Eating disorders are destructive, which is why they can be one of the hardest things for you to watch a loved one go through. From watching your loved one’s bones start to protrude to seeing their teeth and hair suffer the damage of purging to witnessing them gain weight from binge eating, it’s all very hard to bear.
It’s difficult for you; it feels impossible for them.
The worst part is that in many cases, eating disorders can start as a coping mechanism, which is what makes them so hard to quit. The person suffering needs to address both the eating disorder and the underlying cause. It’s a two-fold problem that can be very, very difficult to fix on one’s own.
That’s where you come in. With the right support and love, you can encourage them to get the help they need and be their rock while they readjust after completing their anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder treatment.
Help Them Understand What they are Doing
It can be very hard to bring up someone’s disorder, which is why interventions can often go a long way. Give them the resources to read up on the disorder or disorders you think they have based on the signs that you have noticed, and, most importantly, where they can get help.
Though there are certainly times when you go over their heads, such as if they have been hospitalized due to their eating disorder, if you catch it early enough, it is best for them to come forward first. Wanting to get better is the most important step.
Work with Their Recovery Treatment
Most recovery treatment programs will include a section that helps teach friends and family how to help their loved one continue their recovery at home. From what to say, to how to support them, these tips are so very important. Good will is great, but if you push in the wrong way, you can set them back two steps.
Understand Their Disorder Yourself
Knowing the signs is great. It helped you realize that they needed help. The next step is to understand why. Even if you might never know first-hand, understanding why someone would do something so destructive to themselves can help you remain judgment-free and help them with their recovery.
Help Them Build a New Life
Being surrounded by loved ones who care and love them for who they are is number one. Since you already love them, however, you are going to want to work with them to help build new healthy habits. Focus more on what they love to do and are great at to help build their self-esteem and confidence. Cook and eat with them so that they can help develop a healthier and more positive relationship with food. There are so many ways you can help them with their recovery, but there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Work with their therapist and with your loved one to come up with a workable plan of action that suits you all.