Helping a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

Tips for Family Members and Friends

  • If your child or friend is a minor (under 18), seek the help of a qualified treatment professional. While adults cannot be forced into treatment, you still have power to encourage that they seek help and help facilitate their participation in therapy or admission into a higher level of eating disorders care.
  • Accept the fact that there are no “quick fixes” or cures for an eating disorder. Eating disorders are complex illnesses with biological, psychological and sociocultural dimensions, and recovery is an ongoing process. The duration of the recovery journey varies by individual and circumstances.
  • Provide your loved one with support and encouragement. Education and constructive communications are vital during the recovery process.
  • Participate in family therapy, individual therapy or other support groups to work through your feelings during this emotionally-charged period. In addition to supporting your loved one, make sure that you have a strong support network to leverage during this time.