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When someone suffers from an eating disorder, they aren’t the only one involved. On the contrary, eating disorders affect the whole family. Therefore, families should usually be involved in treatment, for the benefit of both themselves and their loved one. Eating disorders can be difficult to understand, and when someone you love is experiencing anorexia, you may feel helpless or frightened. Furthermore, if you aren’t sure how to help, it’s possible you could try to help in ways that are in fact counterproductive.

Coping when a Family Member Has Anorexia

There are some steps you can take to help your loved one recover and take care of yourself emotionally during this difficult time. Remember to:

  • Be patient. Anorexia is a long-term illness and not one from which people recover overnight, even when the individual is involved in treatment for anorexia near Chatswood.
  • Do encourage treatment. Anorexia can be life-threatening, so professional help is essential to becoming healthy once again.
  • Seek help for yourself. Having a family member with an eating disorder is scary. You may have a wide range of feelings and not know how to handle them or what to say. A support group designed for family members or other therapy can be very helpful.
  • Expect denial. When you first approach your loved one about the disorder, don’t be surprised if their first reaction is one of denial or even anger.
  • Don’t assign blame. Blaming a person for their eating disorder only reinforces their feelings of failure.
  • Encourage non-food-related activities. Don’t dwell on discussions of food.
  • Avoid making comments about the person’s appearance or weight.
  • Don’t try to take control. Individuals with eating disorders generally feel a strong need for control over their daily routines. The situation may worsen if they feel as though someone is trying to take that control away.
  • Avoid making comparisons. People with eating disorders are often already dealing with low self-esteem.

Family Involvement in Anorexia Treatment near Chatswood

Depending on the circumstances, families require different levels of intervention and support. As a family member, you can most likely benefit from education and support while your loved one works on resolving their issues related to food and body image. It is important that family members receive accurate information about anorexia symptoms and treatment. You may benefit from support groups, which give you a chance to share your feelings and glean helpful information from other families dealing with similar issues. Some people who seek Chatswood anorexia treatment need significant support from their family members, while others do not desire any family support. Either way, you should find the type of help for yourself that you need.

BodyMatters Australasia is an eating disorder treatment clinic located in Neutral Bay. For ten years, we have been providing support and treatment for individuals with eating disorders and their families. With compassionate, evidence-based treatment strategies, we make it our priority to help our clients recover from their eating disorders and embrace new, healthy habits to improve their quality of life.