Support Someone with Anorexia
When someone has an eating disorder, it not only effects them, but others around them as well. As a friend or family member of someone with anorexia, you will understandably want to do everything possible to support him or her. However, it’s important to know what to say and do to help the person and here are some tips that can aid you.
You Can Make a Difference
When you want to talk to your friend or loved one in a one-on-one manner, you will need to decide how to do it and if other people will be involved or not. If you wish to involve other people in the discussion it’s important to keep the group small, so the person doesn’t feel ganged up on or bombarded. You need to also ensure those involved are going to be supportive and loving, because the last thing an anorexic needs is to be judged or shamed.
You may wish to prepare a statement or talking points to be addressed during the discussion. Instead of trying to find fault, ask the person if he or she is okay. When concern is expressed it will take any tension out of the situation and the individual will not feel defensive. Throughout the discussion stress how concerned you are and how much you love the person, because you want them to know you care and are not angry.
It’s Not Your Fault
You should remember that ultimately you are not responsible for causing your friend or family member to have an eating disorder. The person you love must be ready to get better and the decision to seek treatment is entirely up to him or her. However, even if the individual refuses treatment or denies there is something wrong, you can still let them know you are there for them when and if you are needed.
You should know your limits and respect them. Never overextend yourself and don’t let the person with an eating disorder manipulate you. Being supportive of someone with anorexia can be physically and emotionally draining, so be kind to yourself and maybe even consider finding your own support group so that you have an outlet for your frustrations, fears and emotions.
Why You Should Speak Up
Of any mental health disorder, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate. The sooner an eating disorder is recognized the sooner your loved one can receive treatment and recover. Additionally, the individual with an eating disorder is frequently dealing with strong emotions, guilt and fear and sometimes even physical distress. Being supportive and possibly hosting an intervention may be the very thing that winds up spurring him or her to get on the road to recovery.
Because you care and love the person in your life with anorexia, it’s only natural you want to find ways of being supportive. You don’t have to be a person’s parent or relative to be supportive and intervene, friends often play a vital role in motivating someone to recover. Never give up on your loved one, because no compassionate discussion is ever a failure. At least through speaking up and confronting the situation, the sufferer knows you care and you may have quite possibly planted the seed to get treatment in the person’s mind.