Secondary prevention interventions aim to lower the severity and duration of an eating disorder in a person who already has the illness.
There is considerable overlap between indicated prevention and secondary prevention, with both methods sharing various aims and targeting similar groups.
Secondary prevention is achieved through early intervention, including early detection and early treatment. These interventions can occur at any stage of life, from childhood to older age. The distinguishing feature of secondary prevention is that intervention occurs once the eating disorder has commenced.
At this stage of an eating disorder, secondary interventions emphasise that eating disorders are highly treatable, very common and a normal progression from disordered eating behaviour.
These attempts to normalise the person’s behaviours are intended to encourage a person in the early stage of an eating disorder to seek help.
Tertiary prevention is utilised in regards to those who have been experiencing an eating disorder for some time.
Tertiary prevention aims to reduce the impact of an eating disorder on a person’s life through approaches such as rehabilitation and relapse prevention. It also includes actions to ensure people have access to support within the community, such as being employed and maintaining social interactions.