5 Alarming Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder Relapse

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that involve disordered eating habits. People with eating disorders have a distorted view of their body image and may engage in dangerous behaviors, such as restricting food intake, binging, purging, or using laxatives. 

Relapse is a common challenge for those recovering from an eating disorder. It can be defined as a return to old behaviors, attitudes, and thoughts that were present before treatment. However, relapsing isn’t always apparent until much too late. If you believe you are in danger of relapsing, here are some telltale signs.

1) You Don’t Feed Yourself Well

Eating well is an important part of staying healthy and providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function properly. When you don’t feed yourself well, your body can suffer from a lack of energy, focus, and overall health. 

This can be especially concerning if you have had a history of an eating disorder and are at risk of a relapse. Eating nutritious meals and snacks can help protect your physical and mental well-being and reduce the risk of a relapse.

2) You Neglect Self-Care

Neglecting self-care is one of the biggest warning signs of an eating disorder relapse. When someone struggling with an eating disorder begins to neglect their own well-being, it can be a sign that they are losing control of their thoughts and emotions. 

Self-care includes things such as eating healthy, getting enough rest and exercise, and taking time to relax. If someone is unable to uphold these basic needs, it may be a sign that they are in danger of experiencing a relapse in their eating disorder.

3) You Are Slipping Back to Old Eating Habits

Slipping back to old eating habits is one of the most common warning signs of an eating disorder relapse. This can include reverting to unhealthy behaviors such as skipping meals, overeating, restricting certain foods, or overemphasizing the importance of exercise. 

It can also include engaging in behaviors that were previously considered red flags, such as going to the bathroom immediately after eating or using food as a reward or punishment. 

4) You Obsess Over Your Weight or Food

Obsessing about weight or food can be a sign of an eating disorder relapse. It can manifest in various ways, such as constantly monitoring the scale and calorie counting or worrying excessively about how food will affect your weight. 

People with an eating disorder often focus on food and their body weight to the point where it becomes an unhealthy obsession and begins to interfere with their daily life. If you find yourself obsessing over your weight or food, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional as soon as possible.

5) You are Avoiding Activities You Previously Enjoyed

Avoiding activities you previously enjoyed can be an alarming warning sign of an eating disorder relapse. This behavior can signify that someone is isolating themselves and focusing solely on their eating disorder. 


It is important to be aware of the warning signs of a relapse so that you can take steps to help prevent it. If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of the warning signs listed above, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional immediately. With the right help, it is possible to prevent a relapse and start on the road to recovery.

If you or someone you love is exhibiting this behavior, Oasis Eating Disorders Recovery can help. We are an eating disorder center offering outpatient psychiatry services for those experiencing a relapse. Get in touch with us today to learn more.