How can you help someone with an eating disorder?
Those with eating problems may often hide their symptoms to avoid calling attention to them. They are often aware their behavior is abnormal.
- Let them know you are concerned about them. Reassure them often that you love them for who they are.
- Tell them why you are concerned. Describe specifically what you have seen or heard in their behavior that concerns you. Generalities can be denied, but they will be less likely to deny specific dates, times, and behaviors you have observed.
- Tell them that food and weight are only part of the problem.
- Become informed. Get information to yourself about signs, symptoms, and local resources, and share the information with them.
- When they do decide to get help, provide moral support. If they want you to, sit with them when they make the first appointment, or go to the appointment with them.
- Let them know you have faith in them.
- Avoid describing food of eating habits in terms of good or bad
- Ignore the problem
- nag, argue, plead, or bribe
- collude with them by helping cover up
- hide or stop buying food that others enjoy to prevent them from bingeing.
- let tears, temper tantrums, or promises keep you from helping them get the help they need
- suggest weight loss or exercise programs
- encourage perfectionism
- put their needs above your own