Eating Disorder is a sensitive topic. Most people diagnosed with this find it difficult to strike a conversation about what they’re going through. They fear that when they open up, they may receive judgments from their friends and family. However, hiding your eating disorder may worsen your mental and physical health. It is crucial to reach out to your family members about your eating disorder to speed up your recovery.
Set A Time And Place To Talk
Choose a quiet place and right timing to talk about your eating disorder with your parents and other family members. There will be a meaningful conversation if they have their undivided attention and are in a positive mood. If you aren’t confident to tell your situation in front of everyone, you can talk to your parents or siblings separately.
An ideal time maybe during weekends, where everyone has their day-off. It is essential to have an uninterrupted conversation in a private place where nobody is rushed and fewer distractions.
Air Out Your Concerns
Understandably, talking to your family members about an eating disorder is difficult. But you have to be honest and open about what you feel and experience. Tell them that you think you have an eating disorder, explain your unusual eating behaviors, and show what you’ve researched.
Talking about your eating disorder for the first time can be nerve-wracking. If you are not prepared to discuss in person, you can write them a letter or message them on any online platform. Although messages on these platforms may get misunderstood or misinterpreted, so be sure to be clear and concise with what you want to convey to your family members.
To help you get started, Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC and Crystal Karges, MS, RDN suggest, “Phrases that might be helpful to share with them include ‘I feel sad and scared about a health problem I am struggling with,’ or ‘I have tried to overcome this on my own but feel that I need help,’ or even ‘I am struggling with an eating disorder and would like your support and guidance to find treatment and overcome this challenge. Will you please help me?'”
Prepare For Anything
Your parents’ reactions will vary. Some may get frightened, shocked, angry, or confused with all the information you told them. But most parents are supportive of their pursuit of the improvement of their mental and physical health because they only want the best for their children.
Expect that you will receive an emotional response from your parents and know that their feelings are valid and normal. Don’t blame yourself if they lashed out on you as their emotions are not necessary for your healing process. Give yourself some positive reinforcement that you are brave enough to open this sensitive topic to your parents and acknowledge that you want to feel better with your condition. It may take time for them to digest everything, but they will slowly accept it through time.
Educate And Seek Professional Help
Parents play a significant role in your recovery from an eating disorder. Some parents may feel guilty, and they blamed themselves. While you sit down and talk to them, educate them about eating disorders to better understand your situation. Tell them that your eating disorder can be treated.
You may also want to have a list of treatment centers handy. Discuss with your parents the treatment centers you looked up and consider some options in looking for the best treatment center. Here are some things you and your family may want to consider:
- Length of stay in the treatment center;
- Kinds of insurance accepted;
- Treatment center’s philosophy;
- Treatment methods offered;
- Location of the treatment center;
- Amenities; and
- Payment options
Find A Specialist
Aside from considering a treatment center, find a qualified eating disorder specialist who will oversee your treatment. Usually, treatments for this type of condition begin at the outpatient level, and most patients respond successfully to this level. The specialist will diagnose which type of eating disorder you have and will inform you of the types of therapy you will undergo based on your condition.
There are different types of Eating disorder treatments. Discuss with your specialist the underlying issues that should be prioritized, and the level of eating disorder treatment needed. Some helpful therapies include:
- Art Therapy;
- Dance/Movement Therapy;
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy;
- Family Therapy; and
- Medical Nutrition Therapy
Combat Eating Disorder With Your Family’s Support
An eating disorder can have long-term consequences and complications if not immediately treated. Confronting the eating disorder and admitting that you need help is the first step towards recovery.
However, you don’t have to go through this alone. Opening up to your family members about your situation, and getting support from them makes everything better. You’re one step closer to overcoming your eating disorder. It may not be easy for them to understand at first, but their unconditional love and support will always remain.