Eating disorders can have a severe impact on anybody’s life, and it can also start affecting those that love them. If a member of your family or a close friend is suffering from eating disorders, they will need professional, medical help at some point. But, they will also need support from their loved ones. Here are a few things to expect, and how to help them through this tough period.
First of all, how do you know when someone is suffering from an eating disorder? Rapid weight loss is an obvious pointer for you, but there are other things to watch out for, too. They may start to withdraw from their social lives, or you might find evidence. Lots of chocolate wrappers in a bedroom, for example, or evidence of vomiting. It can be tricky to approach people when they have an eating problem, but it is important to bring it up. When people lose a lot of weight, they may not be able to think clearly for themselves, and it might be down to a doctor to arrange special treatment for them.
What to expect
The vast majority of eating disorders get treatment as an outpatient. This is when they still live at home and have appointments with their doctor or local health service. It could be once a week, or once a fortnight, depending on their state of mind and current condition. In severe cases, they may have to go to a hospital. They could be suffering from severe malnutrition, for example. So, overnight stays with intensive support might be necessary. Another option is counselling, as eating disorders tend to arise when there are other, underlying issues. For example, according to psychologists from People Solution, they can often arise due to body image issues. Whatever route your friend or relative takes, ensure that you give them the support that they need. We’ll take a look at that now.
How to act around them
There isn’t much you can do around someone with an eating disorder, other than be there for them and try to keep caring for them. Be wary of your own anxieties. It’s important not to be judgemental, and keep on including them in family activities or days out. You can also try boosting their confidence by telling them how much you care, or how great they are as a person. It’s vital that you don’t try to come up with solutions to their problems, or take them to task for their actions. This can help them support their idea that they are alone, and no one really understands them.
Finally, make sure that you still offer support after they have finished their treatment. Professional help is only the first part of the process, and although people will get the help they need, it can take a long time to recover properly. They will need all the help and support they can get to prevent them falling into their old behaviour again. There are plenty of charities out there that can offer you support, so take a look and see if you can find suitable help.
This article is shared by S.Tomilson is a researcher and writer. He has held a Junior Research Fellowship at St John’s College. Currently he is associated with shanpar a leading supplier of Magnesium citrate india.