If you suspect a family member or friend has an eating disorder, you may find it difficult to bring up the subject with them. In reality, the person suffering from an eating disorder may be too embarrassed to ask for help. The social consequences of having an eating disorder can be just as devastating as its effects on a person’s health. If you see signs of an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia, or binging, you should consult with a professional who specializes in eating disorders, and see what kind of help can be provided.
Often, people with eating disorders try to hide their actions, but there are usually warning signs that signal a problem exists. People with eating disorders obsess about gaining weight and counting calories. They often skip meals, pick at their food, and refuse to go out on social events involving food. They may eat normally but immediately go to the bathroom to purge, or take large amounts of laxatives and diet pills. If you see signs of an eating disorder, it is best to intervene early for the best chance at recovery.
Try to talk to your family member or friend in a private, nonconfrontational manner. Do not try to judge or dismiss the person’s fear of gaining weight. Instead, talk about your concerns about the person’s health and the social consequences of having an eating disorder. Give your loved one an outlet to express their fears without ridicule or judgment. Being supportive and providing professional resources to a person with an eating disorder is always the best approach to a full recovery.