Working on Preventing an Eating Disorder Relapse

Treatment isn’t a cure-all for eating disorders. It provides the tools that individuals living with eating disorders need to establish healthy lifestyles, adjust negative thought patterns, and tune behaviors. However, people in eating disorder treatment need to understand that treatment only provides the tools – it doesn’t erase the work that’s needed beyond treatment to establish a healthy life of mental well-being. That’s why it’s so important for people in eating disorder treatment to learn about and implement methods to prevent eating disorder relapse. 

 

The Need for Relapse Prevention During Eating Disorder Treatment

Unfortunately, many people who get professional help for eating disorders through treatment do end up relapsing. Relapse is when a person who’s struggling with a mental health issue, like an eating disorder, reverts to self-harmful behaviors that were portrayed before treatment began. Thus, bringing the dangers of eating disorders back into the lives of people who have completed treatment. 

Unfortunately, relapse is very common for people who get help for eating disorders through treatment. According to research published by the National Library of Medicine, people who receive treatment for Anorexia Nervosa experience relapse at a rate between 35 and 41% in 18 months before treatment. Due to the severe risk of relapse after eating disorder treatment, there is an identifiable need to incorporate relapse prevention education and strategies within treatment in order to provide people with the tools they need to maintain active recovery. 

 

Some of the things people can learn during treatment in order to reduce the risk of relapse can include: 

 

Learning to Pinpoint Relapse Triggers

Relapse triggers are anything that can lead to a spiraling of behaviors that can lead to relapse. Different people in eating disorder recovery will have different relapse triggers as these are determined by different factors including diagnosed eating disorders, history, concurring mental health issues, symptoms, and more. Being able to identify what may trigger a relapse in one’s own life can help a person avoid relapse triggers. Certain triggers can include social situations, social media, conversations about weight and dieting, etc. Once triggers are identified, individuals can utilize relapse coping strategies in order to overcome triggers and avoid them if possible. 

 

Creating and Maintaining a Support System

Support is crucial for people in recovery from mental health issues including eating disorders. Having people to count on as a listening ear or for advice can be extremely helpful in times when recovery is in jeopardy. For example, if a person is dealing with a relapse trigger, they can reach out to their supportive network in order to gain perspective, motivation, comfort, and support. Support can come from peers that you meet in treatment, therapists, friends, family, and anyone else who is encouraging of your recovery journey. 

 

Take Care of Yourself

Self-care can be a great asset for preventing relapse. When we take care of our mental health by participating in self-care activities, we are more likely to be able to overcome relapse triggers that we face. Some examples of self-care include meditation, getting out into nature, exercising, eating nutritious foods, yoga, mindfulness practices, journaling, and breathing exercises. 

 

Getting Treatment for Eating Disorders After a Relapse

Are you struggling with slipping back into disordered eating patterns? If so, Lotus Healing can help. We offer outpatient services for people struggling with eating disorders. Find out about our outpatient services from our website today. 

 

How To Avoid An Eating Disorder Relapse

Dr. Dixie Brown is a PhD level Therapist, Integrative Medicine Practitioner, and Nutritionist with 15 years of experience working in Mental Health, specifically with trauma, eating disorders, and substance use.

Dixie Brown

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Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.

Lotus Healing helps substance use and mental health providers, foundations, organizations and healthcare companies address urgent healthcare challenges that impact their ability to provide high quality healthcare to vulnerable populations by prioritizing organizational leadership, structure, education and research and commitment to improved organizational wellbeing.