3 Things You Need to Know About Helping a Person with an Eating Disorder

Health & Medical Blog

If you or someone that you love struggles with an eating disorder, you might wondering what you should do to help correct the problem. Many people who struggle with an eating disorder want help but are unable to get past the illness. Here are some things that you need to know about eating disorders.

1. An Eating Disorder Is Much Like an Addiction

When someone deprives themselves of food for long periods of time, their body becomes accustomed to the changes. Their brain and psyche will start to feel normal being hungry. In fact, it could become unnerving for them to eat food, and a person can soon become addicted to the feeling of being deprived from food.

This is why you need to treat the problem as an illness and addiction. Even if the disorder starts out as an act of defiance, the person soon becomes unable to stop. They may even want to live a normal life but no longer know how to have one. This is why the problem becomes so serious that some people become hospitalized and can even die. If you don't recognize the severity of the problem, you may not be able to fully help the individual.

2. The Underlying Causes Need to Be Understood

Many people mistakenly believe that all eating disorders are caused by poor body image. This is not necessarily the case. Although some may start as extreme dieting, other patients have eating disorders because of emotional pain. For example, if a child was sexually abused, they might have unhealthy views about themself and even hate themself. Because of these feelings, they deprive themselves of food. Another reason that the person may develop an eating disorder is to regain control. Food and their body is the one thing that they feel they can control, and so they deprive themselves of food. If you fail to recognize the underlying cause of the disorder, you may fail to treat it properly.

3. The Source, Not Just the Unhealthy Relationship with Food, Needs to Be Addressed

Some well-meaning individuals try to force individuals with eating disorders to eat. They believe that if they can just get them to eat, all will be well. Although you will have to help the person eat to stay healthy, the best results come when you treat the bigger problems at hand. You should get the individual therapy, such as through outpatient eating-disorder treatment, to help them deal with emotional pain and the eating disorder. By doing this you will experience the best results. 


8 September 2016