Find Treatment Call Now to Speak with An Eating Disorder Specialist. 1-888-884-4913

Helping Others

With Eating Disorders

| How to Help a Teenage Friend with An Eating Disorder |
| How To Help A Friend with An Eating Disorder | What Should I Do? |
| What Men Need To Know About an Eating Disorder |
| I Think She has an Eating Disorder-Now What Do I DO? |
| Rules for Family Members of a Person Recovering From an Eating Disorder |
| How To Handle an Anorexic Child At Home |
| Nutrition DO's and DONT'S for Friends and Family |

Most of these reports can be downloaded by going to Download Reports.

We are excited to announce that we are now offering a blog service for those struggling with an Eating Disorder or those who know someone that is struggling with an Eating Disorder.

Get your own FREE Blog Site now and share with others.

Many use blogs to share what they have read or learned from the books they read. Others, their poetry or personal journey.

Never heard of a blog. Learn More.

How To Help A Teenage Friend with An Eating Disorder

Experts say the peak time to develop an eating disorder is between the ages of 11 and 13. So, if you are a teenager, you may have a friend that has an eating disorder. Here are some tips on how to help a friend that you suspect has an eating disorder.

1. Learn as much as you can about eating disorders before confronting her. Be careful to not assume she has an eating disorder.

2. Tell her you are concerned about her and suspect she might have an eating disorder. Offer specific observations, like, "I heard you throwing up in a bathroom stall twice last week at school."

3. Suggest she be evaluated by an expert. It's doubtful she'll be receptive but it is important that you tell her. Offer to go see someone with her.

4. Hand her a list of resource numbers. The National Associated Disorders (ANAD) has a toll-free hotline (1-847-831-3438). They provide counseling over the phone, a network of free support groups, and referrals to health care professionals. The National Eating Disorder Association has a toll-free Referral Helpline at 1-800-931-2237.

5. If your friend gets angry and refuses to talk about the problem, don't push her. End the conversation immediately.

6. Tell a professional (nurse, guidance counselor, coach, teacher) that you suspect your friend has an eating disorder.

7. Realize you've done what you can at this point. You can't force help on someone who doesn't want it.

8. Know that simply telling your friend you're worried, and that you love and support her, definitely matters! When she is ready to get help, you may be the very person she goes to. You can then share the contact information listed in this article.

How To Help A Friend With An Eating Disorder

1. What Is An Eating Disorder?
Anorexia nervosa is characterized by restricted eating and refusal to maintain normal body weight; persistent fear of being fat; feeling fat when one is not; absent or erratic menstrual cycles in females.

Bulimia nervosa occurs when there are recurrent episodes of binge eating and a feeling of lack of control over eating; regular use of self-induced vomiting, laxatives, diuretics, fasting, or exercise to prevent weight gain; persistent over-concern with weight.

Eating disorders are often associated with high achievement orientation and perfectionism, a need for control, poor self-esteem, and feelings of shame. The person (female or male) may become depressed or suicidal. The causes are still unclear, but are probably complex and multiple, including psychological, biological, and social factors. Without treatment, eating disorders can become chronic and progressive and may threaten life and health.

2 . What Can I Do?
If you and others have observed behaviors in your friend or roommate that are suggestive of an eating disorder, you are in a position to help.

Reprinted with permission by Dr. Morcia Herrin. For more information please contact: Dartmouth college Nutrition Education Program (603)650-1414 or: Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, Inc., 603 Stewart Street, Suite 803, Seattle, WA 98101. 206-382-3582

What Should I Do?

This is six pages. You can download or read this report with Acrobat Reader by going to Download Reports

What Men Need To Know About Eating Disorders

This is three pages. You can download or read this report with Acrobat Reader by going to Download Reports

IThink She has an Eating Disorder!
Now What Do I Do?

Reprinted with permission by Dr. Marcia Herrin. For more information please contact: Dartmouth College Nutrition Education Program at (603) 650-1414, or Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, Inc. (EDAP) at 603 Stewart Street, Suite 803, Seattle, W A 98101. (206) 382-3587.

