Bouncing Back: How Long Does it Take to Recover from Anorexia?

an anorexic woman“How long does it take to recover from anorexia?” The most common question patients and loved ones ask doctors. The eating disorder has devastating effects not just on the body, but on life. Getting out of its pit soon, if possible, is what everyone hopes for.

The truth of the matter is, there’s no exact timeline for your recovery. Every journey is different. In fact, you will encounter setbacks that would make you feel like you’re starting again. But while it’s difficult to pin down a specific period of recovery, there are factors that influence its progress. Here are some of them:

Physical Aspect

While anorexia is both a physical and mental illness, in terms of treatment, doctors prioritize healing the physical body to avoid further complications. How responsive your body is to treatments determines recovery. Doctors will check vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure, at the same time, regulate proper body temperature. They’ll most likely put you in nutritional therapy, so you can achieve a healthy weight and adequate energy. EDCare noted that the components and duration of this phase of anorexia treatment depend on the severity of a person’s eating disorder.

Mental Aspect

Once the body is stabilized, experts will focus on the cognitive aspect of the illness. At this point, you will be asked to explore recurring thought patterns about weight, self-esteem, body image, etc. The goal is for you to adopt healthier, more realistic ways of approaching problems. This will be a long process, especially if you’ve been so used to anorexia thoughts dictating your every move. During this time, you need to be willing to be vulnerable to your therapist and at the same time, be more compassionate to your self.

Environment Aspect

The environment you’re in matters in recovery. You will be going back to school and doing the things you enjoy doing and there could be many triggers in these environments. Let’s say, bullies in school or super thin models in commercials while watching your favorite TV show. It’s important to identify social support for this, at the same time, potential risks in these environments. Otherwise, relapse may happen.

There’s no definite time window for anorexia recovery. In a way, this is comforting, as you wouldn’t have to rush yourself into being okay within a specific time frame. You can take your time in healing your body and mind.