Eating disorders. What do you think of when you hear those two bitter words? Maybe the thought of gaunt Vogue models, refusing food in order to have bodies that resemble Holocaust victims, comes to mind. Perhaps you start thinking about vain teenage girls denying nutrition in order receive attention. It is also possible that you think eating disorders aren’t that big of a deal. . . that ED victims can stop their harmful behaviors and just eat normally whenever they feel like it.
If any of those things I listed above are beliefs that you hold, let me tell you right now that they are completely false. Eating disorders are one of the misunderstood mental illnesses on the planet. An eating disorder takes over its victim’s mind, body, and soul. It causes these poor innocent sufferers to have uncontrollable anxiety when needing to make food choices, it causes their thought process to become extraordinarily irrational, and sometimes victims have explosive anger outbursts when they feel like they are losing control over their ED behavior.
All in all, eating disorders are nasty illnesses and if you know someone who is being held captive by one, you need to start educating yourself about them. That way you can learn how to best assist your friend/family member while they are struggling with such a heartless, unforgiving disease.
Website Links for Family Members and Friends of those with EDs
- University of Michigan Eating Disorder Info for Families: This page on the University of Michigan Health Systems website has some basic, but helpful information on eating disorders.
- F.E.A.S.T : FEAST stands for Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders. It is actually an international organizations just for parents & caregivers that provides information and support on helping their loved one recover from an eating disorder. This site honestly has it all. It has a forum just for parents & caregivers, detailed information on different eating disorders, almost all you need to know about eating disorder treatment, a multitude of different resources, and a lot more! This is probably one of the best sites out their for those caring for someone with an eating disorder.
- NEDA’s Family and Friends Page: NEDA stands for the National Eating Disorder Association. On their family and friends page you find general information on eating disorders, a “parent toolkit”, and tips for talking to a friend/loved one with an eating disorder.
- Helping Someone With a Restrictive Eating Disorder: This is one of the best articles on the internet on how parents can help their child with a restrictive eating disorder. Please check it out!