Talking to Someone with an Eating Disorder

When talking to someone with an eating disorder about their condition, keep in mind that it will likely be awkward and uncomfortable, both for you and for the person to whom you are speaking.

And by “more than likely”, I mean most definitely.

Many people with eating disorders try to hide the problem from friends and family members. If someone you care about shows signs of an eating disorder, it may be vital for you to approach the subject. Here are a few helpful things to keep in mind when talking to someone with an eating disorder:

  • Don’t make the focus of the conversation weight or food; they aren’t the real issues.
  • Don’t talk about their weight or appearance.
  • Let them know they aren’t alone, that you love them and that you want to help however you can.
  • Don’t make the dinner table a battleground and don’t try to make them eat.
  • Encourage loved ones with eating disorders to get professional help.
  • Don’t blame them for problems and don’t be angry at them. They have an illness and it’s not their fault.
  • When talking to someone with an eating disorder, listen to their feelings and insecurities. Don’t be in a hurry to give advice or try to solve the problem for them. Be a friend. Don’t try to take on the role of therapist.
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