Knowing how to support a friend or family member who struggles with eating disorders can be difficult. Many people who have someone in their life that struggles with ED do not know where to begin in helping them with their recovery. There are many caveats to each disorder and different people will require different types of support.
We have gathered a list of tips that give some general guidance on how to support those you love who battle with an ED - we hope these help!
🔅 Remind your loved one that they are loved
🔅 Remind your loved one that they are not to blame for their eating disorder
🔅 Remind your loved one that they have your support on this journey
🔅 Take some time to educate yourself about eating disorders (more specifically theirs)
🔅 Ask your loved one questions and get to know how they are feeling and where they are at in terms of recovery
🔅 Be patient as recovery has its ups and downs
🔅 Avoid talking about food, diets, and body appearances in front of them
🔅 Be a role model for a healthy and balanced relationship with food and body image
🔅 Find ways to remind your loved one about all of the non-physical things you love about them
🔅 Plan activities that will get their mind off their disorder and boost their mood
🔅 Make them feel included in plans and events
🔅 Ask about what you can do to be the most helpful in specific situations and scenarios - be receptive to feedback from them
🔅 Guide them as they develop a more healthy relationship with food, exercise, and body image
🔅 Inform them of other resources that they can access if needed
🔅 Make sure they have a professional they can go to for help with more difficult issues
Remember that it's okay to not have all the answers. Sometimes, all someone needs is to feel seen and to know that someone else is there for them.
It's important to remember to take care of yourself as well. Eating disorders have negative effects on all parties involved, and your health and wellbeing matters as well. Recovery isn't easy, so just do your best and offer whatever amount of support you can. 🧡
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Jack is an intern at Beanbag Health. He is a senior at the University of Connecticut, majoring in Management. Jack states that he has already learned so much during his time at Beanbag Health and feels excited to be a part of a company that is working towards making eating disorder recovery support more accessible. He is looking forward to a future where everyone will be able to access affordable and effective mental health care.
Clinically Reviewed By:
Iain is a consultant psychiatrist with postgraduate training in medicine, psychiatry, complexity science, and healthcare informatics. He's fascinated by the relationship between physical health and mental health and has extensive experience with eating disorder patients in inpatient settings. He's an honorary senior clinical lecturer at University of Oxford. His passion is making psychological strategies for recovery available to all.