How to Help Your Loved One Seek Eating Disorder Treatment


Watching someone you love suffer from an eating disorder can be emotionally taxing. It’s difficult to know how to help without overstepping boundaries or worsening the situation. Fortunately, there are ways you can help your loved one seek eating disorder treatment and assist in their recovery.

Be Loving, Empathetic, and Supportive

An important part of helping a loved one seek help is extending empathy and understanding towards them. People struggling with eating disorders often feel alienated. However, you can mitigate this by using empathetic language to show you care. Some phrases that can demonstrate your support include:

• “I know this is hard for you to handle.”
• “I am so sorry you’re dealing with these struggles.”
• “Thank you for sharing this with me.”
• “It sounds stressful to be going through this.”
• “I’m proud of you.”

Phrases like these can help your loved one know they aren’t alone. Emotional support can be helpful in facilitating effective recovery.

Educate Yourself to Understand

It’s often difficult to fully empathize with a loved one in need of eating disorder treatment if you don’t fully understand what they are facing. Though you can never be in their shoes, you can educate yourself and get an idea of what they are experiencing as a result of their eating disorder. Take the initiative to do some research so that you are better equipped to listen, understand, and provide resources to help them overcome the battle they are facing.

Respect and Enforce Boundaries

Helping a loved one seek eating disorder treatment can be challenging when you also need to maintain boundaries. As much as you care about the person in your life who is struggling with this, you are not a professional, and you can only do so much to facilitate their recovery. If your loved one expects you to provide counsel or treatment, you need to maintain boundaries and understand that this is the duty of a trained treatment professional. Similarly, you need to understand your loved one’s boundaries, and not attempt to extend help beyond what you are reasonably capable of.

Encourage but Don’t Pressure

Boundaries are also important when it comes to making sure that you are not pressuring your loved one into seeking eating disorder treatment. They must seek this treatment of their own accord in order for it to be effective. You need to find the balance between encouragement and pressure. To encourage them, you might help by researching treatment centers and finding one that specializes in the disorder they are struggling with. You should not pressure them, however, by insisting they book a visit or commit to treatment.

Help Your Loved One in Their Recovery

Helping one overcome an eating disorder can be a difficult task. Assistance and emotional support from loved ones can increase the chances of effective recovery. If someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder, help is available. High Focus Centers uses evidence-based treatment models to help patients overcome eating disorders. If your loved one would like to have a friendly, non-judgmental conversation about what they are experiencing, reach out to our team today.