How to Approach Someone with an Eating Disorder:
YOU CAN HELP BY:
• Admitting there is a problem that requires professional attention.
• Reading up on eating disorders. You will find information a valuable tool.
• Listening and being supportive. People with eating disorders are having serious difficulties and need your help. Listening and caring are more helpful than you think.
• Talking to the person about their eating problem. Don't be judgmental or critical. Just state what you've seen and suggest they seek help.
• Keeping the lines of communication open. Talk about how you feel and what your concerns and fears are. Talk as openly and honestly about the problem as you can.
• Living your own life as fully and normally as you can.
• Encouraging the person to seek treatment.
• Seeking professional counseling and support for yourself. If you're close to someone with an eating disorder, you'll need to deal with your own feelings about the problem and the progressive changes that occur during recovery.
YOU CAN WORSEN THE SITUATION IF YOU :
• Try to take control over the person's eating behavior. You can't stop the binger from bingeing and you can't make the anorexic individual eat. If you try, you're likely to fail.
• Fight about food. Look what happens when you do. Usually the entire situation gets worse and the relationship becomes strained.
• Use tactics like punishment, rewards, threats and guilt to change eating behavior.
• Get caught in a guilt trip. Blaming yourself for someone's eating problem serves no constructive purpose. It can cause added pain to yourself, as well as additional stress to the person with the eating disorder.
• Try to become that person's therapist. Eating disorders are serious problems requiring professional intervention. The advice and support of family and friends, though helpful, cannot take the place of psychological or medical treatment.
• Try to help by hiding the problem or helping them avoid dealing with the effects of their behavior.
• Avoid talking about the problem.
• Are not willing to get professional assistance for you.