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How to help a friend who may have an eating disorder

 

It can be scary when a friend develops an eating disorder. Here’s what you can do:

1. Learn as much as you can about eating disorders before confronting her.

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."

3. Suggest she be evaluated by an expert. It's doubtful she'll be receptive but important that you tell her.

4. Hand her a list of resources:
The Renfrew Center, www.renfrew.org
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, www.anad.org
National Eating Disorders Association, www.edap.org
Academy for Eating Disorders, www.aedweb.org

5. If she gets angry and refuses to talk about it, don't push her.
 

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. You can't force help on someone who doesn't want it.

8. Also realize telling your friend you're worried, and that you love and support her, definitely matters!
 
 

BY GL ON 2/28/2012 12:00:00 AM

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