Preparing to avoid or overcome relapse is an important part of an effective comprehensive eating disorder treatment program. Eating disorder treatment at Timberline Knolls provides women with the skills and support they need to ensure that short-term setbacks don’t become long-term problems.
Relapse & Recovery from Eating Disorders
The road to lifelong eating disorder recovery
When you’re preparing to enter an eating disorder treatment program, one of the last things you want to think about is relapse.
When you choose Timberline Knolls, you’ll have the opportunity to focus on regaining your health and developing a solid foothold in early recovery. At the same time, you’ll be developing skills that will prepare you to deal with challenges that may occur months or even years later.
During the early days of your time in our eating disorder treatment program, you’ll learn about triggers, develop a healthier relationship with food, build your confidence and self-esteem, and make other positive changes.
Identifying and understanding triggers is an important part of eating disorder treatment. As you develop greater insights into what events or experiences may have contributed to the development of your eating disorder, you’ll become better prepared to avoid or deal with these obstacles in the future.
While you’re focused on making today better than yesterday, the members of your treatment team will also have an eye on tomorrow – and all the tomorrows that follow. They’ll help you hone your newly developed skills, master the information that you’re gaining about your eating disorder, and reacquaint yourself with your inherent strengths and capabilities.
As you near the end of your time in our residential eating disorder treatment program, you’ll review the detailed discharge plan that will guide the post-treatment phase of your recovery.
This discharge plan will be customized according to your needs and the progress that you made while in treatment. Depending upon those factors, your plan may include referrals to a step-down program or traditional outpatient therapy, connections with community-based support services, and details about other resources that will empower you to continue on a healthier path.
Your time in treatment with us and your discharge plan will also enhance your ability to prevent relapse, or to respond in the most productive manner if you find yourself slipping back into self-defeating behaviors.
Why People Struggle with Eating Disorder Relapse
Learn what puts people at risk for eating disorder relapse
In the context of eating disorders, relapse refers to a return to unhealthy eating habits and related problematic behaviors. The specific behaviors that constitute relapse can vary depending upon a variety of personal factors, including the type of eating disorder that a person originally struggled with.
Many girls and women who develop eating disorders first engaged in restrictive or otherwise unhealthy behaviors as a means of coping with stress, responding to trauma, or exerting control in a world that felt beyond their power to influence.
Part of comprehensive treatment for eating disorders at Timberline Knolls is helping you to understand the factors that contributed to your eating disorder, and to develop healthier coping strategies. Unfortunately, some women and girls who are recovering from eating disorders encounter stresses or pressures that overwhelm their ability to respond in a healthy manner, and they find themselves reverting to disordered eating habits.
Just as eating disorders develop and progress in unique ways for each person, so too can relapse risks be different for each individual. During treatment, you’ll identify your specific risk factors and learn how to prepare yourself to respond in the healthiest way possible.
How to Prevent Eating Disorder Relapse
Discover how you can prevent eating disorder relapse
Preventing eating disorder relapse involves several elements. You have to understand your triggers, develop appropriate response strategies, make the necessary lifestyle changes, establish a functional personal support network, and remain vigilant regarding your self-care practices. You also need to know when to reach out for additional help.
Successful eating disorder treatment doesn’t mean that you won’t ever encounter challenges or face an increased risk of relapse. Instead, a more productive way of defining a successful eating disorder treatment experience is that it prepares you to respond to challenges, heightened risk factors, and even temporary setbacks in the healthiest and most positive ways.
For some women and girls, scheduling additional outpatient therapy sessions or increasing their attendance at eating disorder support group meetings can help them prevent relapse. In other cases, returning to treatment at the residential, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient level may be called for.
What’s most important is resisting the urge to think of struggles or setbacks as failures. This mindset can cause a temporary difficulty to turn into a long-term problem.
If you find yourself struggling to maintain your recovery, or if you’ve begun to re-engage in disordered eating habits, positive steps include assessing the situation, identifying your negative emotions or behaviors, and determining what corrections you need to make to get back on the right path.
There is no shame in asking for help, either from your personal support network or from a source of professional treatment. In fact, your ability to seek assistance is a sign of strength, courage, and confidence.
To learn more about preventing or responding to eating disorder relapse, or for answers to any other questions you may have about eating disorder treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact Timberline Knolls. A friendly and knowledgeable member of our team is available to speak with you 24/7. We look forward to providing you with the information that you need to make the best decisions for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.