While on the path to eating disorder recovery, many people often ask themselves or their medical professional whether their disorder can return. Some people wonder about their eating disorder coming back later in life, while others wonder if it can return while on the road to recovery. What you must understand is that recovery is a journey. Like most paths, there are highs and lows, twists and turns, and even possible setbacks, but the important thing is that you keep moving forward with the tools you’ve learned along the way, no matter how slow-going it may feel.
Can an Eating Disorder Return?
Returning eating disorders are typically known as a “relapse.” A relapse occurs when an individual returns to the behaviors that led to eating disorders. While relapses are a relatively common part of the process, it’s important that you get the right help to guide you through the recovery process. From there, you can receive the proper eating disorder treatment to help you gain and, likely revisit the tools you’ve learned to deal with the situations that caused it to transpire in the first place.
Signs of Relapse
Because relapse is an extreme shift in behavioral change based on what you’ve been practicing before, there are a few key signs to note that are present in most individuals. While working with behavioral health experts can help highlight these changes early, it’s also good for you to understand your mind and body and the decisions you’re making as well. Signs of a returning eating disorder include:
- An increase in self-criticism and negative body image
- Changes in eating patterns
- A focus on counting calories or weight loss
- Exacerbation of co-occurring disorders
- Looking back on the eating disorder fondly
- Feeling a need to escape problems or stress
- Weighing yourself more and more
Why Do Relapses Happen?
When an eating disorder develops, the brain becomes fully attached to the feeling of disordered eating behaviors. For many people, these behaviors release chemicals like dopamine that stimulate the brain and call for repeated occurrences of these activities. Over time, this alters the brain’s chemistry, making finding professional help so important.
Because of how complex eating disorders can be, relapses can occur for various reasons. One of the more common causes is psychological triggers. A reemergence of behaviors caused by past triggers can also bring about the behaviors associated with an eating disorder. These causes and stressors vary from person to person, but they are treatable, and you are still on your recovery journey.
Don’t Let a Relapse Define You—Find the Right Support from Aster Springs
For many people, the thought of their eating disorder returning seems scary and stressful, but you don’t have to let it define your rehabilitation progress. Relapses are relatively common and are often a part of recovery. It can shine a light on your progress and give insight into some of your biggest fears and deepest insecurities. Bringing these propositions to light can cleanse your mind and body and get you one step closer to long-lasting change.
But make sure you’re not fighting your eating disorder alone. Professional help from a team like Aster Springs can help ensure that you’re on the right path on your road to recovery. With plenty of proven ways to treat eating disorders, we have everything needed to help people with eating disorders make a full recovery. Contact us today or call Aster Springs at 804-415-7603 for more information on why our eating disorder recovery team is right for you.