How to support someone with an eating disorder
Talking to someone about their eating disorder may feel scary – but ultimatley, your intentions are good and your intervention might be the spark that is needed to take action.
Picking a good time is key to this – choosing a time where you might be able to speak privately, without distraction or constraints and in a relaxed environment is more likely to help generate the kind of supportive and understanding conversation that benefits you both.
Explaining why you’re concerned may also help – but be careful not to criticise or lecture so as to avoid any defensive reaction. Really, your focus should be on understanding the issue and the contributing factors – there shouldn’t be any blame or fault attached.
On that note – when supporting or talking to someone about their disorder, it is important that you are prepared for denial and/or resistance. There’s a good chance your loved one may deny having a disorder or become angry, defensive or distant.
Consider asking the person whether they have reason to change. This might not always be for themselves – it may be to spend more time with others, to be able to return to work, school, group activities or otherwise.
And finally, be patient and supportive. Don’t give up if you’re shut down at the first attempt. It may take some time before someone is willing to open up. The important thing is that they know you’re there for them and ready to have that supportive and understanding conversation.