What to do if you suspect someone you love has an eating disorder
- Learn about eating disorders: it can help to understand more about what they’re going through. Eating disorders are biological and psychological: they aren’t just about food.
- Talk to your loved one: be understanding, and really listen to what they have to say. Make sure that you have both privacy and adequate time for the conversation, and avoid shaming or judging them. Let them know that they are loved.
- If your loved one denies their need for help, don’t take it personally. Just plant the seeds that you care about them and that resources are available.
- If your loved one is open to receiving help, refer them to a qualified professional. Know your limits, and don’t try to take on the responsibility for their recovery.
- Know that there is help available for you, too. The National Eating Disorders Association has a Parents, Family, and Friends Network that “is here to support families and friends of those struggling with an eating disorder by providing personal connection and resources that fit your needs.” For more information, visit http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-family-friends-network.
What to do if you suspect you have an eating disorder
- You can take a quick screen for eating disorder risk factors at http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/online-eating-disorder-screening.
- You can also call the National Eating Disorder Association’s helpline at 1-800-931-2237.
- If you have been, stop visiting pro-eating disorder websites and minimize exposure to “fitspiration.”
- Instead, seek out body-positive websites, books, and blogs: expose yourself to information from people who have developed a healthy relationship to their bodies.
- Also: seek out nutritional and fitness guidance from qualified professionals with a body-positive perspective who will help you find a balanced, healthy approach to food and exercise.
- Above all, seek help from a qualified professional: if necessary, also seek out additional support groups and community resources.
- Know that you are loved and precious, no matter what.