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The recovery process of eating disorders

There is a chance for everyone with an eating disorder to recover from the illness. With early and appropriate treatment, the chance of recovery is high. A considerable percentage of people can recover completely though it can take a long time. Some people may continue to have mild symptoms while others develop chronic eating disorders. About 6% to 10% of people with anorexia nervosa will die of the illness (Kohn & Golden, 2001). People with bulimia nervosa have a comparatively lower mortality rate.

Recovery can only begin in sufferers who choose to get well and attempt to gain control over their lives and illness. Recovery is not just about maintaining a normal body weight but also freeing themselves from the constant thought of food, eating and weight. Setbacks can occur in people recovering from eating disorders, such as having excessive exercise or restricting food intake for a day or two. This should be regarded as a normal part in the recovery process. Setbacks can be overcome by helping an individual to recognize the triggers and learn how to deal with them. Continuous support and encouragement are necessary despite the cessation of the eating disordered symptoms.

Indicators of recovery from eating disorders can include:

  • normalized eating
  • restoration of menstruation in female
  • showing an active attempt to restore weight
  • accepting responsibilities for making recovery
  • improved self-esteem
  • accepting one's figure and image
  • learning to accept one's imperfection and others
  • reducing the fear of gaining weight
  • improved trust in oneself and others
  • taking pleasure in everyday activities, friendships and relationships
  • learning healthier ways to interact with people and family members
  • more effective communication skills
  • healthier ways of dealing with stress
  • better skills for coping with anxiety and depression
  • better ability to recognize and express feelings
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