Published: Oct. 12, 2009
Updated: Oct. 12, 2009
Many people feel very intimidated by the idea of approaching a friend or loved one who they fear may be struggling with an eating disorder. Unfortunately, often these fears may prevent people from reaching out.
Individuals with eating disorders need support. Don't be afraid to break the silence. In fact, they may interpret silence as "I must not have a problem."
Of additional importance, research has shown that the sooner someone gets to treatment, the better their prognosis. Thus, we urge you to speak and to speak quickly -- don’t wait for symptoms to worsen before you address them.
Some wonderful things have been written about approaching individuals with your concerns. We refer you to some of these materials with our links below.
However, we wish to offer one important caveat. In younger individuals, individuals 18 and younger, the family takes a more active role and treatment must often initially proceed in the face of resistance.
It is important to recognize that eating disorders are coping strategies. If someone fears that their coping strategy is about to be taken away, then they are likely to feel afraid. This may look like anger or resistance to help. Thus, the material written can offer some helpful suggestions on ways to be supportive and helpful in the face of the person’s fears.
We commend you on reading through this section as you have already demonstrated your caring devotion by taking the time to read more about these disorders.