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Wayne State College
Counseling Center
Student Center, Rm. 103
1111 Main St.
Wayne, NE 68787

Phone: 402.375.7321
Fax: 402.375.7058

 

 

Related Services  > Eating Disorders  > Relapse Warning

 

Eating Disorders Links: | Signs and Symptoms | Relapse Warning |
| Causes| College Students | Definitions | Athletes | Getting Help |
| Self Test | Helicopter Story |

 

It is important to understand that when undertaking a journey to recovery for an eating disorder, it is a time-consuming process and it should be expected that you will experience both good days and bad days. However, you also need to be aware that a relapse is possible. A relapse is said to occur when the symptoms of your illness worsen or when previous symptoms return. It is important for your recovery process that you recognize the "warning signs" of a relapse.

 

Some warning signs are common and include feeling suspicious or irritable, feeling very tired or unusually energetic, and sleep changes. Other warning signs are highly individualized and include all sorts of changes to your behavior, mood and thoughts. If you can identify your warning signs as early as possible, you may be able to take action such as reducing your stress levels, consulting your counselor or doctor earlier than you had intended, or increasing your medication temporarily - either or all of these may avert the relapse or reduce its severity.

 

Some common early warning signs of relapse are:

  • feeling anxious or worried
  • feeling tense or restless
  • feeling depressed or unhappy
  • feeling unsafe or threatened
  • feeling paranoid -thinking that people are talking about you
  • feeling irritated, quick tempered or aggressive
  • experiencing problems with concentration
  • experiencing eating or appetite changes
  • changes in substance abuse-alcohol or drug taking
  • problems sleeping
  • withdrawing socially -staying home
  • feeling anxious about going out or going to work
  • hearing voices
  • experiencing racing thoughts or disordered thoughts
  • having mood swings-becoming excited or high
  • feeling suicidal
  • dwelling on past events

These signs are different for everyone. It is important to work out which signs may be relevant to you. It is useful to do this with someone who knows you well, like a family member or a counselor. It is also important to have a plan of what to do should any of these signs appear.

 

You will find that it is harder at certain times to stick with your attempts at overcoming your disordered eating. These situations are known as “at risk” times. Times of high risk can involve situations such as weight gain, stress, periods of dieting, holidays, or exams. A healthy lifestyle can help to insulate against a major relapse:

  • Get at least eight hours of sleep every night, more if you need it. Sleep deprivation seems to impair the way the human body uses insulin, which can lead to overweight and possible problems with blood sugar.
  • Do thirty to sixty minutes of physical activity every day. It does not have to be done all at one time, and routine activities such as climbing stairs and yard maintenance count.
  • Nurture supportive relationships with friends, family members and romantic partners. Enjoy being with people you like and who like you back.
  • Deliberately make choices. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you are the victim of forces over which you have no control. As soon as you realize you are making choices, you can decide to choose other possibilities.
  • Do something fun every day. Let yourself experience pleasure too. When you play and enjoy yourself, you don't have to turn to diet books or binge food for release from daily stress.
  • No smoking. Anything. Ever.
  • And if you use alcohol, no more than two standard servings per day for males and one standard serving per day for females.
  • No abuse of prescription drugs or use of recreational drugs. In addition to hurting your body, these substances impair brain function and muddy your thoughts. If you want to be healthy and free of relapses, you need your wits about you. If you are dependent on alcohol or other drugs, get treatment and get clean. Many people with eating disorders are also chemically dependent.
  • A nutritious breakfast every morning. Ninety-six percent of everyone who loses weight and keeps it off eats breakfast every day, according to Ann Yelmokas McDermot, a nutrition scientist at Tufts University (USDA Nutrition Research Center)
  • Plus all the things your parents probably nagged you about: Wear your seat belt when in a car. No unprotected sex unless you are in a strictly monogamous relationship. Insist on counseling or leave relationships if you are being physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. Also get counseling if you have painful issues in your past that have not been resolved.

 

The WSC Counseling Center is located in the Student Center, Room 103. Please make an appointment by calling (402) 375-7321.

 

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Sources:

http://www.mental-health-matters.com/articles/article.php?artID=698

http://www.anred.com/relpr.html

 

 

_________________________
Ron Vick, MA, LPC
Counselor / Academic Advisor
Int'l Student Advisor

 

 

 

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