How to Help Someone With an Eating Disorder

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When someone you love develops an eating disorder, it can be a confusing time. These illnesses are often misunderstood and leave parents and others wondering how to help someone with an eating disorder. Trellis Recovery Centers employs a staff of therapists, physicians, nurses, dieticians, and more. Each one understands how to provide the targeted help people need in order to begin recovery. 

Why do People Develop Eating Disorders?

Part of understanding how to help someone with an eating disorder involves learning why people develop one. On the surface, an eating disorder can look like a simple problem with focusing on weight, clothing sizes, and food. In actuality, eating disorders are complex psychological disorders that are tied to other issues the person experiences. 

Often, a person who has an eating disorder has difficulty dealing with emotions or events in their lives that leave them feeling out of control. As a result, they begin to focus on things they can control, such as what they weigh, how much they eat, and their exercise routine. For some, an eating disorder develops out of normal interest in nutrition and body size that then spirals out of control. What started as going on a diet turns into addictive behaviors and an unhealthy mindset. 

While there isn’t just one reason someone has an eating disorder, some common triggers exist. These include:

  • Abuse or neglect during childhood
  • Childhood trauma
  • Being bullied
  • Being raised in a household where food, weight, and being thin were/are often the focus
  • Childhood obesity
  • Targeted obsession with unrealistic beauty standards presented in the media, entertainment, and social media
  • Lack of healthy coping skills
  • Family history of pressuring a child to look or act perfectly or get high grades

The bottom line is that someone with an eating disorder is acting out of feeling stressed. In fact, the eating disorder is the symptom of a larger problem, rather than the sole problem itself. 

How to Help Someone With an Eating Disorder

The most important issue when it comes to how to help someone with an eating disorder is getting the person professional help. An assessment can be made by their physician or a therapist trained to recognize eating disorders. From there, consultations can be made with either of those, as well as the individual’s insurance company, to determine where to go for treatment. 

When approaching someone about their eating disorder, language and attitude prove important. Begin by speaking in a calm manner, and let them know that you realize she is sick with a legitimate illness. Be aware that you may be met with initial anger, embarrassment, or denial. It’s important to emphasize that eating disorders require medical and psychological treatment and, as a trusted person, you are committed to helping your loved one get well.

Educate yourself about eating disorders so you have an understanding of the basic issues behind them. Telling someone “You are not fat!” or otherwise focusing on physical looks and weight supports the illusion that eating disorders are simply about diets and clothing sizes. Helping a person begins with diving into the facts about how complex these mental health disorders are and how they manifest.

Once they go into treatment, be supportive of them and the work they accomplish. This is a time when people begin to understand their own power but also need the support of their friends and families. Trellis Recovery Centers provides family-focused treatment in order to keep people up to date on their loved ones welfare and how to help them. Keep in mind that eating disorders do not develop overnight, and recovery is not a quick process. You will need to be patient and offer loving support as your loved one moves through recovery toward healing.  


People getting help for their eating disorder at Trellis Recovery Centers in Los Angeles

What are The Benefits of Residential Eating Disorder Treatment?

Attending residential treatment for eating disorders offers a variety of benefits. This type of focused, intensive care comes from several types of eating disorder-trained professionals, including:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Therapists
  • Mental health workers
  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Registered dieticians

Each staff member understands the complex nature of treating eating disorders. Our medical and therapeutic professionals use their training and experience to help people understand the issues behind their illnesses. They use compassion and patience in order to provide a comfortable environment where people can heal and discover their own power. 

Eating disorder treatment centers provide a transdiagnostic approach that includes several types of therapy modalities. These include:

Often, someone who deals with an eating disorder also struggles with a mental health condition like anxiety, depression, or PTSD. A well-rounded residential program can treat these conditions, including providing any necessary prescription medications.

Contact Our Residential Eating Disorder Treatment Center in California

Are you worried about a loved one and find yourself wondering how to help someone with an eating disorder? Trellis Recovery Centers can provide you with professional help for people struggling with this challenging mental health disorder. We come at recovery from a family-focused approach in order to give our patients the most support possible. Our multi-faceted therapy modalities are provided by eating disorder professionals with years of experience. 

Are you ready to talk to someone about them getting help for their body image and disordered eating behaviors? Visit our admissions page now and let us give you the vital information you need.