Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Director of Content and Social Media at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope
Recovering from an eating disorder is an ongoing process, one that really spans a lifetime.
Because eating disorders are chronic brain-based illnesses, maintaining recovery requires constant vigilance and proactive effort to sustain recovery for the long term.
An important aspect of maintaining recovery for the long term also involves having a realistic understanding of what may be involved in the journey and embracing a perception of vigilance for ongoing hope and healing.
The Process of Recovery
When analyzing recovery from an eating disorder, many individuals may focus solely on the resolution of obvious behaviors and symptoms, such as restricting, binging and purging, restoring adequate weight, etc. However, just because a person with an eating disorder is not longer engaging in these types of behaviors does not indicate that they have fully recovered from an eating disorder.
While remission from an eating disorder can be characterized by the cessation of these types of behaviors, a person can continue to be susceptible to other aspects of an eating disorder, such as poor body image, low self-esteem and so forth.
Even after ongoing years of recovery, an individual recovering from an eating disorder may experience a relapse, which can involve a return to eating disorder behaviors after a period of abstinence. A relapse can be a short stint or prolonged period of engaging in the behaviors that were once associated with the eating disorder.
Finding Hope in Recovery
How can someone continue to sustain a positive outlook in recovery for the long term, especially if recovery is an ongoing and lifelong process? It is often said that “The worst day in recovery is better than the best day in an eating disorder”, meaning that recovery is the answer to living life fully and completely, unhindered by a debilitating eating disorder. Yes, the journey is not easy, and yes, there will undoubtedly be challenges and difficult obstacles along the way.
Recovery is by no means a perfect process, nor should there be expectations for such. Even the messy parts, like relapse episodes, allow an individual in recovery to learn, grow, and be strengthened in their own resolve to continue fighting for what they know will sustain their life and health.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What gives you hope for recovery in the long-term?
About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.
As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 9, 2016
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com