Why Eating Disorders Often Flare Up in the Summer

girl eating on the beach

Summer is a fantastic time of year thanks to warmer weather, fun vacations and more time off. However, summer can present challenges for those who struggle with eating disorders. To maintain your recovery goals, it’s important to know what makes summer more challenging, and why an eating disorder is more likely to flare up.

If you find that you need support, eating disorder therapy in Princeton NJ is available. CTRLCare Behavioral Health offers personalized treatment for eating disorders and other mental health conditions. We have convenient outpatient programs that allow you to maintain your schedule while receiving support.

In the meantime, here are some common culprits that can cause your eating disorder to flare up during the summertime. 

Body Image Issues 

As the temperatures warm up, the layers of clothing come off. This can cause major anxiety in someone who has body image issues. If you’re feeling nervous with the idea of wearing a bikini, swim trunks, tank top, shorts, etc., this could push you to engage in unhealthy behaviors. 

If you feel compelled to starve yourself, exercise excessively or vomit after eating, align yourself with eating disorder treatment in Princeton NJ. This treatment can help prevent relapse, or it can help you get back on track following a slip up. 

Disruptions in Your Schedule 

Summer is known for being laid back, and your schedule is likely to change as well. Most people find themselves with more free time, which can be a problem for recovery. Less structure and meal supervision can cause you to fall back into unhealthy patterns of behavior, such as eating more junk food or skipping meals. 

During the summer, try to maintain your normal schedule as much as possible. This schedule is built around your recovery goals and will help you stay on track with consistent meal times. 

Co-Occurring Disorders 

Many people who struggle with eating disorders also struggle with mental health disorders like depression or anxiety. The summer can cause these conditions to worsen due to peer pressure situations, substance experimentation, changes in your social circle and more. 

If the symptoms of your co-occurring mental health problem are getting worse, it can cause your eating disorder to flare up as well. The best way to address this is by getting the appropriate mental health therapy in New Jersey. It’s possible that you need your medication changed, or you need to get back into therapy. 

Social Media Influence 

Social media can also have a negative impact on your recovery. First, there are endless ads showing photos of seemingly perfect men and women. These images can make you feel bad about your own body, plus evoke the desire for an unrealistic body figure

Second, people like to post all of their vacations and days out on social media. This can cause you to feel left out or isolated if you weren’t invited, or if you don’t have a big social group to do things with. Spending too much time on social media can eventually lead to depression. 

Coping with an Eating Disorder During Summer

If you feel yourself struggling this summer, be aware that you are not alone. Help is available. CTRLCare Behavioral Health offers eating disorder treatment in Princeton NJ, along with treatment for mental health disorders. We can put together a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs and helps you stay on track with your goals. Contact our admissions team to learn more.