Friends with Eating Disorders
Eating Disorders - Do's and Don'ts
- Learn about eating disorders so you will know the signs when you see them.
- Recognize eating disorders are potentially fatal diseases and treat them accordingly.
- Listen to your friend with understanding, respect, and sensitivity.
- Tell the person that you are concerned, you care, and that you would like to help.
- Suggest the person seek professional help from a physician and/or therapist.
- Be available when your friend needs someone.
- Talk about things other than food, weight, counting calories, and exercise. Attempt to discuss feelings instead.
- Share your own struggles.
- Don't take any action alone. Get help.
- Stay calm. These things take time. If frustrated, take a break and plan to resume the discussion at a later time.
- Don't try to solve the problem for them. They need a qualified professional.
- Don't blame them for doing something wrong or tell them they are acting silly.
- Don't gossip about them.
- Don't focus on weight, the number of calories being consumed, or particular eating habits.
- Don't make comments about a person's appearance. Concern about weight loss may be interpreted as a compliment and comments about weight gain may be seen as criticism.
- Don't be afraid to upset them--talk to them.
- Don't reject or ignore them--they need you.
- Don't get involved in a power struggle around eating or other symptoms.
Copyright 2005 National Eating Disorders Association. Permission is granted to copy and reprint materials for education purposes only.