When a loved one or dear friend is hiding or lying about self-destructive behavior, it often feels like we need to take action immediately. Even if it means destroying or disrupting a relationship. — F. Diane Barth L.C.S.W.
Overcoming eating disorders is very demanding. It needs the willingness of the person to change and their cooperation in treatment. Another important factor is the support they get from the people around them, as well as close monitoring and encouragement of the professional health care team handling their case. Apart from these challenges, there are other elements which can inhibit a successful treatment for these patients. Below are some of the things you must keep an eye on in order to successfully assist the patient to overcome eating disorders.
To begin with, patients suffering from bulimia or anorexia nervosa have issues with self-esteem. At the beginning of their treatment, they might think that they will not gain any benefit from it which may result in increased feelings of frustrations to more issues of self-doubt and lack of fulfillment. As a caregiver, it is helpful if close monitoring is given, providing them information regarding their progress, involving them in their plan of care, and praising them for their cooperation. Giving them a view on where they started to how far they’ve accomplished boosts their sense of fulfillment.
When you become obsessed with your diet and eating habits, your emotions begin to hinge on that obsession. — Dawn Delgado LMFT, CEDS-S
It is no longer new that people are being careless when judging others. Patients with eating disorders are no exception. Sometimes they will resort to talking to strangers or even entering a stranger chat room online out of despair thinking this is the place where they can relate. These chat rooms when not filtered might contain careless people who will try to bully and demean their condition. Reading harsh comments might tarnish their self-esteem and hit their remaining hope. It is better to keep them away from this kind of people or resources.
Lack of support system.
Whether you are sane or not, the importance of having a support system around you is very important. People who are suffering from eating disorders have feelings of loneliness and hopelessness. Therefore, it is crucial that they are surrounded by their family and friends who can provide adequate understanding and support. If they have someone who will consistently and constantly guide them through or simply just the gesture of reminding them about their doctor’s appointments or taking medications are of great help toward their road to recovery.
Remember that eating disorders aren’t really about weight and food. They are expressing something else troubling happening in their life. — Susan Albers Psy.D.
Lack of valuable information and resources.
Frail and weak as they are, sad to say that not everyone has access to rightful information regarding their condition. It is scary that they might resort to wrong people or treatment options which might just worsen their problems. Basically, awareness to the signs and symptoms, what to watch out for, prevention, and treatment options will serve as a guide to patients and caregivers. Introducing them to support group will help them. In some instances it might seem impossible to get the support and help from a licensed professional, for that reason it’s important to look for alternative options (even the free ones) that can potentially provide the info and support needed.
It may be taxing to look after patients suffering from eating disorders. However, being the bigger person and showing willingness is of the great essence. Bear in mind that they depend on you as a caregiver, friend or family member for strength and inspiration. Be a role model leading by example, not short of understanding and compassion.