Living with an eating disorder is a challenge as the implications go beyond the physical ones. The worst part is that one never even realizes how big the problem can get. A patient feels conscious about the disorder because it makes them lonely. Often, people end up misunderstanding their behavior. If a loved one suffers from an issue such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating disorder (BED), you can do your bit to help. You can actually bring light into their life by understanding their battle and helping them to overcome their struggle. Here are some actionable tips to help a loved one deal with an eating disorder.
Start a conversation
An eating disorder is much like a mental illness, so the stigma around it is a cause of concern. Your loved one may feel apprehensive and uncomfortable about discussing their feelings. But you can assist them by starting a conversation that opens the door to healing. Ask them to share their struggles while being gentle and empathic. Make a genuine effort to listen and understand their concerns. Having someone around to listen can make them strong enough to deal with the challenge.
Use positive language about food
People with eating disorders have to handle more than their thoughts and emotions. Life gets tough when everyone around sees to discuss weight, healthy eating, and body image. You can be a pillar of support for your partner by highlighting the positive aspects of eating. Avoid discussions about diets and focus on taste and nutrition. Ditch the idea of being the food police for the patient. Instead, suggest healthy options they can enjoy without worrying about weight and calories.
Know their disease
It is crucial to understand the disease your loved one suffers from. You need not be an expert. But basic information can take you a long way. Remember that each eating disorder is different and requires a specific line of treatment. You must understand the problem first. For example, body dysmorphic disorder treatment requires helping the patient who perceives their image negatively. If you can make self-acceptance easier for them, they can handle their eating disorder better.
Shower them with love
A person going through an eating disorder needs to feel positive emotions to address their woes. You can do your bit by showering them with love and care. It boosts their self-esteem, which is essential for resolving mental illness. Do what it takes to remind them of their worth. Be vocal about your love and appreciation for them. Besides positive affirmation with words, indulge in random acts of kindness. Surprise them with an unexpected gift, date night, or holiday plan.
When eating disorders take a serious form, the only way to address them is by seeing a specialist. The patient may not even realize they need help, but you can make a difference by getting it for them. Find a seasoned professional who can counsel them and offer long-term treatment for the issue. You can even find a support group they can join so that they do not feel alone.
Eating disorders are more common than you imagine, but it is possible to address them. If your loved one suffers from the issue, follow these tips to help them deal with its implications.