How to Help A Friend With An Eating
If you have observed behaviors in your friend to
roommate that are suggestive of an eating disorder, you are in a position to help that
- Make a plan when you approach the person.
- Present the situation in a caring but straight forward way. State
what you have observed and what your concerns. Tell them that
you are worried and want to help.
- Give the person time to talk and encourage them to verbalize their
feelings. Ask questions. Listen!
- Do NOT argue about whether there is or isn't a problem! Power
struggles will not help you at all!
- Provide information about treatment. Offer to go with the person
to their therapy.
- If you are concerned that the eating disorder is a serious or
life-threatening ask for the help of a doctor, therapist, etc. BEFORE you intervene
- If the person denies that they have a problem, if they become
angry, or if they refuse treatment, understand that this is often part of the illness.
Besides, they have the right to refuse treatment (unless their life is in danger).
- DO NOT try to be a hero or a rescuer, you probably will be
resented. Do the best you can on several occasions, and remember that eating disorders are
- Eating disorders are usually not emergency situations. But, if the
person is suicidal or otherwise in serious danger, GET PROFESSIONAL HELP IMMEDIATELY!
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