What to so if you suspect someone has an eating disorder.

This is a question that I get asked a lot, and there is no easy answer, but here is a guide as to what steps you can take, you might be saving a persons life by bring up the subject of an eating disorder with them .

  1. Do you research. Familiarize yourself with what an eating disorder is.
  2. Talk to them.
    • Pick your timing. Do not try and bring it up over a meal. Food should not be present when you have this conversation as if it is, your friend may already be in a state of stress.
    • Do not accuse, ask. Are you ok? Have you noticed that you have lost weight? Or whatever the characteristics are that are leading you to believe that they have an eating disorder. Explain why you are concerned.
    • Keep yourself calm. Do not expect this conversation to be pleasant. Eating Disorders can be aggressive when they are challenged. If you see signs that your friend is getting stressed speak quietly and calmly. Give them time to manage their emotions rather than throwing accusations at them.
  3. If your friend is receptive and acknowledges that they might have a problem, fantastic work. Your next job is to make sure that they get help.
  4. Have ready some resources to share with them about how they can get help. Be firm, make sure that they follow up and actually speak to someone about it.
  5. If your friend is not receptive and you think that they may be in denial you are going to have to work out who to contact next. You might chose to tell a family member or parent, or a college resource. If you are really sure that your friend has an eating disorder that they are in denial about do not hesitate to fond someone else connected to them that you can relay your fears to.
  6. Remember, eating disorders can kill, it may be the most difficult conversation that you have to have, and it may mean that in the short term your friend is mad at you. But in the long run you might have saved their life.

Even after recovery- never refrain from being that person that holds your friend accountable. I have so much gratitude for the people in my life that where brave enough to say to me “Your losing weight again”, or “Your not eating enough”¬†even years after I was considered¬†recovered. Sure, I probably swore at them at the time, but in the long run these were the people that influenced my recovery the most.

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