Often the family of a person suffering from anorexia or bulimia is left confused and afraid, and information on eating disorders is imperative for family healing. The following information on eating disorders is provided so that the entire family can begin the long yet rewarding healing process. First of all, in spite of how desperately you want the other person to get well, here are a few 'cannots,' or things you should avoid doing:
- You cannot force or shame an anorexic to eat
- You cannot keep a bulimic from purging
- You cannot make a compulsive overeater or binge eater stop overeating
- You cannot scare, threaten or shame someone with an eating disorder into right thinking or behaviors
It's helpful to fully comprehend pertinent information on eating disorders and to understand that food is not the problem and neither is refusal to eat, purging, or overeating. Research and current information on eating disorders confirms that all eating disorders are emotionally based and the behaviors are only a symptom of deeper emotional and stress related problems. Information on eating disorders has shown that an eating disorder is an attempt to control, hide, stuff, avoid and forget emotional pain, stress and/or self-hate.
If you are the parent of a child under 18 you will have difficult decisions to make regarding their care and should educate yourself on all information on eating disorders. Regardless of pleas to "not make me," and promises that the behavior will stop, you will have to stay very attuned to what is happening with your child and may have to force them to go to doctors and/or the hospital. Keep in mind how serious eating disorders are and that they can kill.
One of the most important things you can do is support and encourage your friend or loved one, and express concern, and the best thing you can do is to learn to attentively listen.
It is up to the individual suffering to decide they are ready to deal with the emotional issues in their life that have lead them to their Eating Disorder. The latest information on eating disorders confirms that they need to make a personal choice for recovery and to want to do the work to get there.