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Understanding Recovery

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Recovery is different for everyone

Recovery from an eating disorder involves overcoming physical, mental and emotional barriers in order to restore normal eating habits, thoughts and behaviours. It is important to acknowledge that recovery is different for everyone.

For many people, recovery from an eating disorder signifies an end to eating disorder attitudes and behaviours and the development of a healthier physical and psychological state of being. This can include returning to social activities, discovering a sense of purpose and integrating back into daily life.

There is no set time for recovery and it is not uncommon for the process to slow down, come to a halt completely or encounter relapses. The pace of each person’s recovery will depend on the Person-Centred treatments and the support they receive.

While this may seem frustrating, it can help to remember that with recovery as the ultimate goal, even the setbacks can be a valuable part of the journey. With the appropriate treatment and a high level of personal commitment, recovery from an eating disorder is achievable.

Evidence also shows that the sooner you start treatment for an eating disorder, the shorter the recovery process will be.

Tips to support a healthy recovery

Focusing on the process of recovery may be a helpful technique to employ, since the end goal of recovery can often seem stressful or unattainable. Many people who have recovered from eating disorders have identified the following themes, which have helped them manage and learn from the recovery process:

  • Support – Feeling supported by those around you will help your treatment and recovery. A circle of support will also decrease the isolation often experienced by people with eating disorders
  • Hope and motivation – Having a strong sense of hope coupled with the motivation to change eating disorder behaviours is the foundation of recovery
  • Healthy self-esteem – Remembering that you are worthwhile will remind you that recovery is worthwhile too
  • Understanding and expressing your emotions – It is normal for a person with an eating disorder to feel a range of emotions and it is helpful to acknowledge and express feelings
  • Acknowledging set-backs – With the focus on recovery, even taking a step backwards can still be making progress
  • Coping strategies – Developing a list of coping strategies that calm you down and help you regulate your emotions can help you during stressful or triggering situations
  • Engaging in activities and interests – Revisiting the things you enjoyed before the development of your eating disorder will build self-esteem and reconnect you with the world around you. For example, if you used to enjoy drawing, taking a pencil and pad to your favourite place can be a helpful and enjoyable experience

To find help in your local area search for Support Organisations  or for more information on recovery contact the Nartional Helpline on 1800 334 673.


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The National Helpline provides free, confidential support for anyone.

phone now national support line  Phone 1800 33 4673.

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