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The apparent weight loss or excessive weight gain, insecurity about physical appearance, and evasion from social situations are just a few of the warning signs of an eating disorder. A person experiencing these symptoms might deny the existence of an apparent eating disorder, and this can leave loved ones feeling helpless. So what is the best way to help someone suffering from an eating disorder? Here are some of the best types of eating disorder support, and the reasons why they are beneficial.
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It is important to note that an eating disorder not only affects the physical aspect of the person; it also causes psychological damage, such as low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and lack of confidence. Thus, both the physical and psychological aspect of the problem must be addressed to obtain a thorough treatment.
Psychotherapy allows the patient to discuss issues and concerns that provoked him or her to suffer from an eating disorder. This type of support can be done individually or in a group setting, where a clinical psychologist will conduct the session. The concerned family members of the patient may also participate in the therapy, particularly if the problem has affected the entire family unit.
At certain times, the patient may be reluctant to openly communicate his or her issues; but this is part of the healing process. After several psychotherapy sessions, coupled with the loving support and patience of family and friends, the patient will be able to improve his or her self-esteem and learn the right ways to deal with the stress that brought on the eating disorder.
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Counseling with a Nutritionist
In this type of eating disorder support, the patient is guided by a dietician or a nutritionist and educated on the right diet and nutritional needs of the body. These professionals help the person with their physical symptoms by creating a proper meal plan and by educating the person on the right dietary goals and ways to achieve a healthy weight. They also share valuable information on the basic nutrients that the body needs, as well as the consequences of eating disorders.
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Joining a Support Group
By attending or participating in a support group, the patient will get the chance to freely discuss his or her issues without feeling embarrassed, alone, or guilty about having an eating disorder. The empathy and encouragement given by those who have gone through the same experiences can help the patient to deal with the illness.
Here are some helpful support groups available online:
- The SFWED, or the Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders, offers a chat support group called Remember It Hurts Web Board. It is an online interactive bulletin board that allows those who are suffering with or in recovery from an eating disorder to connect with people who share with their experiences by reading and replying to the letters posted. They can also share motivational quotes, stories, and affirmations to help each other out in battling against eating disorders.
- Something-fishy.org also provides a support finder for the family and friends of those suffering from an eating disorder. The chat support for this group is called Family and Friends Support Finder. This chat support is divided into several groups, depending on the loved one's relation to the patient. There are groups for the spouses, parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends of the patient. Through the endeavors of this chat support group, the family and friends of the patient become more knowledgeable about the eating disorder.
- The NEDA or the National Eating Disorders Association, offers online support to patients and their friends and family members. The association provides navigators or volunteers trained by eating disorder professionals who can be contacted via email for more information on the treatment of eating disorders.
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Helping Someone with an Eating Disorder: Signs and Treatments, from
Something Fishy Website on Eating Disorders, from
National Eating Disorders Association Programs and Events, from