9 Ways to Help Someone with Anorexia

Contrary to popular opinion, anorexia is not simply an eating disorder. It is a complex psychological, social and emotional disorder that also requires a complex solution. In fact, no two treatment programs are ever quite the same for any two individuals because the root causes of anorexia are so complex.

The effectiveness of treatment is also dependent on a number of factors such as how quickly an anorexic receives help and whether or not the most prevalent causes of their condition are still factors of influence in the individual’s life. Perhaps one of the worst things that the well-meaning loved ones of anorexics can do is just simply encourage them to eat. That is akin to asking an alcoholic to simply “stop drinking.”

Ultimately, at the end of the day, anorexia, alcoholism and other addictions and behaviors such as “cutting” are a from of pain management. Anorexics – much like alcoholics – cannot simply “give up” their methodology of managing pain without addressing the root causes of that pain. Here are 9 ways you can actually help someone with anorexia.

1. Support group

In general, one of the best things that anyone struggling with any kind of addiction or psychological, social or mental health issue can do is to talk about it. But talking about a mental, emotional or psychological issue with people that don’t struggle with or suffer from the same condition can be difficult. While they may be well-meaning or well-intentioned, ultimately, people who don’t directly struggle with a specific issue can often minimize the issue or fail to understand that it genuinely is a real issue and treat it as such. Support groups are an invaluable form of therapy because they connect individuals all struggling with the same issue and provide a safe space to open up and be honest about what they are dealing with.