Eating disorders: How You Can Help a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders: How You Can Help a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

By: Hallie Katzman

Diet culture and body idealization are staples in society that often encourage people to overthink and become hyperaware of their body image, potentially leading to unhealthy relationships with food and exercise. Due to a combination of genetic and sociocultural factors, unfortunately eating disorders are very common and affect at least 9% of the population. Eating disorders take a strong mental, emotional and physical toll on peoples’ bodies. These symptoms can be scary or distressing for not only the person experiencing the symptoms firsthand, but also for their loved ones. Watching someone you care about struggle can make you feel helpless and worried.

Fortunately, there are supportive ways to help your loved one begin or continue their recovery journey. First, ask them if you can be involved in their eating disorder treatment to let them know that you are there for them and that you support them. Once the supportive, nonjudgmental relationship is fully established, you can consider encouraging them to go to therapy. This could mean group therapy, inpatient therapy or outpatient one on one therapy sessions with a mental health specialist. Additionally, supporting a loved one can be stressful or exhausting. Remember to take care of yourself and your own mental health as well. Be gentle towards your loved one and towards yourself and remember to not lose hope. Recovery is not always a linear process and the road to recovery may not always be easy, but it is possible.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or other mental health concerns, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New Jersey or New York to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at 201-368-3700 or 212-722-1920 to schedule an appointment. Please visit our website for more information.


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