Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Help a Loved One Who Has a Disorder

Eating disorders are unfortunately common, and they can have serious and even fatal consequences. When you discover that a loved one is suffering from bulimia, anorexia or another eating disorder, you understandably want to do everything you can to offer help and support throughout the treatment and healing process. Use these tips to guide your actions in the weeks and months ahead.

Educate Yourself

Some well-intentioned individuals may make a hurtful or negative comment without realizing what they are saying. Perhaps they lack the understanding about what their loved one is going through or why this is happening. Many people have received poor information about eating disorders through word-of-mouth, social stigma, television and more. Before you take any steps that you believe may be helpful, it is important to get hard facts about the disorder and to research support suggestions.

Find the Right Healing Program

When your loved one is ready to seek treatment, you should assist in the location of a beneficial healing program such as bulimia treatment centers. Some treatment centers have a stark vibe similar to a medical center, and others have a more nurturing, home-like vibe. In addition to focusing on the environment, research the treatment plan and the qualifications of the individuals who will be treating your loved one. Reading reviews and doing a background check are also important steps to take.

Remain Positive

Your positive support and encouragement can go a long way toward helping your loved one get on a path toward healing. It is easy for individuals who are suffering from eating disorders to feel lost and alone. The knowledge that you are standing by their side can give them the extra nudge forward that they need to continue with the recovery process.

Set a Good Example

Regardless of whether your loved one lives with you or not, you should always set a good example through your eating habits. This may require you to educate yourself about nutrition and healthy eating so that you can improve your habits. Consider preparing a few meals together with your loved one from time to time so that you can demonstrate excellent habits and make mealtime a positive social experience.

Becoming aware of a loved one’s struggle with an eating disorder can be shocking and distressful. After you recover the initial emotional impact and are ready to take supportive action, focus your attention on these helpful steps. Remember to tailor your support to their needs so that you avoid being too invasive or pushy.

Tim Esterdahl

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