Evidence-Based Comprehensive Psychological, Nutritional and Medical Care

Anorexia Help: Helping a Friend with Anorexia

Encouraging a friend or family member who is suffering from anorexia to receive professional anorexia help and treatment is one of the most important things you can do to help promote that person’s recovery. However, because individuals suffering from anorexia can be defensive and tend to show signs of denial regarding their disorder, when encouraging a loved one to receive anorexia help, you should remember to express concerns gently and avoid being overwhelming, pushy, or blaming. Throughout the individual’s recovery process, it will be important to offer support and encouragement, but also to avoid coming on too strong and pushing the individual away. When offering anorexia help and support for a loved one, you should understand that the recovery process can be slow with the potential for slip-ups and relapses along the way.

Approaching Someone Who Needs Anorexia Help

If you believe that a friend or loved one may be suffering from anorexia, you should learn anorexia warning signs and symptoms. Recognizing these warning signs and symptoms can help you to know if your loved one needs help and treatment for anorexia. When approaching a friend or family member who you suspect may need anorexia help, it can be confusing and stressful. During the initial confrontation, it is most important to be prepared to listen to the individual. Additionally, you should be open and honest, while being cautious not to make your loved one feel threatened or accused, but instead allow them to feel encouragement and that you care. This involves sharing your honest concern for the individual. Be prepared to name specific situations where you have seen unhealthy behaviors.

Encouraging Professional Anorexia Help

Most individuals who suffer from anorexia require professional eating disorder treatment in order to recover from anorexia or any other eating disorder. However, for individuals suffering from an eating disorder, it can be difficult to admit that they need anorexia help and treatment. When your loved one is ready to accept help, you should be supportive. You can offer to find names of eating disorder professionals, eating disorder treatment centers, like McCallum Place, and anorexia support groups in order to help your friend begin the treatment program that is right for them. Parents of adolescents must insist on appropriate care because adolescents will not understand the long term dangers of their illness.

Providing Support and Anorexia Recovery Help for a Friend

Receiving support and help from friends and other family members is important for individuals during the anorexia recovery process. If someone you know is undergoing anorexia treatment, offering anorexia help and support is one of the most important things that you can do as a friend. This includes:

  • Listening to your friend when they need to talk
  • Being a good role model for healthy eating, exercising, and body image
  • Avoiding negative comments about your own body or anyone else’s
  • Avoiding constant talk about food and weight including how much weight the person has lost or gained or how much a food a person has or hasn’t eaten
  • Attending support groups for friends and family members of individuals receiving anorexia help to learn more about offering support and encouragement
Marks of Quality Care
  • Binge Eating Disorder Association (BEDA)
  • Eating Disorder Coalition of Iowa
  • International Association Of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP)
  • National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)
  • National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)
  • RenewED, Eating Disorders Support
  • Washington University in St. Louis

McCallum Place addresses all areas of your eating disorder. It’s so important to visit all these areas (physical, mental, emotional, and habitual) to fully understand your eating disorder and how to maintain your personal recovery.

– A Former Resident