"I would feel lost without SWEDA."
Caring for someone who has an eating disorder can be distressing. Eating disorders can have a devastating impact on friends and family alike, and we understand that this can be isolating and challenging for everyone involved.
So, carers are welcome to use our services too – our Self Help Support Group and/or Counselling service is available if you need support. We also offer training and presentations to help you understand this complex illness better.
Our family support has been a vital part of SWEDA's work for more than 20 years and we are proud of the difference our service has made in that time.
Tips for supporting someone with an eating disorder
As a carer, it is important to focus on the emotions and feelings of the sufferer, and not to concentrate too much on the person's food intake. Having access to information about eating disorders will help carers, so they understand that food and weight issues are often the symptoms of underlying emotional problems.
When caring for someone with an eating disorder there are a few main points to remember:
- Listen to the person
- Assure the person that you are there for them; that they are not alone and that you want to help
- Be patient. Recovery will only come about when the person is ready
- Encourage them to seek help
- Do not blame the person or get angry with them
- Avoid talking about food, weight or their appearance
- Try not to make meal-times a battle ground. Do not force the person to eat.
A gentle, encouraging attitude will ideally lead the sufferer to seek professional help and to enable them to be open and honest about their feelings. In order for the person to recover, they need to want to get better and the greatest role of a carer is to encourage, support and make the person feel accepted for who they are. Someone who values the person's individuality will be able to encourage them to develop in their own way and at their own pace, in an environment of care and trust.