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Are EDs like alcoholism?


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By that I mean, are you never fully recovered, just always in recovery?

 

I ask because I just got out of treatment at an eating disorders unit and I've already lapsed a bit.  I know it's not easy and I intend to beat it, but will I ever be able to say 'I used to have bulimia' or will I always be a 'recovering bulimic'?  I'm just curious if there will ever come a day when I don't need to worry about acting on my symptoms.

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My understanding is that it depends. Some people get increasingly solid in recovery and they don't think about it as much and it eventually becomes much less of an issue.

I'm not like that.

I've been in recovery for years now (hmmm. I last purged three years ago and that was after a year or two of solid recovery) and I relapse every spring. I ignore the thoughts and I'm better at it, but they are just as loud and they are still a struggle for me. Maybe I haven't been at recovery long enough. I'm not sure. But I expect to be this way for the forseeable future.

No one knows which one you'll be. Congrats on getting out of treatment and with a recovery-focused mindset! That's a really big deal and it's a very fragile point. It's understandable that you relapsed a little bit. Are you focusing on getting back on track?

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Some people definitely do recover.  Jenni Schafer, author of Life Without Ed, is an inspirational example.  I think I am about 80% there.  I've been treated on an outpatient basis for my ED for a number of years, but I had some long-term inpatient/partial/intensive outpatient treatment in 2008 that was extremely helpful.  I no longer act on my symptoms on a daily basis, and my critical thoughts about my body have also improved since that time.  It is definitely realistic for you to expect to have days when you don't act on your symptoms.  I wish you the best in your recovery!

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It depends on the person involved. Some people do make a full recover and the others live in a state of recovery of some kind. I have never fully recovered and live one day at a time, sometimes I fall of the wagon, other times I manage to stay on for a few years. So for me it is very much like being an alcoholic of sorts...

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