Eating disorders can lead to a variety of physical and mental health problems, and if a loved one is suffering from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating or unspecified eating disorder, then you’ll no doubt want to do all you can to help them.
That’s why you might be wondering how to help someone with an eating disorder, and by searching for this term, you’re already showing how much you care about your loved one. Friends and family can be a key part of recovery, but people with eating disorders often need professional help too, which is why you may want to get in touch with Asana Lodge about eating disorder treatments.
In the meantime, here are some things you can do to support your friend or family member.
Listen To Them
Simply making some time to listen to the person with the eating disorder can mean a lot to them. You don’t have to give advice or feel like you have all the answers, simply listening to them can do a lot of good. You should avoid criticising them or being judgemental, but over time you may be able to encourage them to seek help. At first, your loved one might reject your offer of support, and it can take time for them to open up.
Keep Them Involved
Those with eating disorders will often avoid social situations and hide themselves away. They’ll often reject occasions that involve food or physical activities, but even if you know that they’ll say no, you should make sure they are still invited anyway. This can help with their self-esteem and let them feel valued, as well as helping them avoid becoming isolated due to their condition.
Avoid Commenting On Their Eating Habits
People with eating disorders are often incredibly self-conscious about their eating habits, so any comments about their food choices, even if you think they’re positive, could be triggering. Family members should avoid commenting on the amount or type of food the sufferer is eating, as even innocent comments can be twisted into something negative.
Be Careful How You Talk About Yourself
Making negative comments about yourself can have an impact on sufferers of eating disorders. Talking negatively about your food choices or your body can make them feel guilt or shame by association, and they may mistakenly feel that you are judging them too.
Learn More About Their Eating Disorder
When you are looking for tips on how to help someone with an eating disorder, it’s worth learning more about their specific condition. There are many different eating disorders, each one having a unique effect on physical and mental health, so it can really help to know more about them. At Asana Lodge, we offer family therapy as part of our eating disorder treatment because it’s important for loved ones to know the symptoms and behaviours of these disorders so they can support the sufferer.
Boost Their Self Esteem
Complimenting the sufferer on things other than their looks can help boost their self-esteem, which can help during recovery. Be sure to tell them that they’re a great person, that you love them and are there for them etc.
It’s not easy having a loved one with an eating disorder. It can be extremely difficult to see them undertaking such dangerous behaviour, especially when they are physically ill. However, it’s important not to lose your temper or try the tough love approach. Eating disorder recovery can be a long road. When people start to gain weight and get healthier, there’s always the risk of relapse, and some sufferers take years to feel like they’ve completely recovered.
There will be many challenges ahead and the sufferer is more likely to recover if they know someone is there for them.
Seek Professional Help for Eating Disorders
Most people with eating disorders need professional help of some description. If you’re wondering how to help someone with an eating disorder, then it’s important not to try and ‘treat’ them yourself, as this can do more harm than good. Seeking help such as therapy or a residential treatment programme is often the best thing you can do for a loved one, as it means they can be looked after by the experts and get the best chance of recovery.
Asana Lodge is often contacted by family, friends and partners of people with eating disorders. We offer a world-class eating disorder treatment programme from our cosy, homely rehab centre in Towcester, Northamptonshire. While your loved one stays with us, they’ll get 24/7 support and intensive therapy, all designed to help them overcome their eating disorder.
We’ll often offer family therapy as part of our programmes, and simply taking the time to attend and work with the therapists can often be the best thing you can do for your loved one. In therapy, you’ll learn more about their eating disorder and their triggers, and can work on strengthening your relationship.