Knowing that a friend or loved one is suffering from anorexia nervosa can be heart-wrenching. It’s vital that you know how to effectively support them during this time. The devastation and suffering that everyone—the anorexia sufferer, close friends, and family members—feels could be relieved by positive actions through your unconditional love and support. Supporting your loved one won’t be an easy task, but here are some simple tips to keep in mind.
Familiarize Yourself with the Enemy
Most people only know common, but unfortunately erroneous, information on anorexia nervosa and the extent of its control on the behavior of an individual. Reading articles on the disorder and speaking with healthcare professionals, as well as those who’ve battled anorexia, will help you in providing more effective support. These also give you a clearer view of what your loved one is going through.
Always be There for Your Loved One, but Leave Judgment at the Door
Battling anorexia nervosa is an extremely difficult thing, so it’s critical that you approach your loved one without judgment. You won’t be helping them if you tell them, whether directly or indirectly, that something’s wrong with them. Chances are, they already know it but don’t know what to do about it. Just always be there for your loved one, and tell them you’re not going anywhere.
Encourage and Support Positive Behavior
Always encourage and support positive behavior regardless of how small it may be. Offer encouragement for their advancement. Don’t dole out unwarranted criticism or advice. Just offer your time, actively listen to your loved one, and find anorexia treatment centers, in case your loved one says they want help. Know that your patience will be tested because you won’t always agree with how your loved one thinks.
Your loved one may not know how to get help. Although you must not push, it will help you to know more about potential treatment options or a treatment center your loved one can go to once they’re ready to battle anorexia.