How to Help a Person With an Eating Disorder

Eating disorder is one of the major mental illnesses that people struggle with nowadays. With body image issues and anxiety weighing down on many people, they develop an eating disorder to handle their emotional turmoil. But these can be devastating physically and mentally. They will need help to recover. If your loved one is suffering from an eating disorder, you will need to take steps to help and support them.

Get Them the Proper Treatment

The problem with eating disorders is that some people think that they can recover alone and without assistance. This is a big mistake. The best way to begin recovery for any eating disorder is to get proper treatment. This will involve going to a doctor. Take them to a place that is dedicated to their treatment. For example, they will get specialized help when they go to a treatment facility for people with anorexia. This is a good way to start healing.

Avoid Criticizing Their Appearance

One of the triggers of eating disorders is the worry about how they look. This is why you must avoid talking about their appearance while they are in treatment. Even compliments about their weight can be interpreted badly. Most importantly, try to avoid insults and criticism. These will result in negative effects and you want to avoid that. Focus on something else so that they can avoid thinking about their looks for awhile.

Have Meals Together

eating together

When they are home, try to suggest or enjoy meals together. While useful in ensuring that they are eating, that is not the main focus of this. It is more of a way to make eating a positive experience. You will need to plan it properly though. Ensure that the meal is healthy and respects their dietary needs and preferences. Have sensible portions and encourage them to eat them. This can be a big help to those who have been eating unhealthy. Be firm but respectful to show them that you know that they are making the effort.

Don’t Force Things

One of the big mistakes you can make is to be aggressive when it comes to changing their diet. You will need to encourage eating naturally. Don’t do strong-arm tactics but rather explain to them the natural consequences of not eating. For example, if they don’t eat, they won’t have the energy for activities like dancing or sports. Emphasize the positive sides of eating without forcing them.

Try to Be Open

One of the natural consequences of eating disorders is that people are more secretive as they try to hide it. The best way to handle this is to be more open and accepting. This shows that they don’t have to hide their behavior anymore and that they can talk things out with you.

Fighting an eating disorder is a major challenge. With your loved one dealing with it, they will need all the help they can get. Keep these tips and ideas in mind while you help your loved one in their struggle and guide them through a successful recovery.

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