Relapse and recurrence
Relapse can be a common part of the recovery process.
How likely is a relapse?
- The amount of time the person has been living with the eating disorder; the longer the duration of the illness, the higher the chances of relapse
- The age of the person at the onset of their eating disorder; the older the person is at the time of onset, the more likely they are to relapse
- Whether the person has been treated in a general hospital/clinic or a specialised eating disorder clinic; patients who are treated in an eating disorder clinic are much less likely to relapse
- Whether the person carries out excessive exercise, even after recovery is complete
- Whether an increased focus or recurring concern with body shape and weight is present, even after recovery
- Low self-esteem or poor ability to interact with others
- The occurrence of negative and stressful life events
Specific risk factors for relapse
- Lower per cent body-fat in recently weight-restored women
- Lower desired weight (when a person wishes to be a lower weight even after recovery, there is an increased chance of relapse)
- Consuming an overall diet of lower energy density or a limited variety of foods
For more information on relapse and recurrence, find professional help in your local area or phone the national support line on 1800 ED HOPE.