Living with Someone with an Eating Disorder

Someone with an eating disorder life’s prime focus is his or her weight. Everything they consume they look for calories, grams of fat and weight, which gives them a sense of being in control. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorders are three chronic eating disorders.

Anorexia nervosa is severe weight loss due to extreme food reduction.

Bulimia nervosa results in frequent fluctuations in weight, due to periods of uncontrollable binge eating, followed by purging.

Binge-eating disorder is often triggered by chronic dieting and involves period of overeating. Eating is usually done in secret for binge eating.

Living with someone with an eating disorder is not easy and can leave a person feeling helpless. It is important for you to let your love one know how you feel about them and that you want them to be healthy. Treatment for eating disorders involves a medical assessment, nutritional guidance, support, medical follow-up, individual, group and family therapy. The impact of an eating disorder in a family might effect the whole family therefore everyone would benefit from counselling.

Tips on how to help someone with an eating disorder:

  • Encourage them to seek professional help
  • Take focus off of food and weight
  • Mealtimes should not be a time to show emotions or frustration
  • Consider promoting independence as a long-term goal- it is important for the person to work toward being able to control him or herself.
  • Separate the person from the disorder
  • Build their self esteem
  • Be patient and look after yourself- it is important for you to have a positive mind and body in order to help your loved one properly.

Even after treatment the person suffering from an eating disorder will still need support because recovering may take a long time and a lot of practice to keep on track.

There are helpful websites for more information: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/teengirls/Pages/treatmentforeatingdisorders.aspx

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