How Do I Help Someone With an Eating Disorder?

  • Let the person know you care and you are there to give support. Reach out to the person, instead of focusing on the eating behavior.

  • Don't nag about eating or not eating, or spend your time talking about food or weight-related issues.

  • Encourage the person to seek professional help. Be prepared that your suggestion may be initially met with denial and hostility.

  • Find outside support for yourself. You can talk to a counsellor, doctor, or other professional, or attend a support group for family and friends of someone with an eating disorder.

  • Avoid comments on weight or appearance. Even if you "compliment" someone on losing weight, you may be giving the message that you only like the person because of the weight loss.

  • Read and learn as much as you can about eating disorders. It will help you to understand more what the person is going through.

  • Be patient; overcoming an eating problem takes time and help. It is not just a matter of willpower.

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APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2008, December 12). How Do I Help Someone With an Eating Disorder?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: January 14, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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