Helping a friend or loved one recover from anorexia can be a challenging yet rewarding task. It’s easy to focus on supporting that person before treatment and during treatment of course, but more difficult to remember that on-going support after treatment is critical.

It’s important to keep open communication with the person who suffered from anorexia, and that the communication be honest and supportive. There may be limitations of your own response or within the communication itself, and those limitations should be discussed and accepted.

Because the recovery process may be long, patience is key to supporting the recovery. “Being there”, being understanding and taking time to ensure you have the patience they might need is crucial. Along with patience, be ready to offer encouragement as needed and continue to educate yourself throughout the process so that you can offer the best support possible.

While it’s important to be able to say “no” to your friend, it’s also important how you say no. Working it into the conversation instead of attacking them by starting with no helps, and discussing progress or setbacks will help with this. Keep an open mind about food and don’t focus on your body or their body – this can only make the situation more complex. Talk with them about what support they want and don’t want, and follow through to ensure their recovery.

Key Points:

  • 1Understanding that anorexia is not just about food but also about the way they perceive themselves. Look for physical and verbal ques on their discomfort.
  • 2Understanding that they need the support post-treatment as well.
  • 3Talk to them and ask how they would like you to support them.

The best way to help your friend is to become educated on anorexia and treatment.


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