What would you recommend someone to do if they noticed someone close to them has an eating disorder?
I had a friend years ago that was clearly bulimic. We travelled together to Europe and that is where it became apparent to me. She was very secretive about it but eventually, since she had such a distorted body image and was in such denial I did confront her because I could not stand playing lets pretend anymore. Because we were travelling together, I had concrete evidence and just laid it out there. She totally stonewalled me and then dropped me as soon as the trip was done. I don't know what happened to her--have not seen her for years..... but I remember with sadness her denial of reality and how she disappeared into her own little world of addiction.
Confrontation does not always help, but I am still glad I did it. I think that if someone close to you has an eating disorder you need to give them the chance to face it, but if they choose not to do that, perhaps you have to just let them go.
First, it depends on the age of that person, if juvenile, I would go to parents. If adult, it would depend on the nature of the relationship with the person and the specific condition as to what I would consider doing about it. Sometimes it is not our place to judge or make decisions how others live their lives, but when it is an obvious harmful condition or out of control situation....well maybe time for intervention of some sort. Talk the person about how they feel about the situation and that you have noticed something that seems unhealthy or unusual and wanted to talk about it.
That person might be in denial or refuse to speak about it. If so....not sure how you could proceed without harming the relationship and loosing the ability to be helpful. Hard call.
I would suggest that they talk candidly openly and if acceptable also offer prayer, and ascertain if the person has a doctor to help them.
As a recovering anorexic. I will say that the best thing that you can do is to be honest. Tell the person that you have noticed their strange behavior and that you are worried. Like I said many people with eating disorder don't really understand how serious the disease is. They think that they got it under control. Get the person to see a doctor! It is so important because when you have a diagnose, everything becomes real and scary. That might help the person to wan't to recover. What you as the friend/family member should do is to be there for the person and listen. Don't judge even if you think it's hard not to. People with an eating disorder feels extremely guilty and shameful. So yelling will never help. Just be kind, loving and understanding. And never ever force a person with an eating disorder to eat, that is awful and will only make the problem worse.
try to be understanding and not confrontational this could be signs of depression so work on the emotions as well and try to get to the root cause of the problem . It could even be loneliness so try and make time to eat together and encourage the person to drink lots of water to avoid dehydration, sweets and too much sugar may not be helpful .lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to start with may do the trick
Ask the person who has the eating disorder if they understand that they will never be satisfied with their appearance. If they understand that and want to quit the eating disorder, then help them. If they want to continue the eating disorder, don't push it. They will typically just go farther into the eating disorder if someone around them chooses the wrong treatment plan for them. It's a tricky situation.
If the person is under the age of 18, don't go to their parents. It starts family issues, grounding, tension in the family, all kinds of issues. I hated it when my family got into my anorexia. And because they didn't like it, I went further and remained at 96 pounds for 3 years. They grounded me because I wouldn't gain weight, but I just kept the same area because I wouldn't let them control me. After moving out of their home, I gained 33 pounds. I just lost 10 and feel perfectly fine. However, I'm now a workout fanatic.
I would talk to them about it without being pushy no matter what their age is. I would also make sure I speak to their parents or guardian if they are a minor. There are some situations where they will not admit anything and other situations where you will be told that it's not your place to bring up that subject. It is up to you to place the importance of a person's health and life above the importance of social do's and don'ts.
You have to confront such a thing head-on before they do serious damage to themselves. Even if they hate you for a while, they'll come back if they took that chance to get the necessary help and stick with it.
Sometimes, we have to be the bad guy to do right by our friends.
Have a good chat and open up the conversation politely.
It is through talking and understanding that will help the person. We need to know why or the cause that may result in such behavior. So, talking with the person and enable the person to open up to you will be important step.
Do not ever be confrontational with the person. When you address the problem, let them know that you know they are going through something very difficult, you do not understand (because you don't), and you will do what you can to support them without enabling them. If they are a minor, whether you think it's right or not, leave it up to them to tell their parents. Encourage it, and reassure them, but do not betray their trust unless they are in serious trouble. If you want to help the person, stop trying to help. Be a friend, be as empathetic as you can be, but do not try to force them to stop. Eating disorders are about control, not appearance. It may be a factor, but the root problem is that the person does not feel like they have any control in their life. By leaving the decision to get help up to them, you put the control in their hands, which is what they are looking for. Your job as a friend or loved one is to encourage them to heal, pray for them, and above everything love them. Do not judge them, no matter how hard it is. You would not persecute a person for having the flu, and eating disorders are an illness. If you take a confrontational approach you are creating a wall between you and the person. They will not trust you, and they will not let you in. By humbling yourself to their level, you reassure them that you are a friend, not their enemy. And don't expect them to want to get help. It will take time for them to take that step. You should not get angry if they refuse treatment, but keep on supporting them in their battle. I am saying this as a recovering bulimic, who has been confronted, and forced, and judged. I didn't want to get help until I met my husband, who accepted me as I am and left the choice up to me. He didn't enable me, he would give me ultimatums, like no kisses if...never anything truly threatening to me. By giving me the control over that choice, he built trust between us, whether he meant to or not. The most important thing to remember is that this is not about you. If you make it about you, ultimately you will damage the person more. Make sure they know that you are on THEIR team. You are fighting for THEM. I think that this is the only successful way to get through to someone who is being dominated with any mental illness, and especially eating disorders.
I will recommend that they go to an eating disorder treatment centers. This will help them a lot. To get to know more, visit them at: http://best-treatment-centers.com/
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