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Stages of Eating Disorder Recovery

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Stages of Eating Disorder Recovery

Tens of millions of Americans will experience an eating disorder or disordered eating at some point in their lives. Because of the psychological and physical impact that an eating disorder can have on a person, it is considered one of the most dangerous mental illnesses. To help protect yourself or someone you love, you must seek disordered eating treatment.

At Red Oak Recovery®, we understand the challenges of eating disorders and disordered eating. We aim to provide a supportive environment to help you heal your relationship with food and body image. Call us today at 866.457.7590 to learn more about the benefits of our disordered eating treatment.

Stages of Disordered Eating Recovery

Similar to grief or addiction, eating disorder recovery involves going through several different stages. It is a process that cannot be rushed, and each stage must be experienced for the best chance of a full and lasting recovery. There are five main stages involved in eating disorder recovery. Awareness of the five stages can help friends and family support their loved ones suffering from an eating disorder.

1. Pre-Contemplation

The first stage is known as pre-contemplation. This is a period in which the sufferer denies that there is a problem with their eating habits. Those close to them may have begun to notice symptoms of an eating disorder. Loved ones may also experience denial or fear of confronting the sufferer about the problem. Those who address the disordered eating may be met with defensiveness or anger at calling out the unhealthy food-related behaviors.

2. Contemplation

Contemplation is the second stage of eating disorder recovery. At this point, the sufferer may begin to accept that they have an eating disorder but are not quite ready for change. Eating disorders can co-occur with a mental health condition and may have provided the sufferer with a way to exert control over something in their life when other areas seem to be out of their power.

3. Preparation

The third stage of eating disorder recovery is preparation. The sufferer has accepted that they have an eating disorder, and they are considering getting help. To prepare for disordered eating treatment, the suffer may begin to explore their feelings around their relationship with food. They may also acknowledge their thoughts around body image and self-worth. Identifying and addressing distorted thoughts can play an essential role in recovering from an eating disorder. Before someone begins to take action and enroll in a disordered eating treatment program, they need to prepare themselves mentally and emotionally. They need to be ready to commit to what can be a long and challenging process.

4. Action

The fourth stage of eating disorder recovery is to take action, and this is where the sufferer begins taking steps toward healing from disordered eating. They will meet with a care team that may consist of a physician, nutritionist, and therapist. Including family members and close friends in the action process can make all the difference in recovery. The person with the eating disorder will need a lot of support and encouragement.

5. Maintenance/Relapse

The fifth and final stage of eating disorder recovery is maintenance/relapse. A person enters into this stage once they have succeeded in the action stage for six months. They have made changes in their eating habits and have incorporated healthy habits into their lives. To prevent relapse, they have developed a plan with their care team and loved ones to help avoid triggers or apply healthy coping skills to help them respond to triggers differently.

Heal From Disordered Eating at Red Oak Recovery®

At Red Oak Recovery®, we realize that recovering from disordered eating can be a lengthy and challenging process. Our eating disorder treatment guides you by exploring your relationship with food and body image to help you develop a healthier mindset. We provide a range of therapeutic options, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy

To release yourself from your struggle with food and self-image, call us today at 866.457.7590.