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Returning To Eating Disorder Treatment

By: Megan Brown, LMHC, Admissions Coordinator at The Renfrew Center of Massachusetts

Posted on October 08, 2018

Not everyone who seeks treatment for an eating disorder does so only once. As illnesses, eating disorders are multi-faceted and complicated, so treatment and recovery is also complex.

Returning to treatment can be hard, but vital to the recovery process. Perhaps you're feeling shame that you've relapsed or continue to struggle. Maybe you believe that the need for additional support cancels out your previous hard work and success in recovery. It makes sense that you may have these thoughts or feelings and you can't remove your previous experiences. All you can do is add, and because of that the person you were originally in treatment is still there to share her wisdom with you. You are the sum of all of the moments in your life and that means what you've done previously in treatment continues to matter.

Recovery is not a straight line —sometimes you'll have to go backwards or sideways or diagonally to feel like you're moving forward. Think about the experience of recovering from an eating disorder like being in a hedge maze. The walls are high and you don't know where exactly the exit is, but you know that recover is there somewhere. There will be times that you'll hit a dead end and need to find a new way. That doesn't mean that you're back at the beginning of the maze. You still have all of the knowledge that you gained while you navigated through the labyrinth.

Asking for help is one of the hardest, but most critical first steps in fighting back against the eating disorder. Know that support is out there and that you can be your best ally in seeking and accepting it.


Meghan Brown, LMHC, is an Admissions Coordinator at The Renfrew Center of Massachusetts. She received her bachelor's degree from The College of William and Mary where she engaged in research on body image improvement and eating disorder prevention in college-aged women. Meghan obtained her master's degree in Mental Health Counseling and Behavioral Medicine from Boston University where she trained to work with adolescents and adults in IOP, PHP, residential, and inpatient programs. Meghan has worked with individuals and families at all levels of care, and is passionate about client advocacy and eating disorder prevention.
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