Seeking treatment and recovering from an eating disorder like anorexia takes work. Avoiding a relapse can be even more challenging. It takes commitment and learning how to recognize what triggers could hinder your recovery. For some, full recovery can take years, and for others, it can happen quickly. In either scenario, the risk of relapse exists, and getting help at an eating disorder treatment center like Crossroads can help. If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, please reach out to our women’s eating disorder treatment center at 877.978.1667 today.
Identifying Signs of Relapse
Relapse occurs when someone recovering from an eating disorder returns to their unhealthy eating habits and behaviors centered around food, weight, and body image. Of course, relapse can look different for each person depending on where you are in your recovery and what behaviors your eating disorder involved. By recognizing potential signs of relapse, you can help yourself or someone else to avoid returning to an eating disorder’s destructive patterns.
Signs of an eating disorder relapse can include:
- Prolonged isolation
- Obsessing over daily weight
- Disguising weight loss or gain
- Skipping meals
- Avoiding social situations that revolve around food
- Excessive exercise
- Inability to deal with stress
- The need to control every situation
The support of a mental health professional is an essential key to preventing relapse. If you are concerned that you or someone you care about are at risk, seek help right away. This step is even more critical while you are in the early part of recovery, when you may be most vulnerable.
Tips For Avoiding a Relapse
There are several things you can do to help avoid a relapse. While nothing is foolproof, having a plan and the proper support in place will lessen your chances of falling into old patterns.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need it because you do. Even more important is that you utilize that support network. The people who can love, support, and encourage you will be integral to keeping you on the right path. Family, friends, and healthcare professionals can help you when you are struggling, so lean on them when you need the support.
Eliminate Potential Triggers
Identifying the negative influences in your life and figuring out the best way to avoid them will keep you focused on what’s important – your recovery. Destructive thoughts, toxic people, or negative experiences can be triggers that cause you to go back to eating disorder behaviors. If you’re not sure what your triggers are, think back to what has made you act on your urges in the past.
Make a Plan
Once you’ve thought about what your potential triggers could be, list them out so you know what could cause you to act on your past eating disorder urges. Based on your list, plan how to deal with each of these triggers to avoid a relapse. Find constructive ways to distract yourself, like calling on friends or family for a visit or an outing, reading a book, journaling, or simply getting outside and going for a walk.
Create a Healthy Eating Routine
A schedule can make food more of a routine than an obsession. Try planning your meals and snacks out ahead of time for your day or even your weeks. By sticking to a plan with regular meal and snack times, you’ll avoid falling back into disordered eating patterns and potential relapse. Involve family and friends from your support network. For instance, try inviting them to join you for meals, so eating becomes even more of a positive experience.
Keep Busy and Make Time for Yourself
Find a hobby you can enjoy and make sure it makes you feel good. Activities shouldn’t be a chore. Give back to your community by volunteering, joining a club, or finding time to meditate and reflect. There’s no shortage of things you can do for yourself, so get out there and use your time wisely to avoid old habits.
Learn More About Eating Disorder Treatment at Crossroads
Without the proper treatment, an eating disorder like anorexia can result in relapse just as easily as a substance abuse addiction can. At Crossroads, we provide a home away from home for women to receive the treatment and education they need to overcome an eating disorder. This means treating women as a whole to support their mental, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.
The Crossroads treatment team works with each individual to treat symptoms and identify and address underlying issues. We believe in the value of developing a strong support system to assist with avoiding relapse and achieving lifelong recovery. Learn more at Crossroads by calling 877.978.1667.