Rules for Family Members
 of a Person Recovering from an Eating Disorder


  • Urge your child to eat; don’t watch her eat, don’t discuss food intake or weight; leave the room if necessary-this kind of involvement is this anorexic’s way of manipulating you.
  • Allow yourself to feel guilty. Most parents ask: "What have I done wrong? There are no perfect parents or people. You have done the best you could. Getting well is the anorexic’s responsibility. It’s their problem--not yours. Get the anorexic a complete physical check-up to eliminate organic causes.
  • Neglect you marriage, partner or other children. Focusing on the sick child can perpetuate the illness and destroy the family. The anorexic should know that you love and care for them, but no more than the others in the family. Don’t commiserate; this only confirms the child in their illness.
  • Be afraid to have the child separated from you if it becomes obvious that the child’s presence is bad for them or the family. This may be what is needed.
  • Put the child down by comparing them to more successful siblings or friends. The anorexic already feels inadequate. So do not ask questions such as, "How are you feeling?’ or "How is your social life?’ or "How are your friends these days?’ Such questions only aggravate their misery. In general their self-esteem is in good measure a reflection of your esteem for them. Praise is growing soil-criticism kills.
  • Love your child as you love yourself.
    Love makes anyone feel worthwhile.

  • Trust your child to work out his/her own values, ideals and standards. In practice, we all fall short of ideal behavior, we are all petty, mean, envious to some degree. Don’t insist that your child be perfect. Don’t impose abstract ideals that neither of you can live up to. Be flexible.
  • Do everything to encourage the child’s initiative, independence and autonomy. Anorexics tend to feel inferior, inadequate; don’t reinforce these feelings. They display their inadequacy by perfectionism which is sure to leave them dissatisfied with themselves. No one is perfect.
  • Understand the possible long-term nature of anorexia. Anorexics do get better; many recover completely; a few die. Families must be prepared to face months and often years of treatment. There are no counselors or psychiatrists with easy answers.A support group such as a parents’ self help group may make a significant difference to you and your family’s well-being; the group helps you to deal with yourself in relation to your anorexic child. You must make the child understand that your life is as important as theirs.


Ó 1996 Capital Region Association for Eating Disorders, Albany, New York (518) 464-9043.
For more information, contact: Eating Disorders Awareness and Prevention, 603 Stewart Street, Suite 803,
Seattle, WA 98101,206-382-3587, Website:

Nutrition DO’S and D0NT'S For Friends and Family

DO accept the individual’s right to choose his or her own food.

DO be willing to negotiate duties involving food.

DO allow each family member to make their own food decisions.

DO treat siblings fairly and equitably.

DO learn about eating disorders.

DO make the person with the eating disorder responsible for his or her
    replacing food that was binged on
    cleaning up messes (bathroom, kitchen, etc.)

DO be a model for good eating habits and positive self image.

DO discuss with the person why you are concerned about his or her nutrition
and weight behavior-be caring, gentle and non-judgmental.

DO be supportive-let the person know you care about him or her and there’s
more to care about than just weight and appearance.



DON’T decide for the person what should or should not be eaten.

DON’T count points.

DON’T force the person to eat.

DON’T restrict food choices or amounts.

DON’T watch the person when eating or make comments about food.

DON’T apologize for or make excuses for the person’s eating habits.

DON’T make mealtime a battle of wills.

DON’T play nutritionist .

DON'T give food and nutrition related advice.

DON’T read the person’s journal (food or personal).

DON’T purchase or prepare food for the person only.

DON’T comment on people’s weight or appearance.

DON’T blame yourself or others.

Reprinted with permission by EDAP for Eating Disorders Awareness Week
EDAP 603 Stewart St., Suite 803,Seattle, Washington 98101. (206) 382-3587
Courtesy of Nebraska Dietitians, Working With People With Eating Disorders