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What Support is Available for Families of Binge Eaters?

written by: micsan07 • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 11/12/2010

While there are many treatment and coping avenues for binge eating sufferers, support for families of binge eaters often seems overlooked. Read on to find out what is available to you as a parent or family member of a binge eater.

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    While it's relatively easy to find treatment and support options for binge eater sufferers, it takes just a little longer to find support for families of binge eaters.

    While family therapy is usually encouraged as part of the treatment involved for the binge eater, there are also other options that family members can look at for help in coping with eating disorders within the family structure.

    Individual therapy sessions with a counselor or health professional is an option that many insurances cover at least a portion of the cost. There may be local peer support groups in your immediate area that provide a comfortable sharing environment to speak about experiences, ask for advice and coping strategies, and receive encouragement.

    Best of all, even if there is not a physical support for families of binge eaters available in your area, there are many telephone and online support groups that can assist family members of a binge eater sufferer.

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    Eating Disorder Support Groups

    Finding and joining a group can be a wonderful resource of support for families of binge eaters. While online support groups may be more easily available in certain less populated areas of the country, face to face contact with others who have gone or are going through the same circumstances in getting treatment for a family member with compulsive overeating may be a better option for family support.

    Joining a support group that caters toward families of binge eaters not only teaches parents and families more about what binge eating is and how to help the sufferer get through their treatment, but offers an empathic and non-judgmental avenue to assist with emotional processing. Practical techniques are also offered to assist families in maneuvering through the minefield of moods, criticisms, and blame that often come up in the course of eating disorder treatment. A support group can offer advice on how to change negative emotions to positive ones when going through the healing and treatment process.

    This type of support group also offers the families a get-up-and-leave-the-house option that, in itself, provides relief to families helping to support a binge eater going through treatment. Family members still need "away" time from the home and the responsibilities of care.

    Here are a few support group links that are operated for family care givers of eating disorder sufferers. Most of these links will ask which state you need to be directed to for number and address of the support group.

    • http://www.edreferral.com/easy_search.htm
    • http://www.edreferral.com
    • http://www.bulimia.com/client/client_pages/support_groups.com
    • http://www.anad.org
    • http://www.ed-support.com/

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    Online and Bulletin Board Support Groups

    Online, bulletin board, telephone, and forum support groups are easily found no matter what part of the country you may live in. Sometimes, they may seem like the only option you have in finding support for family members of a binge eater.

    Although there are many online support groups available, here are a few to get you started:

    • http://www.something-fishy.org/online/familyfriends.php
    • http://howtostopeating.com/binge-eating-forum/
    • http://ed-support.com/index.php?act=idx
    • http://groups.yahoo.com/group/youaremorethanwhatyouweigh./

    Again, these are just a very few of the online support programs that are available to not only the person with an eating disorder, but the families also involved.

    Ensuring that family members get support and encouragement along with the binge eater sufferer is very important for the healing and treatment of the whole family involved.

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    References

    Something Fishy - Support For Family and Friends: http://www.something-fishy.org/online/familyfriends.php

    Help Guide.org - Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder: http://helpguide.org/mental/eating_disorder_treatment.htm

    National Eating Disorder Information Centre - Help for Friends and Family: http://www.nedic.ca/giveandgethelp/helpforfriendsfamily.shtml

    The Women's Center for Healthy Living - Eating Disorder Treatment Centers: http://www.edtreatmentcenters.com/