Kinds Of Support For A Loved One With An Eating Disorder

Kinds Of Support For A Loved One With An Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are not just about food, and they’re not only about body image. They are a way for people to cope with their emotions and manage stress. Eating disorders are often a symptom of other problems, but they can also cause serious health issues.

  • Educate yourself about eating disorders. Get to know the facts about eating disorders so you can better understand what your loved one might be experiencing. It’s important to remember that eating disorders aren’t just a “phase,” and they aren’t the result of vanity or laziness. They’re serious mental illnesses, and there isn’t anyone thing that causes them. They may have underlying genetic predispositions or be triggered by certain life events, but both factors play a role in developing an eating disorder.
  • Be non-judgmental. Eating disorders often manifest during times of transition or stress — like college or change in relationships — so encourage your loved one to reach out for help by showing them that they can rely on your support no matter what they decide to do.
  • Encourage professional help. Eating disorders are complex illnesses that require professional treatment. Support your loved one in seeking out treatment options, such as counseling, therapy, or support groups, which can help them begin their pathway toward recovery.
  • Learn how to talk about it. A good place to start is by asking how your loved one would like to talk about his or her struggle. For example, some people might prefer not to use the term “eating disorder,” which can carry negative connotations. Others may prefer not to go into detail about their experience.
  • Be patient. Recovery isn’t linear and will likely have ups and downs. It’s important to be patient and not focus on weight gain or other numbers, but rather the person’s overall health, including the way they feel about themselves.


Anna Daniels

Anna is an avid blogger with an educational background in medicine and mental health. She is a generalist with many other interests including nutrition, women's health, astronomy and photography. In her free time from work and writing, Anna enjoys nature walks, reading, and listening to jazz and classical music.

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