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What to Do When You Think a Loved One Has an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders are often associated with adolescence, but adults and seniors can also develop eating disorders. If you suspect that a member of your family may be struggling with an eating disorder, it’s recommended that you take action as soon as possible to get your loved one the help he or she needs. Additionally, be on the lookout for signs of serious health complications that may occur because of eating disorders and seek emergency care if your loved one needs help right away. At Kendall Regional Medical Center, you’ll find both emergency care and compassionate behavioral health services.

What to Say

Find a time and place to talk to your loved one that is free of distractions and allows privacy. Use “I” statements, such as “I’m concerned about your wellness. What can I do to help?” Be specific about your concerns. You might say, “I noticed that you seem to have very little energy lately.” Remind your loved one that you care about him or her and encourage your loved one to speak with a therapist.

What Not to Say

Knowing what not to say is just as important as knowing what to say. Try to avoid saying anything that might be perceived as accusatory or guilt-inducing, such as “You’re worrying your family,” or “You just need to eat something and the problem will be fixed.” It can be helpful for you to focus more on actively listening to your loved one, rather than trying to provide the answers yourself. Try to avoid emphasizing food; instead, put the focus on your loved one’s feelings.

What to Do

After expressing your concerns to your loved one, it’s time to seek help from a qualified behavioral healthcare professional. If your loved one isn’t willing to seek help just yet, you can consult the therapist by yourself or offer to accompany your loved one to the visit. Consider offering to help your loved one with his or her daily responsibilities if he or she will agree to enroll in a treatment program. You may also wish to attend a support group for families affected by disorders.

At Kendall Regional Medical Center, our behavioral health specialists are compassionate and dedicated individuals who go the extra mile to support our patients as they work to overcome mood and eating disorders. If your loved one is in need of behavioral healthcare in Miami, you can find the answers you’re looking for at our Behavioral Health Unit. Call a registered nurse at (305) 222-2200 to request a referral to a specialist.

Categories: Nutrition, Eating Disorder


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