How to Help Someone With an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders, if not addressed, can worsen over time and become difficult to deal with or overcome. If you know someone struggling, it is better to understand how to converse and support them to prevent the condition from worsening and causing more damage.

The best way to approach the subject is by gently letting them know that you have noticed some things that have been worrying you. While doing this, remain as calm as possible and not judgmental. Ask them how they are feeling and allow them to respond. Make sure that they understand that you are here to help.

Make sure that you don’t ask these questions during meal times. The person will already feel stressed and may not honestly respond. It is also important not to dwell on their appearance or eating habits as they will feel more uncomfortable.

Most of the time, they will be defensive and deny that there is a problem, especially when they feel guilty or ashamed. When this happens, assure them that you are there to help and are always available to talk.

Here are some of the ways to help someone with an eating disorder open up and work towards overcoming the condition:

Show Them You Care

Their condition might frustrate you or make you uneasy, and to you, it may sound so obvious that they should stop because of the adverse outcomes they are experiencing.

However, be compassionate and do not show anger or frustration. Communicate your feelings to other family members or friends.

While at it, try to remember that eating disorders, like drugs and substance abuse, can be challenging to deal with without the proper support. Someone with an eating disorder will be going through a trying time and is likely trying as best as they can to overcome it amid painful emotions. So, please treat them with compassion and care.

Set Boundaries

When a person is battling an eating disorder, it gets complicated to become strict and firm with them – but it is necessary. Not in a condescending manner, but by setting boundaries that show that you are not deliberately enabling their behaviors.

  • Confront it. Don’t brush it under the carpet or ignore it if you notice an issue. Failure to do so will only fuel the condition.
  • Do not clean up their mess after they binge or purge – don’t make it a habit of helping them think you are giving them a free pass.
  • Don’t give them special treatment, like cooking them meals that are different from anyone else’s.

Doing all these doesn’t make you a bad person. You are only allowing the person to see the harmful effects of their eating disorder, and it can help them recognize the need for change.

Give Them the Support They Need

Recovering from an eating disorder can be difficult. When a person nods to getting professional treatment, don’t hesitate; give them the proper support to help them overcome it. Talk to them, spend time with them, organize activities that provide them with a chance to enjoy themselves, show them that you believe in their ability to recover, help them relax and embrace treatment, and be careful of the compliments you give.

Treatment for an Eating Disorder

Support from outside the home is recommended for someone with an eating disorder. The condition is complex, and professional treatment is needed to help a person deal with the adverse effects of the disease.

Contact Rise Recovery for intervention services for support, counseling, and a treatment program ideal to your loved one. Treatment options include daycare support, inpatient programs, or outpatient therapy. If you would like to know more, please visit their eating disorder treatment page or get in contact through their website.

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