Posted by: cindy | July 18, 2008

How Can I Help Someone With Eating Disorders?

  1. Learn as much as about eating disorders as you can.  Include information on treatment options. Educate yourself. Take a proactive role in dealing with your loved one’s illness.  There are resources for you to learn about eating disorders, related family dynamics and the recovery process.  Sometimes decisions you would make intuitively are not therapeutic.  You need to learn how to support your loved one while not enabling her disorder.  Attending a support group or participating in treatment also shows that you are willing to face the problem and model healthy behavior.
  2. Learn about, and develop a support network in which you can talk openly about your feelings and frustrations, and where you can develop a plan of action to deal with the person with the eating disorder.  Locate your local chapter of National Eating Disorders Association.
  3. Talk directly to the person with the eating disorder about your concerns.  Pay close attention to detail about behaviors you’ve noticed and are concerned about, and speak with the person about them.
  4. Offer information to the person about the eating disorder treatment options and programs.  Offer to go with them to talk to a professional about your concerns.
  5. Be sensitive, but be firm.  Listen to your loved one with understanding, respect and sensitivity.  Learn to communicate in a clear and kind manner.  Express affection openly and honestly.  Do not spend all of your time with the eating disordered person.
  6. Do not discuss the issues with others, unless the person with the eating disorders has given you permission.  But do encourage other concerned individuals to speak with the person with the eating disorder.

Read on to the next post for additional guidelines when someone you know and care about is exhibiting signs and symptoms of eating disorders.

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