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Eating DisorderA person with an eating disorder is often afraid to ask for help. They may struggle to start a conversation about their problem or have low self-esteem and don’t feel that they deserve help.  If you notice the warning signs of an eating disorder in a friend or family member, it’s important to speak up.  Here are some tips to help you start the conversation.

DO pick a good time when you can speak in private without distractions and have the conversation at a time of emotional calm. 

DON’T comment on their appearance or weight. Instead, steer the conversation to their feelings. Ask why they are afraid of being fat and what they think they’ll achieve by being thin.

DO explain why you’re concerned but avoid lecturing or criticizing. You’re not offering solutions but you want to express your concerns about the person’s health, how much you love them, and your desire to help.

DON’T use ultimatumsUnless you’re dealing with a minor, you can’t force someone into treatment. Ultimatums will add pressure and encourage more secrecy and denial.

DO ask if they have reasons for wanting to change. Maybe they want to please someone they love or return to school or work. All that really matters is that they are willing to seek help.

DON’T use shame or blame. Avoid “you” statements that accuse; use “I” statements such as, “I worry when I see you getting so thin.”

DO be patient and don’t give up if the person shuts you down. It may take some time before they’re willing to open up and admit to having a problem.

When talking to someone about their eating disorder, the goal is to open the lines of communication. Listen without judgment and make it clear that you’ll be there for whatever they need, whenever they’re ready.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax