Thursday, June 16, 2022

How To Confront A Friend With An Eating Disorder

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Warning Signs Of An Eating Disorder

My Friend Has An Eating Disorder, How Can I Help?!

Many people worry about their weight, what they eat, and how they look. This is especially true for teenagers and young adults, who face extra pressure to fit in and look attractive at a time when their bodies are changing. As a result, it can be challenging to tell the difference between an eating disorder and normal self-consciousness, weight concerns, or dieting. Further complicating matters, people with an eating disorder will often go to great lengths to hide the problem. However, there are warning signs you can watch for. And as eating disorders progress, the red flags become easier to spot.

How To Support Treatment

If your loved one wont acknowledge that they have a problem with BPD, you may want to consider couples therapy. Here, the focus is on the relationship and promoting better communication, rather than on your loved ones disorder. Your partner may more readily agree to this and eventually consider pursuing BPD therapy in the future.

Encourage your loved one to explore healthy ways of handling stress and emotions by practicing mindfulness and employing relaxation techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation. Sensory-based stimulation can also help them to relieve stress in the moment. Again, you can participate in any of these therapies with your loved one, which can strengthen your bond and may encourage them to pursue other avenues of treatment as well.

By developing an ability to tolerate distress, your loved one can learn how to press pause when the urge to act out or behave impulsively strikes. HelpGuides free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit offers a step-by-step, self-guided program to teach your loved one how to ride the wild horse of overwhelming feelings while staying calm and focused.

Setting goals for BPD recovery: Go slowly

When supporting your loved ones recovery, its important to be patient and set realistic goals. Change can and does happen but, as with reversing any kind of behavior pattern, it takes time.

Encourage Them To Use Supports

It can be helpful for someone going through an eating disorder to seek external support, such as going for counselling or joining a support group with people who will understand them and what theyre going through. The important piece here is not to force the person into getting help, but simply encourage them. Getting the right support is important because there may be issues that they need to talk about that will require someone who is trained and is impartial in the relationship.

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How To Support A Friend With An Eating Disorder

It took me a long time to realize that my best friend had an eating disorder. In the high school cafeteria, our table was always busy joking or studying, and it never even occurred to me to notice how much she was eating. Later, when we were home on break from college, Id suggest going for a meal out. She would counter with heading to Whole Foods and picking up free samples throughout the store. I thought it was a fun game that fit into our budget as broke college students. It didnt occur to me that the singular popcorn kernels, the blueberries, or olives on toothpicks were all she would eat that day.

It was only after a vacation we took together that I realized the extent of the situation since we were together for every meal that week. At every meal, she offered to split a dish and I ended up eating the whole thing. Was it me? Was I being a pig? I tried to match my eating habits to hers and my blood sugar plummeted. This wasnt normal. I remember thinking: Why hadnt I noticed this earlier?

I remember returning home and gathering our mutual friends in a coffee shop. I think she might have an eating disorder, I said in a hushed voice. My friends stared at me. Obviously, one said. But what can we do?

The path to supporting a friend with an eating disorder is difficult to navigate because every person, including their needs and their preferences, is unique.

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This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Contact a qualified medical professional before engaging in any physical activity, or making any changes to your diet, medication or lifestyle.

This story makes mention of eating disorders that may be disturbing to some of our audience. To find support, contact the National Eating Disorder Information Clinic at 1-866-NEDIC-20.

The holiday season is often a time of increased social pressures, heightened emotions and stress.

Sure, in many ways its the most wonderful time of the year, filled with merry music and gift-giving and social gatherings. But for those struggling with mental illness, and more specifically those suffering from eating disorders, this time of year can present a host of challenging triggers thatwithout support and constructive coping mechanismsmay lead people to fall back into self-destructive, unhealthy behaviours.

Sue Bowles knows this all too well. Although the life coach and public speaker has struggled with food throughout her life, the holidays often make it particularly challenging to remain on her path of recovery.

Bowles says conversations about diet culture, exercise plans and eating behaviours around the table can also send her into a tailspin. If she cant be around family for whatever reason , the loneliness and isolation can likewise be a trigger.

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Tips For Helping Your Friend

  • Try not to mention skipping meals
  • Dont make jokes about how much your friend is eating

    Although it may seem like a harmless joke, your friend is probably following a difficult meal plan or perhaps trying a fear food that is a challenge for them. Even though your friend knows that you are joking, they may be insecure and uncertain about eating and this may possibly lead them to feel self-conscious eating around you.

