How to help someone with anorexia: 8 supportive tips

Anorexia is an eating disorder that is complicated to treat. In him, the person sees his bodily perception altered, seeing himself overweight. This encourages them to adopt unhealthy behaviors in relation to food, with the intention of losing weight to the point of malnutrition.

Anorexia not only involves nutritional issues, but also comes with the inability to deal with anxiety and stress. By exercising control over their food, the person affected by this disorder can find a brief moment of calm.

Given the complexity of the disorder, it is essential that the family and group of friends of the anorexic person are on their side, convincing them to seek help in addition to being that close environment a key factor in recovery. .

Then we will look at some tips to help someone with anorexiaIn addition to publicizing what not to do for nothing if you want to speed up the recovery process.

    How to help a person with anorexia? Practical advice

    Someone close to us may have anorexia. In this disorder, because the person has a poor perception of his own body, seeing himself with a size larger than the real one, he is trying to lose weight go on very strict diets, in addition to obsessive exercise.

    Upon reaching a very low weight and not responding to the body’s demands for calories and nutrients, some of the physical symptoms produced by the disorder are skin discoloration, digestive disturbances, dehydration, malnutrition, dizziness, l fainting, fatigue, bone loss, heart problems and electrolyte imbalances. In the long run, this set of physical problems leads to death.

    But it is not only the anorexic person who suffers because of their pathology. Their immediate environment, both family and friends, suffers as a loved one gradually deteriorates.

    When it comes to a mental disorder, those responsible for diagnosing and treating anorexia are psychologists, psychiatrists and doctors, Which, by working together, help in the healing of those suffering from the disease. It is very important to understand that it is the task of health professionals who are responsible for the recovery of people with these disorders.

    However, as friends and family members, we can aid in healing by avoiding doing things that may cause physical and emotional discomfort to the person with anorexia as well as by supporting and setting an example to follow. healthy habits.

    What to do?

    Here are the top tips for supporting and helping someone with anorexia they cannot replace professional therapy:

    1. Learn about anorexia

    Before talking to someone around us who we suspect may have anorexia, it is best to document reliable sources about the disorder.

    While the fight against the canons of beauty has succeeded in raising awareness about how eating disorders occur, especially in women, there are many myths about them. You should never forget that it is a psychological disorder and as such should be treated.

    Trying to better understand what might happen to an acquaintance is very beneficial for him and for us, because it allows us to understand the suffering that occurs and allows us to see the most appropriate way to deal with the problem.

    A thorough research of information about anorexia will allow you to see that it is not just about wanting to lose weight or looking bigger than you actually are. There is a lot of psychological discomfort behind it which leads a person to find themselves in this situation.

    2. Talk about the topic at the right time

    Once we’ve documented ourselves, it’s time to try talking to the person we suspect is going through this issue.

    Considering the seriousness of the problem, it is very important to choose the right place and the right time, To prevent a voltage situation from being generated. The place where you talk to him should not have any distracting elements, so you will make him pay more attention to you.

    Avoid having this conversation after a discussion and try to do it in a private place. Calmly express your concern for your health, Since doing so alarmingly will increase the tension. As you speak, describe some behaviors that you observed that made you think you might have some problem. Make it clear that you only care about him and want to make sure everything is going well.

    3. Talk about anorexia without stigma

    Having documented anorexia prevents us from speaking about this disorder based on preconceptions and stigma. The anorexic person will no longer feel comfortable suffering from this psychological disorder, so we should no longer bother to use stereotypical ideas on the subject while the conversation continues.

    A good way to start the conversation is to say that many people have this disorder and that it is not their fault that they have it. We can even talk about famous people who went through this disorder and managed to overcome it.

    4. Show him the problem

    Many people who suffer from a psychological disorder are unaware; however, that does not mean that it does not cause them pain.

    Images can be shown of people with anorexia who look like the person we care about. It is also a good idea to use informative videos from professionals detailing the symptoms of the disorder or showing testimonials from people who have lived it and offering their experience.

