When someone you love has an eating disorder, it can be hard to know what to say or how to help. Some of the most harmful forms of eating disorders hide in plain sight, so the person struggling may not even realize they have a problem. And while this can make it difficult to know what to do, it’s important to reach out to those you care about. An eating disorder will do significant damage to the person struggling, so you’re doing your loved one a disservice by staying silent. Here are some red flags that your loved one may have an eating disorder.
1. Weight Bias
The person you love with an eating disorder is likely to have a weight bias. This is a sign that something is off, and it’s a good idea to get help for your loved one as soon as possible. If a person thinks they’re “fat” or “ugly,” it can create a very dangerous environment for their self-esteem. The sooner you get help for your loved one, the sooner they can start rebuilding their confidence.
2. Unrealistic Body Image
An eating disorder often occurs in tandem with an unrealistic body image. People with eating disorders often feel they are overweight, but they also have an unreasonable ideal of what they should look like. It’s important to recognize that your loved one may feel very self-conscious, but they shouldn’t be expected to maintain an unrealistic body image. Their goal should be to accept themselves as they are, and eating disorders can often contribute to unhealthy body image.
If you notice a shift in your loved one’s eating habits or body image, this is a good sign. It may be time to get help for your loved one, as well.
3. Erratic Eating Behavior
Eating habits that are regular to one person can be very erratic in someone with an eating disorder. This could mean skipping meals, or it could mean gorging on food at inopportune times. If a person you care about frequently goes long periods without eating, or if they eat large amounts of food at one time, this is a red flag. The person you love may need professional help, and they may also need help from family members.
4. Lack of Confidence
If your loved one is always blaming themselves, or they constantly feel bad about themselves, it’s a sign they may have an eating disorder. When someone in an eating disorder constantly feels bad about themselves, it can often lead to a lack of confidence. This can be dangerous, as the person may avoid important work or activities because they aren’t sure they can do them well. Getting help for your loved one can help them gain back their confidence.
5. Signs of Depression
Depressed people may eat more, and this can be a sign that someone has an eating disorder. If your loved one is always crying, or if they have a prolonged sadness about them, it could be a sign of depression. It’s important to recognize that a depressed person may eat more as a coping mechanism, but it’s also important to get help.
How to Help a Loved One with an Eating Disorder
Your loved one will likely need help to maintain an eating disorder. The person you love may need to restrict their eating or exercise more, or they may need professional help. You can help by providing encouragement and support as your loved one tries to get help. Remind them that they aren’t alone with this and that you love them no matter what they decide to do.
It can be hard to watch someone you care about struggle, but it is important to reach out. Remind your loved one that they aren’t alone in this, and ask them how they’re doing. This may help them open up and let you in more. It’s important not to pressure your loved one to get help. Eating disorders are complex, and each person needs to find the right path for them.
If your loved one wants to see a therapist or see a doctor, let them know you’re supportive. It’s important to let your loved one find their own path because eating disorders are complex. If your loved one feels pressurized to get help, remind them that eating disorders are serious and offer support. Remind your loved one that they aren’t alone, and offer encouragement and support. This can be hard, but it’s important.
Trust Knoxville Recovery Center
Eating disorders are serious illnesses, and it’s important to watch out for signs that your loved one has one. While it may be difficult to tell if your loved one has an eating disorder, it’s important to reach out if you notice a change in their behavior. Eating disorders need to be treated as soon as possible, so your loved one can begin to recover from the damage eating disorders can cause.
If you or a loved one are currently struggling with an eating disorder, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Knoxville Recovery Center to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services.
Knoxville Recovery Center was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction and other disorders in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- On-site Detox
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Mental Health Treatment
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with this disorder on your own. We are here to help.