Even though your friend knows that you are joking, they may be insecure and uncertain about eating .

Just because your friend may have been discharged, or seems to be eating, this does not necessarily mean they are 100% better.

Remember your friend does not need you to fully understand their situation, they just need you to support them and be there for them.

Remember your friend does not need you to fully understand their situation, they just need you to support them and be there for them.

When James Was Ill He Completely Lost His Sex Drive He Was Taken Over By Eating Disordered

Ive always, a in my previous kind of long term relationship that was never an element of it, but also because I dont think of myself in that way. I dont, and its only, its literally only been since coming to Uni that kind of other guys have started to comment on my appearance, and you kind of think, Oh maybe Im not actually horrifically unattractive, you know. And its reassuring that kind of there is, you know people see you in that kind of positive light. That you, I just didnt think that people did at all, and its not how I thought about myself. So its kind of only impacted positively really. And also like having someone else there who you know finds you attractive and you know, in terms of your personality and your looks, kind of gives you the confidence to take those like big jumps that you need to sometimes with food.

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How To Talk To Someone About Their Eating Disorder

The decision to make a change is rarely an easy one for someone with an eating disorder. If the eating disorder has left them malnourished, it can distort the way they thinkabout their body, the world around them, even your motivations for trying to help. Bombarding them with dire warnings about the health consequences of their eating disorder or trying to bully them into eating normally probably wont work. Eating disorders often fill an important role in the persons lifea way to cope with unpleasant emotionsso the allure can be strong. Since you may be met with defensiveness or denial, youll need to tread carefully when broaching the subject.

Pick a good time. Choose a time when you can speak to the person in private without distractions or constraints. You dont want to have to stop in the middle of the conversation because of other obligations! Its also important to have the conversation at a time of emotional calm. Dont try to have this conversation right after a blow up.

Explain why youre concerned. Be careful to avoid lecturing or criticizing, as this will only make your loved one defensive. Instead, refer to specific situations and behaviors youve noticed, and why they worry you. Your goal at this point is not to offer solutions, but to express your concerns about the persons health, how you much you love them, and your desire to help.

What not to do

Eating Disorders: Helping A Friend

Confronting my best friend about my eating disorder.

Being a friend to someone with an eating disorder can sometimes be very challenging. It is normal to feel frustrated, worried and scared for your friend, especially if s/he isnt able to admit that there is a serious problem. Being secretive about eating and exercising is a common characteristic of an individual with an eating disorder, and you may feel that you have to watch over your friend to make sure s/he is taking care of her/himself. The truth is that you have very limited influence on your friends eating habits, and it is ultimately her/his decision about what and how s/he eats. This is not to say that you should give up on or reject your friend who has an eating disorder. People who have sought treatment for an eating disorder often emphasize how important the ongoing support of their friends and family was to their eventual recovery. They say that having friends who both continued to believe in them, and also to relate to them beyond just their eating disorder was crucial in their taking steps toward health.

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Encouraging A Person To Get Help

Aside from offering support, the most important thing you can do for a person with an eating disorder is to encourage treatment. The longer an eating disorder remains undiagnosed and untreated, the harder it is on the body and the more difficult it is to overcome, so urge your loved one to see a doctor right away.

A doctor can assess your loved ones symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis, and screen for any medical problems that might be involved. The doctor can also determine whether there are any co-existing conditions that require treatment, such as depression, substance abuse, or an anxiety disorder.

If your friend or family member is hesitant to see a doctor, ask them to get a physical just to put your worries to rest. It may help if you offer to make the appointment or go along on the first visit.

She May Feel That You Have Betrayed Hernothing Is Further From The Truth

“What do I do if I think my friend has an eating disorder?” At all the psychoeducational workshops I have led with adolescents, this question is asked. With the increasing prevalence of eating disorders across all age groups, there is a good chance that at least one teen in the group will have a friend with either anorexia or bulimia.

This is actually a two-part question. The first part is: how does one express one’s concerns about a friend’s perceived eating disorder and encourage her/him to seek help? The second component is:once a friend is in treatment, how does one support her/him through what is often a very difficult treatment process?

