How family and friends are affected | Eating Disorders Victoria
Home Getting help For family, friends and carers How family and friends are affected

Parents, siblings, partners, friends, extended family, work colleagues and others often experience many different feelings as they learn to cope with the effects of the eating disorder on the person and on their own lives. The strain of living with the eating disorder can create tensions and divisions within the family. Each person involved will be affected in different ways. Common reactions include:

Confusion about:

  • The eating disorder and recovery process

  • Why this has happened 

  • The best way to handle the illness in the family, partnership or friendship circle etc

  • Knowing what to say and how to say it 

  • How to support the person

Grief & Anger about:

  • Loss of the person’s mental and physical health

  • Change in the person’s behaviour, denial of problem and/or refusal to get help 

  • The difficulties or changes the eating disorder is creating in the family, partnership or friendship circle

  • Not being able to make the person well 

  • Loss of time alone and/or with other family members/friends 

  • Loss of trust for the person who may behave deceptively

  • Feeling a loss for the person who may have lost sight of their goals and ambitions

Guilt or Fear about:

  • Being responsible for the eating disorder

  • Not recognising the eating disorder earlier 

  • Not providing effective support and help that is required to promote recovery 

  • That the person may not recover 


How EDV can help:

  • The Eating Disorders Helpline is a first point of call for anyone who is concerned about an eating disorder or a related issue.  Call 1300 550 236, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or drop in to EDV at the corner of Lulie and Abbot streets, Abbotsford, Vic.

  • EDV Psychology offers private psychology sessions for individuals with an eating disorder and friends and family who are supporting a loved one.

  • Support Groups across Victoria for people with an eating disorder as well as their friends and family.

  • We have an Online Recovery Forum for people with an eating disorder, and the SANE Carers Forum aimed at family and carers.

  • EDV members can borrow books from our specialist library. Find out more about joining here.

Gen tells us how she felt when she first discovered her sister had an eating disorder. For more of Gen's story, click here.


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