People can and do recover from eating disorders but professional support alongside that of family and friends is nearly always required.
Encouraging someone with an Eating Disorder to seek help can be a delicate task. However it is a crucial first step in their recovery.
It can be scary and challenging for people with an eating disorder to take the first step towards recovery. Approach the person you care about in a non-confrontational and open way indicating your concern and wish to help. Speak in a direct and straight-forward way about what you have observed and are concerned about. Offer support and encourage the person to speak about their concerns.
"Take a Non-judgemental Stance"
Try to avoid having the person feel blamed or guilty. Eating Disorders are not a choice or lifestyle the person is making. Excuses for not attending appointments or follow-up appointments are to be expected as the person may feel quite conflicted about recovery. Discuss openly the challenges of making changes, of letting go of the Eating Disorder and of seeking help.
Recovery from an eating disorder can have many ups and downs and side roads. The person needs support as they navigate through their unique journey, which sometimes might look like they are going backwards. Focus on feelings and emotions not weight and food. Listen out for the part of them that wants to get well. Remind them of why they want to get well; interests, goals, motivations.
Inform yourself about the nature of eating disorders, how they can take over the person and make it difficult to ask for help. Learn about some of the treatment options available so you can support the person in thinking about ways which might help them when they are ready.
Bodywhys.ie have lots of information and materials about this on their website.
"Ensure you get your own support"
Holding hope for on-going recovery and continuing to provide support can be stressful for the family member or friend. Make sure that you have someone you can talk to about the challenges of the situation, have regular breaks from your supporting role as needed and engage in enjoyable and satisfying social and leisure activities that replenish your resources.
Families and significant others are routinely involved in our treatment programmes with the participants consent. They are invited to attend the Family Support Groups and Individual Family Sessions.
Eating Disorders not only impact on the person’s well-being but also on their relationships and home life. Participants are actively encouraged to involve the key people in their life in their recovery.
Support and education is vital for family and friends at a time of worry, confusion and eagerness for recovery. Providing support to families around ensuring their own self care and wellbeing, and creating a recovery atmosphere in the home and in their interactions has been proven to enhance the person's recovery.