Wanting to help someone with an eating disorder? Here are some tips.

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Wanting to help someone with an eating disorder? Here are some tips.

Whether it is your friend, relative, or someone you know, to see them grapple with an eating disorder is heart-wrenching. An eating disorder is one of the most complicated challenges that an individual can endure. Beyond being a physical challenge, it impacts their mental and emotional well-being. It is equally traumatic for the family and people around.
If you are scouting for information on how to help someone with an eating disorder, you are at the right spot. We are glad that you have come forward to understand the disorder in detail and to sort out ways to normalize your friend or family member. A plethora of questions leaf through your mind at the very thought of helping a dear one reverse their eating disorder. A lack of awareness and information makes you feel helpless all the way. We share your helplessness and we have come up with a detailed article that may answer all your questions on how to help someone with an eating disorder.

How to understand if someone has an eating disorder?

Unlike the common perception that eating disorders are solely physical, they are a form of mental illness caused by a blend of biological, social, and psychological attributes. Eating disorders arise when people try to heal their stress, depression, or anxiety, with food. They release their negative emotions on the food that they end up binge eating or under-eating leading to anorexia and other conditions. Some tend to develop an obsession with their weight, and the calories they consume to a concerning extent that the subject of their weight and calories dominate other walks of their life. While some of them engage in binge eating, purging, or consuming large quantities of food as they start to believe that eating is essentially out of one’s own control. If you are looking for how to help someone with an eating disorder, understanding the symptoms might help.

Common symptoms of eating disorders
  • Developing an obsession with food labels, calories, and their physical image
  • Restricting food or cutting down food in excessive quantities
  • Consuming dietary pills, stimulants, and drugs to lose weight
  • Eating normally in front of people while bingeing when alone. Secret eating!
  • Consuming junk foods and calorie-rich, not-so-healthy items in private
  • Throwing up after almost every meal intake
  • Consuming laxatives or taking up enemas
  • Holding a negative self-perception, particularly with one’s own weight and appearance
  • Endeavoring to hide their weight and exhibiting a continuous fear of weight gain
  • Giving up on social life just because he/she wants to exercise

Given the above symptoms, it is pretty clear that treating eating disorders and reversing people to normalcy requires therapies and consultations. You can read more of them at symptoms of eating disorders. In case you notice any of the aforementioned symptoms do hot hesitate to initiate a deeper conversation with the concerned individual. The earlier, the easier it is. A lot of times, the impacted person does not open up because they carry low self-esteem that they put themselves down imagining that they are not worthy of being helped or treated. If you are looking for ways to help someone with anorexia, read through.

How to help someone with an eating disorder?

In case you observe any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your friend, relative, or someone who is very close to you, the following may answer your question on how to help treat someone with an eating disorder.

Initiate a conversation! Speak up.

As far as we have observed, the near and dear ones of the affected display inhibition in initiating the conversation. You may be worried if you would be mistaken. You may be afraid that the situation might aggravate and the person may feel isolated if they get to know that they have an eating disorder. This is a very normal concern and you should always remember that people with such disorders are reluctant to come forward and ask for help. Because they are already feeling negative and depressed, there are greater chances that they would try to resist and refrain from such conversations.

Some tips for you to initiate a conversation
  • Do not feel bad if they do not show any interest in discussing the issue
  • Let them know that they are heard and that you would be there if he or she wants to talk to you about it
  • Keep asking them if they require any assistance or support
  • Do not feel dejected if they jump into denial or defensive mode
  • Do not push them into fear by starting your conversation with all the negative or serious consequences of the disorder
Make mealtimes fun

Try to take meals together as a family or in a group. Keep the conversations going and do not discuss problems or negative happenings. Discuss happy moments and funny incidents. This may help your loved ones to shed their fear of food and push them to enjoy the food. Do not force them to try more. Do not talk to them about the serious consequences of their eating disorders as it might aggravate the issue. Do not keep monitoring them directly. This might motivate them to get into a private mode and it may become harder to get them back on track

Listen without reacting

The problem with most people who are enduring eating disorders is that they feel unheard. They are afraid of being judged. All that you can do is let them know that you are there for them no matter what. Do not offer advice or criticize them for what they are going through. Listen without judging them or showing adverse reactions.

Do not talk about food, weight, etc.

Whether it is just the two of you, or there are people with you, avoid discussions on food, weight, etc. Do not talk negatively about weight, body image, or food. This might not solve eating disorders but aggravate the complications. Do not hesitate to eat well when you are with them. This might motivate them to get back to their healthy eating routine.

Eating disorder treatment.

Eating disorders require professional therapy and we recommend that you get your friend or relative treated right at the moment you observe the symptoms. The right eating disorder treatment varies on various factors including symptoms and stage of the disorder. Perhaps, the right treatment requires medical treatment, nutritional counseling, and therapeutic counseling. Read through to understand how to help someone with eating disorders.

Medical consultation

Treating health issues is the utmost priority when it comes to eating disorder treatment. Take your loved one to medical treatment and check if he/she is malnourished or is struggling with anorexia. Whether or not, they require residential treatment depends on the stage of the disorder.

Nutritional counseling

Educating your loved ones on the importance of healthy eating while also helping them with tailor-made diet plans, trackers, and milestones might help them get rid of the obsession with food. This is an effective eating disorder treatment.

Therapeutic counseling

Because eating disorders are mostly psychological, reversing the disorder may require therapies. Personalized therapeutic counseling would help them shed their stress and negative emotions. Educating your loved one on how to deal with not-so-favorable circumstances and stressful situations also helps.

Looking for an eating disorder treatment center?

We at Abhasa Rehabilitation Center offer personal counseling to identify and treat the root cause of the eating disorder. We invest our efforts in trying to identify what has caused their obsession with food and weight. We subject them to trauma therapy and other holistic therapies to relieve them of stress and anxiety. We also offer residential eating disorder treatment if your friend or family member requires one. The therapeutic ethos and the serene environment accelerate their healing and relieve themselves of their obsession with food. Educating them on the importance of eating the right food in the right quantity enables their quick return to normalcy. The residential treatment is more effective if the individual has a prolonged obsession with food. Spending some time away from their stressors accelerates their recovery. If you looking for how to help someone with anorexia, our eating disorder treatment center has all the facilities to accelerate healing.

Support your loved one post their treatment.

Whether it is a therapeutic or physical treatment, your friend or the family member still needs your shoulders even after their treatment period. Help them feel happy. Let them know that they are heard. They will endure good and bad days. There might be an urge inside their mind to get back to their dietary routines. So, do not be disheartened if the eating disorder treatment is taking some time. It usually does take longer periods. Make up your mind and keep supporting them throughout the recovery period.