Coping with your friend or roommate who you believe maybe suffering from anorexia or bulimia:
- Be patient — eating disorders can be a long-term illness. You cannot expect overnight recovery even if the person is in therapy.
- Encourage the anorexic or bulimic person to seek professional help. If the person is truly endangering his/her life by their eating habits, be insistent.
- Seek outside help for yourself. Find a family/friend support group, a counsellor, or other professional who has experience in helping families and friends cope with an eating disorder.
- When discussing the problem with a person you suspect has an eating disorder, (especially if it is for the first time) don't be surprised if the reaction is one of denial or perhaps hostility.
- Don't lay blame. This only re-enforces the person's feelings of failure.
- Try to ensure that you don't allow the person's problems to interfere with your normal family functioning. Let the person know that he/she is important to the family but not more so than any other family member.
- Don't dwell on food related discussions.
- Encourage the person to get involved with non-food related activities.
- The person with an eating disorder must feel that he/she has control over his/her daily routine. This can be very frustrating for those around the individual, but the situation often only becomes worse when it is perceived that someone else is trying to take that control away.
- Be aware that low self-esteem is often a problem with eating disorders. Be careful not to make comparisons.
- Learn everything you can about eating disorders. The more you know, the more you can understand . Understanding is the key to coping. Pass the material on to the person you are concerned about.
- Strengthen your relationship by having fun. It is OK to enjoy each other no matter whether the eating disorder exists or not.
- Develop healthy relationship through improving communication.
For Further information, please call the eating disorder resource network:
Telephone — 902-423-0360
Encourage your friend to see a doctor at Brock Student Health Services:
Telephone — 905-688-5550 x3243