    Report that there are associations, support groups and other resources in which he can understand what is going on. If you don’t really have anorexia, don’t miss out on checking it out.

    5. Prepare for a negative reaction

    It’s likely that the moment the word anorexia pops up in conversation or you are concerned about your loved one’s health, he or she will react badly by saying that he or she doesn’t want to talk about the topic or downplay the issue.

    This type of reaction is normal, that’s why you have to stay calm, prevent what I can tell you from being considered a personal attack and stand firm saying that you want the best for her. Tell him that you would also be upset if someone told him that he thinks he might have a problem, but make him think it’s okay for someone to be worried about you.

    6. Help him help himself

    Once you are aware of the problem, we need to help the person seek and find an effective treatment for your problem.

    Sometimes it is difficult to seek professional help, and there are a lot of people who need this type of intervention but delay the appointment and what would be a few days turn into years. Although there is no immediate risk to the person’s life, urgent psychological, psychiatric and medical intervention is necessary. Malnutrition can cause serious health problems and the psychological suffering you already suffer from can be devastating inside.

    To make sure the person is getting the right help we can accompany you on the first day of your appointment with a healthcare professional. If the case is not allowed, we can suggest that you look for cheaper professional alternatives or even pay for a session. We have to understand that money is less if we are to save the life of a loved one.

      7. Be an example and stay by your side

      If you eat together, it promotes a healthy lifestyle by eating foods that are nutritious and in the right amounts.

      Food should not be viewed as a cause for concern, it should be treated as something that gives pleasure and helps us to maintain our vital functions. Don’t limit your food and don’t say aloud phrases like “I’m crowded today” or “I shouldn’t have eaten this”.

      In more advanced stages of recovery, when the person is already less worried about food, if one day you happen to eat something that was previously “forbidden” such as a piece of pizza or a cake, offer it. positive reinforcement. Tell him that you are happy to eat this food, that he deserves to indulge himself from time to time.

      8. Praise her for being the way she is.

      The physical is not everything in this world. People have other characteristics that define us and shape our identity.

      Intelligence, kindness, courage and other aspects are characteristics that we can praise the person we want. This way we will make her feel loved, that we care about us and that her body does not completely define her.

      What you should not do?

      Let’s look at several behaviors and strategies to avoid:

      1. Control your behavior

      The road to recovery is long and involves deep reflection and a phase of knowing yourself.

      Although with the best of intentions, what the person does should not be constantly monitored, as this will make him feel that autonomy and freedom are being taken away from him..

      In case you’re a teenager, the family shouldn’t stop you from doing things as simple as going to the bathroom on your own or going out on the street, let alone if you haven’t eaten the whole thing. We must follow the instructions given to us by the professional who treats you.

      2. Negative comments

      Don’t make negative comments about your body or other peopleSince in this way, you will reinforce the idea that people should only be evaluated on the basis of their appearance.

      There are many ways that society bombards people, especially women, with canons of beauty that come to despise overweight people. Don’t be part of it. You also don’t have to comment like “I’m so fat …” or “I’ve turned into a cow”. They just don’t help.

      3. Hide the disease

      The person with anorexia may have explained their problem to you because they have great confidence in you. Also, he may have asked you not to tell anyone else and he will be disappointed to tell his family.

      Since we are facing a health problem in which in the most severe cases the person may die, hiding means passively making the situation worse.

      We must inform the people around us and, if necessary, inform the authorities in case we see that a death may occur soon.

      4. Make hasty decisions

      Given the complexity of anorexia, this will not be resolved in a few days. We need to be confident that the treatment will help the person’s recovery, but we also need to maintain an understanding attitude towards them and be patient in the process.

      Bibliographical references:

      • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fifth edition. DSM-V. Masson, Barcelona.
      • Rosen, DS (2003). Identify and treat eating disorders. Pediatrics; 111: 204-11.
      • National Institute for Excellence in Health and Care (2004). Eating Disorders: Health interventions in the treatment and management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and related eating disorders. London: National Institute for Excellence in Health and Care.

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