If you suspect that your friend or family member has bulimia, talk to the person about your concerns. He or she may deny bingeing and purging, but there’s a chance that they will welcome the opportunity to open up about the struggle. Either way, bulimia should never be ignored. The person’s physical and emotional health is at stake. However, you can’t force a person with an eating disorder to change and you can’t do the work of recovery for them. But you can help by offering your compassion, encouragement, and support throughout the treatment process.
If someone you care about is suffering from bulimia
· Offer compassion and support. Keep in mind that the person may get defensive or angry. But if he or she does open up, listen without judgment and make sure the person knows you care.
· Avoid insults, scare tactics, guilt trips, and patronizing comments. Since bulimia is often caused and exacerbated by stress, low self-esteem, and shame, negativity will only make it worse.
· Set a good example for healthy eating, exercising, and body image. Don’t make negative comments about your own body or anyone else’s.
· Accept your limits. As a parent or friend, there isn’t a lot you can do to “fix” your loved one’s bulimia. The person with bulimia must make the decision to move forward.
· Take care of yourself. Know when to seek advice for yourself from a counselor or health professional. Dealing with an eating disorder is stressful, and it will help if you have your own support system in place.