While relapse is a sad occurrence, anyone in recovery from an eating disorder should be aware of how to cope with relapse if this does occur. Besides staying consistent with treatment, you can take other steps to avoid experiencing a relapse of eating disorder symptoms.
Eating Disorder Relapse Response Strategies. An American Journal of Psychiatry research study found that women in recovery from anorexia nervosa displayed symptoms of bulimia during relapse. Thus, awareness and unbiased monitoring and assessment from a mental health professional are crucial for appropriate relapse responses.
While individuals in recovery from eating disorders should continue to follow up and have honest communication with a mental health professional, their personal response to an eating disorder relapse is also crucial. Those who experience an eating disorder relapse should take advantage of positive support systems, such as family, friends and mentors. You need not provide them with details that will only worry them; rather, disclose to them how you are really feeling and ask for their continued support.
During a relapse, your thought patterns may revert to the negative, distorted beliefs you held at the start of the recovery process. While you should try to avoid this, it will be important for you to stay consistent with your improved eating habits. If you keep providing your body with needed nutrition, this will boost your brain and body’s strength and let you continue fighting through this relapse period.
Focusing on your own needs during relapse is also a key part of getting the rest and continued recovery you need. This may mean sitting out of certain social gatherings, saying no to taking on extra work responsibilities or choosing to avoid a toxic friend who just causes you stress and triggers unhealthy thinking.
Your self-care during this time is more important than ever, as this could be what stops you from succumbing to a full relapse. Take time for yourself daily and set aside portions of the weekend for rest and relaxation. Time for yourself could be alone time processing your feelings or diving into a beloved hobby. Or, this time may be best spent relaxing with supportive figures who will encourage you.
While assistance and monitoring from mental health professionals can prevent eating disorder relapse, you can take measures to ensure that you keep on track with your recovery tools and maintain your progress. Relying on social supports and continuing to take time for yourself are among the most vital ways to continue to healing from an eating disorder despite experiencing relapse.
Facts Behind Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse. Co-occurring substance use disorders (SUDs) and eating disorders (EDs) can present significant challenges for those seeking treatment and recovery. Over their lifetime, about 29% of people with an ED will experience a co-occurring substance use disorder, with 7% experiencing symptoms from both psychological disorders simultaneously.
Substance use disorder, is a chronic condition characterized by the continued use of licit or illicit substances, resulting in physical and psychological dependence with negative consequences, like health problems, social problems, and difficulties with work or school. Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that involve unhealthy eating behaviors and beliefs around food and body image.
Eating disorders also have grave negative consequences, many of which overlap with those of SUD. Both are serious mental illnesses and can be life-threatening, so strive to seek out support as soon as you can. I am always available to counsel and support you on your journey to overall wellness.