You’ve just learned that your loved one may be suffering from an eating disorder. What do you do now?
When you’re worried about someone you care for, check in with them, and see how they’re doing. Let them know that you’re there for them, no matter what.
It can be tough to know what to say, but just being there for them is one of the most meaningful things you can do. Read on for more tips on how you can show your support.
Seek professional help
If you think that your loved one might be suffering from an eating disorder, try seeking professional help. Eating disorders are serious and they require treatment.
Professionals who specialize in treating eating disorders can help your loved one get back on track. There are many different types of treatment available, so don’t hesitate to ask for suggestions. You might be surprised at how much progress your loved one can make with the right support.
Avoid making assumptions
Don’t make assumptions about what someone with a suspected eating disorder is going through. Sure, you may think you know what they’re dealing with, but unless you’ve been in that person’s shoes, you don’t know.
And the last thing someone with a suspected eating disorder needs is for you to make assumptions about them and their condition. It’s crucial to be understanding. Let them know that you’re there for them and that they can come to you with any questions or concerns they may have.
Listen to what they have to say
Chances are your loved one is probably feeling a range of intense emotions. They may be scared, ashamed, or regretful. They may also feel like they’re the only person who’s ever gone through this.
So train yourself to listen to them without critique. Let them know that you’re there for them and that you want to help, in whatever little ways you can. A listening ear can go a long way in helping someone feel supported.
Bring up your concerns in a non-judgmental way
It can be tricky to know what to say to someone who you think might be struggling with an eating disorder. On the one hand, you want to let them know that you’re there for them. But on the other hand, you don’t want to say anything that might make them feel judged or misunderstood.
A wise thing to do is to bring up your concerns in a non-judgmental way. Try something like, “I’ve been noticing that you’ve been going through a tough time with your meals lately. Is there anything I can do to help?” This will let them know that you’re there for them, without making them feel like they’re being accused of anything.
If you’re worried about a loved one, be supportive. Wait patiently until they’re ready to talk about the details and don’t push them if they’re not ready. Never judge. Eating disorders are complex and it’s good to remember that everyone’s journey is unique. However, for severe cases, encourage them to seek therapy and offer to accompany them if they are comfortable with the suggestion.