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Dr Shelagh Wright - Systemic and Family Psychotherapist and Family Mediator

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ADVICE FOR FRIENDS AND RELATIVES

If You're Concerned About A Friend Or Relative

  1. Be patient – eating disorders can be long-term problems even if the person is in therapy. Encourage the anorexic or bulimic to seek professional help.
  2. If the person's eating habits are truly endangering his/her life, be insistent that professional help is sought.
  3. Seek outside help for yourself. Find a support group, a counselor, or other professional who has experience in helping families and friends cope with an eating disorder.
  4. Try to ensure that you don't allow the person's problem to interfere with your normal functioning.
  5. Let the person know that he/she is important to the family but not more so than any other family member.
  6. Encourage the person to get involved with non-food related activities.
  7. Be aware that low self-esteem is often a problem for those with eating disorders.
  8. Learn everything you can about eating disorders. The more you know, the more you can understand.

When Discussing The Problem With A Person You Suspect Has An Eating Disorder.

  1. Try not to blame, this only reinforces the person's feelings of failure.
  2. Encourage discussion on non food related subjects.
  3. Avoid commenting on the person's weight or appearance- your comments may not be taken in the proper context.

Eating Disorders Audio