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Signs of Relapse

Navigating recovery with your loved one can be confusing. You may not be sure what to say, where to turn, or how to act as your loved one moves away from her eating disorder and towards recovery. We've created this page especially for family and friends so that you have a place to feel supported.

Recovery is a process; it is made upon many successes and setbacks. And, while these setbacks and struggles are normal and to be expected, it is important to be on the lookout for signs of relapse.

What is Relapse and When Does it Occur
Relapse is the return of symptoms after a symptom-free period. It can occur by periods of change (changing schools, jobs or careers); life-cycle changes (marriage, pregnancy, or death of a loved-one), seasonal changes or physical changes.

What are Some Indicators of Relapse
  • You notice that your loved one has started to isolate more often and she seems to be keeping something from you.

  • There is evidence to support that old symptoms have returned, such as weight loss, signs of vomit in the bathroom, decreased energy, presence of laxatives, etc.

  • Your loved one seems to be more obsessive and rigid with their food and she avoids events where food is involved.

  • She has terminated therapy with her therapist, dietitian, or psychiatrist against the wishes of her treatment team.