How To Help Someone With An Eating Disorder

What to do or say with any person that has an eating disorder

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Help someone with an eating disorder, it may save their life.

Watching someone spiral out of control with their eating disorder is very hard to do and harder to understand than you might imagine.  Family members and friends that are affected by eating disorders should be seeking therapy or groups to talk about their experience as well and also to help the loved one through the difficult time. In this article, I will go over some the key points, guidelines, and tips you can do without professional help to understand and guide your loved one through an eating disorder.

  • It's important to learn, research and educate yourself as much as possible on all types of eating disorders.  Eating disorders are very complex and the underlying reasons for why they develop are even more complex. Learning as much as you can will help yourself understand as well help with a loved ones disorder. 
  • Remind the loved one who is suffering of their strengths and attributes that are not related to the eating disorder.  This will help build confidence in that person without letting them use their eating disorder as a crutch.
  • Engage in activities and hobbies that will not trigger the eating disorder, and that the person did before the eating disorder took over their life.  This is one method that eating disorder clinics use in recovery.  Engaging in activities one did before the illness may help build confidence and strength based on their true happiness and worth without the relation of food, health and exercise.
  • Communication is key and so very important.   It's important to express your concerns freely but with reservation.  Never sound negative or aggravated by the person's eating disorder.  Instead, focus on positives and strengths.  It is also important to remember to let the person talk freely, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel, to express their thoughts on their illness.  Never badger or demand to talk, let the person feel comfortable enough to talk on their own without demands.
  • Do not request demands and threaten the eating disorder.  This will only end in more negativity for both people.
  • Try not to take control of the eating disorder.  It's important that your loved one thinks that you support them instead of trying to demand them to recover instantly.  If you want to gather information, suggest to them to look over it, but never threaten to take action or else.  This will make the person feel cornered and more out of control.
  • Do not get discouraged when recovery doesn't go as planned.  Let your loved one know, everyone makes mistakes, and to keep trying.