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How to Discuss Anorexia With a Loved One


Eating disorders like anorexia are complex illnesses that cannot be cured overnight.

However, with a strong support system, anorexia can be easier to overcome. While having a conversation about anorexia with a friend or loved one can be difficult, here are a few ways to start.

Understanding Your Motivation

It is a commonly held belief that a person’s medical history should be private. However, anorexia has serious consequences, and recovery should be initiated as soon as possible. Therefore, it will become important to inform someone of the disorder. Ask yourself: Are you hiding this fact from your partner? Are you protecting your privacy from coworkers? Understanding your motivation for revealing your eating disorder can aid in preparing for the discussion.

Considering Your Audience

When opening up about anorexia, it’s important to consider your relationship with a person. Breaking the news to parents might be different than discussing it with a friend. It’s important to approach the discussion in a framework you and the other person normally act within.

Finding a Location

Discussing an eating disorder like anorexia can become an emotionally charged conversation. Ensuring the comfort and privacy of both parties is important to the success of the conversation and later support.

Find a quiet place, free of noise and other distractions, where everyone can express their feelings. A comfortable location can ease the stress or tension of the discussion.

Preparing for the Reaction

There is no guaranteed reaction after opening up about anorexia to a friend, coworker or loved one. Learning that a person is suffering from anorexia can lead to compassionate or helpless responses. Likewise, a person’s reaction to anorexia might be a varied one.

It’s important to remember that a negative reaction should not affect your recovery. Part of recovery is learning that others need to experience healing as well.

Source: Examiner