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Supporting Someone Who Has an Eating Disorder

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

When a loved one has an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating and is in treatment, it is important that you show support.

Personal support

You can show personal support by:

You can also help by:

Family therapy and counseling

Many people struggle with handling their feelings and interactions with someone who has an eating disorder. Counseling, such as family therapy, can help you learn ways to encourage healthy eating behaviors in children and teens who have eating disorders.

Counseling can be a big help to everyone in your family, whether it means seeing a counselor alone, as a couple, or as a family. Each family member may need reassurance or counseling at different times during the course of the illness.

Remember the big picture

Eating disorders happen for many different reasons. Many people who have an eating disorder come from families in which other members have eating disorders or have other conditions such as depression. This doesn't mean that a family member caused the disorder. It simply means that these conditions seem more likely to happen in that family.

You can avoid guilt and self-blame by using the following tips.


Credits for Supporting Someone Who Has an Eating Disorder

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
W. Stewart Agras MD, FRCPC - Psychiatry


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