If someone you care about has an eating disorder, you may not know how to act around them. While you don't want to make your family member feel pitied or coddled, you do want to avoid any potential triggers. Striking the balance between support and smothering is a very tricky process, and you may need the guidance of an eating disorder treatment professional to determine the best approach. Here at Fairwinds Treatment Center, we know that family dynamics can play a major role in recovery, which is why we incorporate family therapy in your treatment program.
In recognition of National Eating Disorders Week, we are focusing on misconceptions about these conditions and how loved ones can help someone in need. Today, we'll focus on an important adjustment you must consider when supporting a family member or friend with an eating disorder: Taking the focus off meals.
So many social events are centered around food, from family catch-ups at the dinner table to brunch or even coffee out with friends. When you're making plans, chances are going out for a meal is one of the first ideas that comes to mind. However, even individuals who have been to an eating disorder treatment center may feel anxious about these gatherings, so try to shift focus whenever possible.
"Meal time can be extremely stressful for someone with an eating disorder," the healthy living website Care2 suggests. "Get creative and find other things you and your friend can do together besides eat. Go rollerskating, take a walk [or] go shopping."
Of course, you can't avoid the issue of food forever, but making meals less of a focal point for every gathering can help diffuse a difficult situation. Check back with this blog to learn more or contact Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, today. Medical Director Dr. Pauline Powers is a world-renowned researcher and educator who has served as president of the National Eating Disorders Association and sits on the Scientific Board of Directors of the National Eating Disorders Screening Program.