Supporting Friends with Eating Disorders

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28 February 2014

By Bronwen

Have you noticed your friend is skipping lunch everyday? Or do they have weird lunchbox combinations, like tuna fish and peanut butter? Do they have swollen cheeks like they’ve just thrown up? Maybe you’ve realised that they’re eating secret snacks?

All this could indicate an eating disorder. It may not mean this, but if this is marred with a gut feeling, your friend may have an eating disorder. Here’s how to help:

  • Don’t try to be the hero. It is not up to you to save anybody’s life. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t help. Get some support for yourself if it’s getting you down too much.
  • Avoid talking to them about weight and food. Your friend will be stressed out enough about those- so you should talk about other things as their escape.
  • Don’t try to bring it up- never ask someone if they have an eating disorder. It will make them defensive and may get worse.
  • Let them come to you- if they are going to talk about it, it should be in their own time.
  • Treat them like you always have- if a friend knows that you will always treat them the same no matter what, their body image may improve. No matter what, they’re still the same person.



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