In response to part one, sometimes I do a role play with the group. I suggest that the concerned friend choose a quiet time and place where there are few distractions, where it feels safe for the concerned friend to express her feelings and concerns and where the teen who may have an eating disorder feels safe to respond.

In a nonjudgmental and calm way use “I” statements. For example, instead of stating, “You look too skinny,” try, “I value our friendship,” or, “You mean a lot to me and I have noticed that you don’t like to do things after school anymore. You no longer come to parties. I miss sitting with you in the cafeteria at lunch time. I’m concerned. Is there something wrong?”

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Educate Yourself About Eating Disorders

In order to be a good supporter, it will be important for you to learn more about eating disorders. Eating disorders are very poorly understood by the general population and myths abound.

Understanding the facts about eating disorders can be a great place to start. You’ll learn easy-to-understand facts like eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.” Even if this eating disorder started out as a diet, your loved one did not choose for it to tip over into a disorder.

Other helpful resources include several major eating disorder organizations which have informative websites and other material to support carers.

Dont Make It About Food

How To Deal With An Eating Disorder?

This is, far and away, the most important thing to keep in mind when talking to a friend with an eating disorder. Instead of making the conversation about weight, focus on the personâs behavior and mood, instead. âFood isnât truly the issue, itâs the secondary issue,â says Cipullo. âThe primary issue is something else â maybe thereâs anxiety, or depression, or some sort of trauma underlying.â

Frame the discussion by saying something along the lines of âIâve noticed your mood changing,â or âIâve noticed youâve seemed less happy,â or even âIâve noticed youâve seem uncomfortable around food,â instead of saying something about their weight or eating habits, which could cause them to get defensive.

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What To Do If You Continue To Be Concerned About Your Friend

If you are still worried about your friend or would like more support in helping her/him, the Counseling Center is available for consultation about how to handle the situation. Consultations with the Counseling Center are free and confidential. Depending on the level of concern, the psychologist might suggest you inform someone who can take action to directly address the problem. The psychologist will help you to determine what can be done to help your friend, and is available to provide support for you as well. Appointments can be made by calling 519-4050 or stopping by Room 206, Health Services Building.

General Tips For Supporting Someone

  • Recognise that you are not to blame.
  • Acknowledge to your loved one that they are not to blame.
  • Recognise how distressing the illness is for your loved one.
  • Educate yourself about eating disorders where you can.
  • Ask your loved one how they are feeling and what they are thinking, rather than making assumptions.
  • Avoid discussing weight, shape, food, and diets in front of your loved one, and model a balanced relationship with your own food and exercise.
  • Remind yourself that things can change and reassure your loved one that recovery is possible.
  • Ask your loved one what you can do to help for example, helping them to stick to regular eating, putting in boundaries following mealtimes, having a space to talk about how they are feeling. Your loved one may respond that you can just leave them alone or that you cant do anything to help, so here it can be helpful to remind them you can hear their distress and how difficult things are, and you are there if they need you.
  • Recognise any accommodating or enabling behaviours behaviours that you do to help reduce your loved ones distress from the eating disorder, for example, cleaning up vomit or cooking different meals for them, but that collude with the disorder and cover up the negative consequences of the behaviours.

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Supports For People With Eating Disorders

You can find more information on eating disorders and on how to support a friend with an eating disorder through:

Eight Ways To Help Your Friend In Eating Disorder Recovery

How to Deal with Eating Disorders during the Holidays | BINGE EATING ADVICE

Having a friend in eating disorder recovery can be very daunting. You most likely will not know what they are going through, unless you have been in their shoes, and you may not know what to say or what not to say. Being supportive after your friend leaves treatment is just as important as being supportive before and during treatment. After treatment is usually the toughest time for someone who is struggling with an eating disorder and thats when friends are needed the most. Being able to know when and how to assist can help keep your loved one on their recovery journey.

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Where To Start Helping Someone

Signals and symbols help guide us as we navigate our way through everyday tasks. Red lights indicate that we need to stop. Green lights tell us to go. The flashing yellow light warns us to proceed with caution and stay alert.

Yet even with that guidance, we sometimes still have trouble navigating traffic. Similarly, when you notice warning signals of a friend suffering from an eating disorder, you may struggle with how to proceed.

Its not an easy issue. It can be difficult to affect change in people, and it can be difficult to gauge how a friend will respond if you try to intercede. However, there are ways you can help.

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