Defining Recovery: Is a Full Return Possible After Eating Disorder?

Woman with eating disorder

A person with binge-eating disorder tends to act compulsively based on an urge. Meanwhile, a person with bulimia acts on an impulse — a whim, without thinking things over carefully. Impulsively and compulsive behavior characterize these disorders.

A person getting help for eating disorders may think that the recovery process is difficult, but knowing how much of a struggle it is to resist this seemingly hard-wired response might be the answer.

Is recovery possible?

Life has many different aspects. When illness or dysfunction characterizes life for a lengthy period, recovery may only be achievable with a holistic treatment approach. All aspects of a person’s life may be affected by the illness. In eating disorders, a person’s body and mind undergo changes. The person’s relationships may have changed as well. Nevertheless, recovery is possible although it’s often impossible to provide the family with a list of guaranteed timeline.

What is true recovery?

In people diagnosed with anorexia or bulimia nervosa, true recovery is characterized by recovery from physical illness. Yet, complete recovery is further defined by a complete turnaround in terms of a person’s attitude towards food, weight, and body image. They may still have doubts and have occasional thoughts, which are less than ideal. However, their perspective and attitude towards food and eating are not the same as before.

The recovery process

The misconception surrounding the recovery process lies from the perspective that it’s easy. Contrary to that, it comes and goes in cycles. Each stage may be visited more than once, and a person may learn from occasional setbacks depending on their temperament. Recovery is complex and to simplify it, you must accept that recovery is a process of continuous growth and experience.

Management of eating disorders requires team effort and full cooperation. While most do not promise complete recovery, they offer the best possible avenue to address a person’s medical and psychological needs.