Eating Disorder Center of San Diego helps people identify the early signs of eating disorder and provide treatment assistance. So if someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder, here are some helpful tips to support you in relating to them while in treatment:
- Show tenderness and acknowledgment. Making changes can be challenging. Show appreciation with words, gestures and hugs.
- Be patient and kind. Just as it takes time for an eating disorder to develop, it also takes time to truly recover.
- Increase positive time spent together, free from eating disorder discussion. Fun and relaxation helps to create balance as well as renew the spirit and strengthen commitment to recovery.
- Seek support for yourself. Eating disorders are incredibly taxing on all involved. Finding your own support will help you remain positive as your loved one works toward recovery.
- Get informed. The more you know, the better prepared you will be for any challenges that may arise during the recovery process.
- Get into power struggles. Becoming dead-locked will feel entrapping for you both. Rather, express concern by using “I” statements instead of more implicating “you” statements.
- Play the “blame game.” Eating disorders are no one’s fault, rather, they result from a combination of many factors and experiences. Check in with whether you are feeling burnt out, helpless or alone and access support to respond to these inevitable emotions.
- Try to fix it for them. Eating disorders are serious diseases that require professional attention. Clients must partner with their treatment team and take ownership of their illness in order to successfully achieve recovery.
- Comment on body weight or appearance. This will often amplify negative feelings and trigger negative core beliefs of worthlessness.
- Alter your diet to accommodate your loved one’s issues with food. Maintain your healthy, normal diet. Setting such boundaries will support recovery.