eating Disorder Recovery Relapse Prevention Tips

5 Eating Disorder Recovery Relapse Prevention Tips

Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are complicated conditions that frequently require a considerable amount of time for treatment. The recovery process for people with eating disorders is as individualized as the people themselves; everyone’s journey is different. For some, recovering from an eating disorder can take years, while for others, it may only take a short amount of time.

One thing that is fairly common amongst people in recovery from an eating disorder is that relapse often plays part in their recovery. While relapse is common, there are some strategies that can be put into place that can help those in recovery avoid returning to old behaviors.

5 Tips for Avoiding Eating Disorder Relapse

Have a support system – Recovery from an eating disorder is a process – it takes time. You may not always be in a position where you need a higher level of treatment, but it is important to always surround yourself with support during your recovery. This may be a group of your peers, like support groups or meetings, or a mentor that you meet with for accountability, or a therapist or dietician. Having a support system that is already in place is vital because when you are feeling vulnerable or having a difficult time, it is already established and will be easier to reach out to.

Know your triggers – As you work through your eating disorder recovery, coming to understand your triggers and how to cope with them is crucial. There will likely be situations, feelings, reminders, and such that may make you feel like returning to your eating disorder behavior. These are normal and are not necessarily bad – when you use them to learn to deal in a healthy manner.

Develop healthy coping skills – When you are able to identify your triggers, you will need to learn to cope with them in appropriate ways. If you go to treatment for your eating disorder, you will likely learn some healthy coping skills, or you can talk with a therapist to determine which techniques might work best for you.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help – When you are in any type of recovery, eating disorders included, it’s important that you learn how to ask for help when you need it. Part of this involves being able to identify when you are struggling. Eating disorders are typically characterized by a desire or need to isolate, so it’s easy to stay quiet and not ask for help. So, being aware when you are struggling and being prepared to ask for help will help you when the time comes that you need it.

Celebrate victories –  It’s good for you to remember where you have come from and how far you have come in your recovery. Celebrating milestones in eating disorder recovery helps you to recognize your progress and keeps you motivated about your recovery. Learn to pay attention to wins that are significant for you, whether it’s sticking to your meal plan, connecting with a support person or group, identifying triggers or urges, eating a challenging food, etc.

Avoiding Relapse with Planned Techniques

All of the above tips for preventing relapse in eating disorder recovery require some planning ahead, so that when something difficult comes up, you are ready for it. Always keep in mind that if you do relapse, it doesn’t mean that your recovery has failed, it just means that you need to get back on your recovery path and practice the above tips.  

If you are struggling with an eating disorder, Summit Behavioral Health can help you. Contact us today to get started on the road to recovery.

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