The Right Way To Approach And Help Someone Who Has An Eating Disorder

The Right Way To Approach And Help Someone Who Has An Eating Disorder | HealthSoul

Do you have a loved one who has an eating disorder? They are complex mental illnesses that extend beyond just deciding to change their eating habits, considering they are not about the food. According to The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), it is reported that there at least 30 million people in the U.S. suffering from an eating disorder.

You’d agree that it is difficult to see them struggle with such a mental health challenge, and it is confusing to know what should be done. There are a lot of people who have been in this position, so you shouldn’t feel helpless. With the right information, you can be of immense help to them. Well, the fact that you’re concerned about helping them is a step in the right direction. Find out the proper approach on how you can help them deal with their eating disorder.

1.  Understand Their Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are very extreme fluctuations in eating behaviors; they’re more complicated than just unhealthy dietary habits. Eating disorders are a way for people who suffer from it to deal with painful emotions. For some people, being able to restrict food is used to make them feel in control as overeating is sort of a way to stay on top of anger, sadness, or loneliness temporarily.

The path to helping them to recover would then begin when you can help them identify the issues that drive their eating disorder and discover new and healthier ways to cope with it.

2.  Encourage Them To See a Professional

Remember that eating disorders are an illness and can be quite dangerous. If you feel you won’t be able to cope with the recovery process, you might need to take them to a rehab center. You can learn more here about how the facilities can benefit them. Encourage your loved one to seek professional help if they’ve not been receiving professional help.

Getting a professional involved can help examine the symptoms, provide diagnosis, and offer recommendations. You can reach out to a medical doctor for a start, before including therapists and dietitians.

3.  Get Educated About Eating Disorders

If you’re going to be a good supporter, you need to have sufficient knowledge about eating disorders. It is usually poorly understood by the general public with different myths surrounding it.

Understanding essential facts about what eating disorders are is a great place to begin. Where you’ll learn things such as how eating disorders are not a choice, but rather a mental health illness. It might have just started out as a diet before it evolved into a disorder. It wasn’t a choice for it to slip into. Look up helpful resources from eating disorder organizations, as they have very informative websites that support carers.

4.  Show Patience

Before a person gets to recover from an eating disorder it takes a while, hence, it’s necessary for you to show your loved one some patience. Don’t put too much pressure on them by setting high demands or goals that are unrealistic.

Neither should you manipulate, shame, argue, or lure them into developing new habits. They already feel bad about themselves, so you should rather give them hope and encouragement. Give them applause on every small step they make towards better health. Be their anchor when they make progress and have bad days or setbacks.

5.  Listen More Than Talk

You would always feel the urge to talk, but you should listen to them more and do so without judgment. Avoid criticizing or advising them often. As stated earlier, people with eating disorders are usually overwhelmed or silenced.

So, when they open up to you and try to seek help, let them feel heard and know that they have your support during this time. You are not the one with the disorder, so you might not understand or relate to what they’re experiencing, hence, it’s essential to validate their feelings.

6.  Don’t Concentrate On Their Appearance

Your loved one’s appearance or weight doesn’t tell how they’re feeling or isn’t a direct representation of what they perceive themselves to be. There are some comments you might think are kind but are simply triggers for people with eating problems.

7.  Remember To Care For Yourself

Don’t get so caught up with being concerned with your loved one’s disorder that you forget you also have needs. Supporting a person with an eating disorder is no doubt an upsetting and exhausting experience. That is why you should remember that you’re important as well as your mental health and are deserving of support.

Ensure that you have time to relax and gather support from people’s trust, a support group, or a therapist. Recovery is a long process, so don’t expect to see changes just because you’ve shown interest. It might take some time before you see the changes you want. So, be very patient and understanding through this journey.