Act Now: Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder
Eating disorders are serious health conditions that require professional help. If you think a friend might be developing a disorder, encourage them to get help. If that person, however, hides their behavior from everybody else, offer empathy and tell them that you will be there to listen if they want to open up.
Encourage Them to Talk
The main objective is to make them feel safe enough to get professional help. If your friend is hesitant to open up, you might want to find someone else they can trust and talk to. It could be a parent, teacher, school nurse, pastor, doctor, or psychologist. Eating disorder help centers note that if your friend still refuses to talk, it is best to tell a responsible and trusted adult.
It is likely that doing so will make your friend mad. Keep in mind, however, that eating disorder is a serious health problem and should not be kept a secret. Telling their loved one or a responsible adult can save their life. If you feel worried discussing their problem with someone, you could ask your loved ones for suggestions.
Don’t Delay Taking Action
It is important to note that the repercussions of eating disorders can worsen over time. All types of eating disorders feature severe disturbances in weight regulation and eating behavior. They are also linked to a range of adverse physical, psychological, and social consequences. When left untreated, the eating disorder can get difficult to overcome.
These medical illnesses are treatable, but they require the right support and commitment. They also co-exist with other health conditions such as anxiety disorder, depressions, or substance abuse. Certain symptoms can be life threatening if the person does receive medical help. Studies suggest that anorexia is associated with the highest mortality rate if psychiatric disorders.
Don’t let a friend or a loved one continue living with their eating disorder. Apart from offering support, give them hope for recovery. Reassure them that they can get better and previous failed attempts do not mean that they cannot get better.