Do you know the risk factors for developing an eating disorder? Here are some:
Having one or more of these risk factors does not guarantee that someone will develop an eating disorder. Rather, these are factors common to those who have eating disorders. Having one or more of these risk factors can indicate an increased risk of developing an eating disorder.
Someone you know may have an eating disorder if they:
If you think someone you know would identify with one or more of the above statements and you suspect that they may have an eating disorder, you can make a difference in this person’s life by helping them identify the problem and get help. Most who struggle are in denial. Unfortunately, only 1 in 10 individuals suffering from an eating disorder seeks help. Research shows that the sooner someone gets help, the faster their recovery.
Confronting the issue is often tough to do. Remember that the hardest part is initiating the conversation. Start out by letting this person know you are concerned about them. Share with compassion what you are observing using “I statements.” Here is an example:
I really care about you, and I am worried. I notice you only eat certain foods and refuse others you label as “bad.” I also notice you seem more withdrawn. You don’t go out with us on the weekends; you say you need to exercise. I have a list of eating disorder signs. If I gave you some resources would you consider reading them and making some calls to see if this is an eating disorder?
For more tips on what to say, click here: http://www.renewkc.com/s/index.cfm?aid=20.
The good news is that eating disorders are treatable! The first step is identifying the problem. One can recover and live a life full of purpose, freedom, and happiness.
By Kori Hintz-Bohn, MA, LCPC, CEDS
Senior Clinical & Program Consultant – McCallum Place of Kansas City
Executive Director – Renew Counseling Center