Sunday, September 13, 2009

How to Help Your Friend with an Eating Disorder

So, you think your friend has an eating disorder. What do you do? How can you be supportive? What next? I am hoping this will help you find some ways to help. It is a long journey, and your friend will probably be scared,angry, upset and may not even admit they have a problem. It starts with that first step when they say they have a problem.

I admitted that I had a problem that day in the hospital, but did not want to go in for treatment. I thought of every reason why I shouldn't. I also kept saying, "I'm okay," "I'll change," "I'll stop," etc.

I really had to get to the point where I realized that I was helpless over this disease and that I needed help immediately. I was blessed that there was an opening at the hospital in Kansas City where the physicians in St. Joseph thought I should go. I went in less than a week after admitting that I had a problem with eating.

How do you support your friend? Here is a link that I posted a few days ago, but I liked it Teens Health from Nemours and a little of what they have to say:

Being a supportive friend also means learning how to behave around someone with an eating disorder. Here are some ways to support a friend who is battling an eating problem:

  • Try your best not to talk about food, weight, diets, or body shape (yours, your friend's, or even a popular celebrity's).
  • Try not to be too watchful of your friend's eating habits, food amounts, and choices.
  • Try not to make statements like, "If you'd just eat (or stop working out so much), you'll get better."
  • Focus on your friend's strengths — that he or she has a great smile, is helpful and friendly, or good at math or art.
  • Try to avoid focusing on how your friend looks physically.

Most important, remind your friend that you're there no matter what. You want to help him or her get healthy again. Sometimes you'd be surprised how asking simple questions such as "what can I do to help?" or "what would make you feel better?" can lead to a great conversation about how you can help your friend heal.

Teens Health from Nemours

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