Secondary prevention interventions aim to lower the severity and duration of an eating disorder in a person who already has the illness.
There is considerable overlap between indicated prevention and secondary prevention, with both methods sharing various aims and targeting similar groups.
Secondary prevention is achieved through early intervention, including early detection and early treatment. These interventions can occur at any stage of life, from childhood to older age. The distinguishing feature of secondary prevention is that intervention occurs once the eating disorder has commenced.
At this stage of an eating disorder, secondary interventions emphasise that eating disorders are highly treatable, very common and a normal progression from disordered eating behaviour.
These attempts to normalise the person’s behaviours are intended to encourage a person in the early stage of an eating disorder to seek help.
Tertiary prevention is utilised in regards to those who have been experiencing an eating disorder for some time.
Tertiary prevention aims to reduce the impact of an eating disorder on a person’s life through approaches such as rehabilitation and relapse prevention. It also includes actions to ensure people have access to support within the community, such as being employed and maintaining social interactions.
Preventing Eating Disorders
‘Prevention’ refers to specific programs or interventions designed to reduce risk factors, enhance protective factors and ultimately stop the increasing rate of eating disorders in our society. Early diagnosis, prevention programs and appropriate cost-effective treatments have proven to greatly reduce the impact of an eating disorder.
Primary prevention interventions aim to prevent the onset or development of an eating disorder and may be universal, selective or indicated. While the aims of all these interventions can vary slightly, they do share common goals that are focused on enhancing the prevention of eating disorders in general.
In our society, a large percentage of young women and men engage in disordered eating behaviour. Disordered eating behaviours develop in response to high levels of body dissatisfaction and weight concerns and can lead to serious physical, psychological and social problems.
Everyday we are bombarded with perfect, manipulated, filtered and digitally enhanced images. One of the risks of this intense exposure to media is the pressure felt by many to adhere to these ideals of beauty and appearance.