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Despite common misconceptions, full recovery from an eating disorder is possible with proper treatment. For children and adolescents, the support of parents, family, and caregivers is critical for recovery from an eating disorder. In addition, receiving early and appropriate medical, nutritional, and psychological care is key in the recovery process.

Recovery from an eating disorder involves physical, behavioral, and psychological components. Physical recovery includes restoring the body’s weight and nutritional status to a healthy level for the individual and reversing medical complications from the eating disorder, including those from malnutrition. Behavioral recovery means improvement in the behaviors which accompanied the eating disorder, including restrictive food intake, over-exercising, and avoiding social situations that involve food. Psychological recovery includes improvement or resolution of the thoughts and feelings that accompany the eating disorder which may include fear of certain foods or fear of bloating or abdominal pain, significant preoccupation with healthy eating, or body image issues.

We know that early engagement in treatment is predictive of better recovery for many young people. Thus, it is important to prioritize treatment over other commitments when a young person has developed an eating disorder.

Stages of Recovery