Eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia can deeply affect the life of a person. A person suffering from an eating disorder might face various problems due to their uncontrollable urge to eat. It not only affects the health of the person, but also hampers relationships.
To be true, eating disorder is a matter of concern for both the person suffering from it and his/her families. However, here are some advices by Dr. Phil McGraw that can help you in dealing with a family member with some eating disorder:
1. Don’t let the eating disorder rule your life: If your family member is suffering from any of eating disorder, they might eat like crazy on the dining table, hide food from others, binge eat all the groceries and purge, or even get angry if someone else try to eat their food.
Also, most of the time other family members try to cooperate with the one with an eating disorder, by agreeing to whatever they say or do. However, Dr. Phil says that this kind of cooperation, either for the sake of love or goodwill, don’t help anyone but worsens the condition.
2. Don’t cut-off from rest of the world: Family members often avoid interacting with others because someone in their family is suffering from an eating disorder. They avoid being embarrassed by the behavior of someone in their family with an eating disorder. Dr. Phil says this isn’t the right way to deal with the problem. You cannot cut off from the rest of the world because of this. You have a life beyond it too.
3. Provide them support and motivate them to seek professional help: It is important to help someone with an eating disorder, to motivate them to seek a professional help. They might refuse to take help and make false promises to give up on their binge eating and purging habits, but it never ends. Just cooperating with a person with some eating disorder will only worsen the condition. Thus, it is required to motivate them to seek professional help and not let them and your family suffer from the effects of the condition.
4. Keep up with them and their behavior: Eating disorders are not just about eating; they deeply affect the mental health of the person suffering from any of them. You might observe behavioral changes like denial and aggression in them. They might scream and get angry. But, you have to keep up with them no matter what. These behavioral changes might get worse when they are in recovery phase. So, you need to keep up with them and support them while they recover from their condition.
5. Don’t make any comments on their appearance or weight: You should never make any comments on the appearance or the weight of anyone suffering from an eating disorder. Even if they ask for your comment, you should still avoid giving answers to them. This is because no matter what kind of comment you make, it’ll feed to their condition and they might feel fat and keep going with their binge eating habit.
6. Learn as much as possible about the disorder: Educate yourself about the condition. Know the symptoms, the methods of treatment, where to seek help, professionals who can help, and how to deal with it. The education will help you in supporting your loved one and bring them out of abyss they are trapped in because of their condition.