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Confronting Friends or Family – Helping Someone who may Suffer from an Eating Disorder

It’s important to know the issues surrounding eating disorders. Not because you might be diagnosing someone anytime soon, but because knowing them could lead to an intervention that can save someone’s life. No matter how uncomfortable or confrontational it might seem, reaching out with care, concern and empathy can save a life.

Confronting Eating Disorders

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness. Eating disorders are also treatable, and the earlier someone seeks treatment, the better their chances are for recovery. We live in a society where thinness is extolled and larger people are looked down upon. But what the real focus needs to be on is health, not image. Many are suggesting that we embrace an open forum about body image in America. That way, myths about eating disorders can be dispelled and the realities can come to light. Showing someone in your family that you know about eating disorders can be a helpful step to leading them to recovery. Knowing that you’ve taken the time to do research is a clear indicator that you want to help and not just criticize them.

Many people believe that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice, and that’s simply not the case. Individuals facing eating disorders deal with an intricate combination of societal pressure, biological issues and mental challenges. It’s important to observe not just a person’s eating habits but also their overall behavior if you believe they have an eating disorder. If they’re being extremely diligent about their diet or working out excessively in combination with being over-concerned with their weight, you may need to confront them about their physical and mental health.

Our nation’s obsession with thinness and appearance are hurting a large number of people. We need to shift the focus of appearance to fitness and not thinness. Weight and health are not directly related like diet commercials would have you believe. Organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association are working to give everyone the tools to see the warning signs of an eating disorder and help those looking for recovery to find help.

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