Supporting Someone With an Eating Disorder

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Supporting Someone With an Eating Disorder

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When a loved one has an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating and is in treatment, you can show support by:

  • Showing and stating your love.
  • Avoiding the temptation to control the person.
  • Trusting that your loved one has developed his or her own high values, ideals, and standards.
  • Encouraging self-responsibility for his or her actions, both successes and setbacks.
  • Offering support during times of discouragement.

You can also help by:

  • Not watching or talking about how much he or she eats.
  • Not urging him or her to eat or not eat, unless this is part of the plan for treatment.
  • Avoiding comparisons with other people.
  • Listening to feelings.
  • Not allowing yourself to be controlled by his or her behaviour.

If you struggle with handling your feelings and interactions with someone who has an eating disorder, talk with a health professional. Counselling, such as family therapy, can help you learn ways to encourage healthy eating behaviours in children and teens who have eating disorders.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. Stewart Agras, MD - Psychiatry
Specialist Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Last Revised October 28, 2009

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.