If you have concerns that somebody close to you may be developing or experiencing difficulties with food, it is important to try to broach the issue with the person.
Eating disorders are best treated as early as possible in order to promote a full recovery. If someone you care about is displaying warning signs or symptoms of an eating disorder, do not ignore it — it will not go away.
It is best to address and tackle disordered eating behaviour as early as possible. It may seem challenging, but keep in mind you are doing the best thing for your loved one, and for yourself. There are no right or wrong ways to start this discussion as every situation and person is different, however there are some points to consider.
Be calm, honest and open about your concerns for the person. The longer someone lives with an eating disorder, the more physical and psychological damage will be done, and the longer it will take to reach a point of full recovery.
Before speaking to the person, it is important to think about what you would like to say to maximise the chances of a positive conversation. Use your knowledge of the person to decide the best way and time to approach them. You may find it helpful to role play your conversation with another person, or role play your approach in your own mind.
Assure the person you are talking about it because of your genuine care and concern, rather than coming across as making accusations or judgements.
Use ‘I’ statements rather than ‘You’ statements as the latter can lead to the person feeling attacked. For example, you could say, ‘I am concerned for you because I have noticed you’re not so happy at the moment’ rather than ‘you aren’t happy at the moment’.
Your family member or friend may not be ready to take in what you are saying at the time, but they might be ready to look at a fact sheet, brochure or list of services in their own time. You can download a fact sheet or contact the EDV Hub for information specific to their situation and services in their area.