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How To Help Someone You Suspect Has An Eating Disorder


  • Don't try to solve the person's problem on your own
  • Learn everything you can about eating disorders
  • Point out signs/symptoms you've noticed that have caused you to be concerned
  • Encourage person to get professional help as soon as possible and inform them of resources available on and off campus
  • (contact the Counseling Center for more information)
  • Tell the person you want to help and let the person know you care
  • Pick the right time and place to discuss concerns with the person (free of distractions)
  • Be patient
  • Avoid arguments or "battles of will" with the person
  • Don't "nag" about eating or not eating--don't be forceful
  • Don't agree to keep the person's eating disorder a "secret" when the person's health and/or thinking is impaired
  • Avoid making comments about the person's appearance
  • Limit discussions about food or labeling foods as "good" or "bad"
  • Do be available to listen to the person in times of distress
  • Reach out to the person as a friend instead of focusing on the person's eating behavior

Eating Disorders: Signs and Symptoms

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