Skip to main content

Eating disorders and travelling abroad

Here are some ways to prepare for the challenges you could face when moving abroad.

They’re designed to help you prevent the onset or relapse of eating disorders.

How to ensure you get the right support while you’re living away from home.

The prospect of being tapped to go abroad on a work assignment can be exciting. But if you or a family member going with you has struggled with an eating disorder, you may be worried that a change of scenery and culture might jeopardise progress.

The three main types of eating disorders — anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder — all carry risks for “relapsing” in times of stress or change. 

Here are some thoughts to consider from

Before you go

Evaluate readiness. Have you or your loved one made progress for a sustained period? Are symptoms well-managed? Is there enough support for the move?

Make a plan. Work with your or your loved one’s doctors to put together a personalised plan for handling things if changes trigger disordered eating inclinations or behaviours.

Gather resources. Ask for help in identifying therapists, doctors or support groups in your destination that you’ll be able to turn to when needed.

Once you arrive

Keep things positive. Disordered eating is often a symptom of emotional stress. Negative comments or threats can backfire and cause more stress.

Get involved. Participate in local activities or encourage your loved one to do so. This helps boost self-esteem and mood.

Avoid extremes. Remember to focus on food variety and not make anything completely “off limits.”

Take care when discussing food, weight and body image. People around you — especially children — pay attention to what you say and do more than you may realise.

Make an appointment. Talk to a local doctor if you’re concerned that you or someone you love is having difficulties.

Learn more about the types of health and wellness resources we offer members who are planning trips abroad.

Aetna® is a trademark of Aetna Inc. and is protected throughout the world by trademark registrations and treaties.

We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. See our cookie policy for more information on how we use cookies and how you can manage them. If you continue to use this website, you are consenting to our policy and for your web browser to receive cookies from our website.