Four Ways to Help a Friend Who Is Struggling With An Eating Disorder

It can be very difficult to watch someone you love struggle with an eating disorder, and naturally you want to help. There are several things you can do.

1) Talk to your friend and encourage them to seek treatment. Have the discussion one on one to share your concerns. You will want to start by letting them know the changes you have noticed. There are many treatment options, which you can explore online before sitting down together. Share what you learned and encourage them to get professional treatment. Offering to attend their first counseling session is a nice way to show your support.

2) Invite your friend to do things. Often times someone suffering from an eating disorder may feel like being alone and tend to withdraw socially. Continue to invite your friend to functions, even if he or she declines. The invitations alone can be a way of showing you care and may encourage them not to isolate.

3) Listen to your friend. Let your friend know that you will be there for support. This kind of support involves listening without judgment or criticism. Refrain from given advice or monitoring their behavior. It may be hard to listen to a friend when you disagree with what they are saying, but try to understand. The recovery process for an eating disorder can be challenging at times and having a friend to turn to can be a great resource for success in treatment.

4) Be hopeful. This may seem very simple, but it is huge. Encouraging your friend about the possibility of recovery can be quite impactful for someone who may be feeling hopeless. There are a lot of people who share online about their recovery. Search for and share inspiring stories with your friend. Relapse during treatment is common. If this happens, encourage your friend to keep going. Help them celebrate their progress and other such victories.

Eating disorders are complex conditions that can be very challenging for everyone involved. I’m so glad you are trying to help your friend. Please visit us online at for more information.