If you’ve recovered from an eating disorder, relapse is a major factor and can happen to anyone. It can be very difficult to see when your recovery starts to slip. Falling back into an eating disorder can happen little by little and before you know it, can take you back into having the same eating disorder struggles you once had.
In this post, we are going to highlight 5 signs that an disorder is coming back.
1. You’re eating in secret or away from your family
One sign that your disorder may be coming back is that you start to eat in secret or away from your family. Eating disorders have a nasty tendency to separate patients from their family and loved ones. An eating disorder separates you from your support networking. It also happens on a small scale because the food patients with eating disorders eat are different than everyone else. This can happen when you’re bingeing food alone or just that your food is different.
Those with an disorder want to be away from thelr loved ones often because of shame and to avoid scrutiny. If you are finding yourself eating meals prepared by your loved ones, you’re finding yourself needing your own special foods, or that you need to go purchase your own special binge eating foods to eat alone, this is a strong indicator that you may be falling back into your disorder.
2. You start to Increase Your Distaste for Your Own Body Image
Another sign that your disorder may be coming back is that you have an increase in negative body image towards yourself. This is probably the most common symptom that you’re falling back into your eating disorder. Generally this is the last symptom to go away in recovery and the first to come back. Typically you dislike your body even more when you first start recovering because of the changes you start seeing.
While certain extents of negative body image are common in our culture, people without disorders generally feel discontent but move on quickly from having these thoughts. However, those with eating disorders are affected much more severely by negative body image. Negative body image must be taken extremely serious because it’s a sign that your disorder is coming back.
3. You Start Obsessing About the Thought of Food or Eating Food
The final sign that your disorder may be coming back is that you start increasingly becoming obsessed with food or the thought of food. Whether you overeat or undereat, food is a massive thought for a patient struggling with an eating disorder. When someone has recovered from an eating disorder, food takes a natural place in their life. While food may be a source of joy, it is often not thought about between meals. However, when you notice that your thoughts towards foods start to increase, you may risk falling back into your eating disorder.
Avoid Falling Back Into Your Disorder
If you relate to any of the three above warning signs that you may be falling back into an eating disorder, you’re not alone.
I’m Dr. Amy Boyers, a Clinical Psychologist in Miami who specializes in eating disorder treatment, both in person and remote eating disorder treatment. I also help patients with long-term conditions such as addictions, bipolar disorder, OCD, depression, and anxiety. Please reach out to me if you’re struggling with your eating disorder or feel that you’re beginning to fall back into your eating disorder. I look forward to helping you obtain a brighter tomorrow.