Many people have insecurities about their physical appearance, but some people have more complex feelings about it than others. Eating disorders are an issue that many have to deal with daily, and it can be difficult for those who don’t suffer from these conditions to understand. These issues are not only detrimental to a person’s mental health but can also become dangerous for their physical health, too. If you have a family member or friend who is suffering from an eating disorder and you’re not sure how to help them, here are some tips on how you can offer your support.
Eating disorders are complex, and it’s important to do your research and try to educate yourself on the subject. This further knowledge and understanding will help you to support your loved one more efficiently as well as help yourself process the situation. You will be able to better identify warning signs, know how to approach the subject with them in a way that is safe and comfortable for them, and how to react appropriately to the issue. Although you might struggle to empathise if you have not experienced this problem yourself, being able to sympathise and show them that you care enough to try and understand is a big step in the right direction.
Looking into the treatment options available to help your friend or family member is another important step to take. Talking therapy can help many people overcome their eating disorders and help them to understand the root cause of the issue. Meeting with a nutritionist and/or a dietician could also be a useful path to take, as they can help your loved one work towards a healthier approach to their eating habits and weight loss plans. Some clinics specialize in bulimia treatment and help with other eating disorders. However, it’s important not to pressure them to seek help; instead, gently approach the subject and encourage them to think about it. Otherwise, the treatments might be ineffective if they’re not willing to take part or are in denial about their eating disorder.
Don’t Lay Blame
When facing difficult circumstances such as these, it’s easy for emotions to run high and to try to place blame on either yourself or the person who is suffering from the condition. In the past, mental health issues have often not been taken seriously; instead, people have been told they’re too sensitive, being dramatic, or seeking attention. It’s important to understand that this is a serious issue and it’s not a choice that your loved one is making, but it is a result of their illness.
For both your benefit and theirs, it’s important to reassure your loved one that recovery is possible. It might take a lot of time and it will be something that they will have to work at, but with your support and the right professional help, they can overcome their eating disorder. Be patient, be kind, and let them know you’ll be there for them every step of the way.
These are just a few ways in which you can support a loved one with an eating disorder, but there are many other things you can do. Keep researching how you can help them and how to look after yourself during this time, too.