Bulimia is an extremely serious eating disorder. If you have a friend or loved one who is struggling with bulimia, it can be difficult to know how you can help them. While it might be a tough topic for you to bring up with them, it’s important for you to let them know that you are there, ready to support them. Here, we provide details and advice on how to help someone with bulimia.
What Is Bulimia Nervosa?
Bulimia nervosa is a potentially life-threatening eating disorder where an individual is caught in a cycle of bingeing and purging. Bingeing is often used as a coping mechanism to deal with emotions such as anger or stress – someone binges when they eat large amounts of food in a short period of time.
This is followed by purging, as the individual often tries to rid themselves of the excess food and calories they have consumed. Purging can be done in various ways, such as vomiting, using laxatives, diuretics, or weight loss supplements, fasting or doing excessive exercise.
How Can You Help Someone Who Is Struggling With Bulimia?
It can be extremely difficult for someone to overcome their eating disorder, which is why it’s important that you let them know that you are there to support them. There are several other ways you can help someone with bulimia.
Talk To Them
If you’ve noticed symptoms of bulimia in someone you care about, you need to address this with them. Leaving it unchecked and hoping it will go away on its own will not help; it will likely cause more damage in the long run.
We know that this is a tough topic to broach, but it must be done. Here are some general tips to help you do this:
- Do not be judgemental
- Don’t talk about the subject over mealtimes
- Ask questions about how they’re feeling
- Allow them to talk as freely as they choose
- Remind them that you care and are there to support them
Be caring and compassionate
As an outsider, it can be easy to become frustrated with someone who has bulimia, as you can see the harm it is causing. However, you must try your best to remain patient with them as eating disorders are challenging to overcome. When you get frustrated or angry, talk to others about it so you can process how you are feeling.
Invite Them Out To Do Things
People suffering from eating disorders like bulimia tend to isolate themselves. It’s important to be aware of this and continue to include them in social activities, especially those that don’t involve food.
Be Aware Of The Compliments You Give
Compliments are always a nice thing to receive, but for someone with bulimia, compliments, especially those related to physique or appearance, may be misunderstood.
What Is The Best Treatment For Bulimia?
While you may be giving your loved one or friend the best support possible, it’s important that they get professional help. This is due to the fact that bulimia, like all eating disorders, is complex and requires dealing with physical and psychological factors.
Nutritional counselling with a dietician or nutritionist can help your loved one/friend to create a balanced diet and achieve certain health goals. Likewise, a therapist is necessary for dealing with the negative emotions and thoughts that have triggered the eating disorder.
For more information, help or to book an appointment, you can get in touch with us.