Did you know that up to 41% of people recovering from an eating disorder relapse within 18 months? Eating disorders are tricky to treat because, unlike drug or alcohol addiction, you can't avoid the substance. Food is everywhere, and it is necessary for life.
There are so many roadblocks to recovery; it's no wonder that the relapse rates are so high. Understanding what challenges you will face during your eating disorder recovery ahead of time will help you prepare to face them when they come up. In order to help prepare you, I've put together this guide about the common roadblocks to recovery and how you can overcome them.
Read on to learn how to stay the course, even when the going gets tough!
Unhealthy Coping Skills
An eating disorder is often comorbid with other mental health disorders like OCD, depression, and anxiety. The eating disorder itself ends up becoming a coping mechanism for these underlying aspects.
For example, when some patients with anorexia feel their life is out of control, they regain control by restricting the food they eat. In this way, the disorder represents an unhealthy coping mechanism for the difficulties of day-to-day life.
Easily the most common of the recovery roadblocks is stress. When you feel stress or anxiety, you might be tempted to cope with restriction, binging, or purging behaviors.
You can learn to cope with your stress and depression in a healthy way through therapy, yoga, meditation, or whatever works for you! That way, when something goes wrong or you feel overwhelmed, you have something positive to fall back on. This is an ongoing process, which is why continued, individualized coaching is recommended during recovery.
Your well-intentioned loved ones might inadvertently set off your eating disorder habits. While they don't mean to cause you harm, their food policing, constant vigilance, and comments on your physique can rub you the wrong way. This is one of the biggest challenges during recovery, as it's not something you can always control.
It's difficult to put yourself in the headspace of someone with an eating disorder if you've never been there yourself. They might think that managing your meals and telling you that you look healthy is helpful!
It's okay to ask for the help you need and decline the help you don't. Gently ask your loved ones to avoid certain phrases and behaviors. Reassure them with the fact that you know they're trying to help, but follow it up with a request for them to avoid sensitive subjects.
Restoring a Positive Self-Image
One of the main causes of body dysmorphia and eating disorders is a negative self-image and poor self-esteem. Learning how to regain confidence and love yourself again is a difficult prospect when innate negativity has taken over your daily routine.
This is one of the biggest eating disorder recovery challenges, as it involves shifting the mental paradigms that you relied on for so long.
There's no one size fits all plan for rehabbing your self-image. Begin by practicing positive affirmations and writing the things down that you love about yourself. Try to think beyond the physical, and definitely don't focus on your weight.
Pick up a new hobby that appeals to you and experience self-love through your success and growth as a person! Practice self-care, and take time to do the things that you want to do, in order to learn how to love the life you're in.
Experience a Holistic Eating Disorder Recovery
A complete eating disorder recovery is not just about fixing your diet. It's about fixing the underlying mental state that leads to this distorted perception of yourself. It's about restoring your confidence, your self-esteem, and your ability to roll with life's punches.
It can be difficult to know how to start by yourself, so start with me, Marissa Mitchell, here with RecoverED Now. I offer comprehensive one-on-one counseling and treatment programs that can be done online. Check out my programs and improve your life today!