Over 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder, and among them, around 5 million women and 1.5 million men are battling bulimia nervosa. That is a hard and often overlooked condition wherein the individual binges on food, then purges it afterward. This unhealthy cycle continues and can cause a slew of health problems over time.
If you know someone with bulimia, you may be wondering how best you can help them to get through this and get better.
Learn about healthcare options nearby
Many reputable centers offer bulimia recovery plans to help those who have struggled with the disorder to develop better habits. They also target the emotional and physical damage that has not only stemmed from this but may also have caused it, getting the necessary help and support to feel less alone. That can ensure that the guidance and next steps that the person receives is healthy and consistently looked out for with care.
If the person who has bulimia hasn’t had any therapists or healthcare professionals to talk to, now would be an excellent time to reach out and find specialists who can offer reliable help and won’t create a judgmental environment. If you opt to go to a center, check out what options are available. Some centers can take in patients and help them through a program or simply provide their services on a per-visit basis.
Do your research about it
Not all people manifest their symptoms in the same way, and there are a lot of misconceptions about bulimia that may simply do more harm than good. There are plenty of resources online and in medical textbooks and journals that can help you have a good grasp of the condition and what it’s like to go through it. That can help you spot the signs better and be more empathetic about what they are going through.
More than anything, it also helps stop you from creating any harmful assumptions that might cause more distress or drive a wedge. Doing this can shed light on problems you may not be noticing since many bulimic individuals don’t even show apparent signs of having an eating disorder if you’re not paying attention.
Be mindful when you communicate
Sometimes, the problem with trying to be a support system is either doing too much or too little. You can end up pressuring someone or saying the wrong thing, making it harder for the person you want to help to reach out and be open.
Therapists have noted that some of the best ways to communicate mindfully are to be present and focus on listening. That allows you to know the headspace of the person you’re speaking to and helps you formulate your response. The words you say should translate the care and support that you want to convey. Allow yourself to be attuned to body language and emotions, then take the time to choose your words and set out your goals in what you want to bring forth in your communication.
Supporting someone during these trying times can be a lifeline that helps them emotionally and allows them to get on the road to recovery. Though recovery is not always a straight line, it’s a path that is possible to get through with the proper environment and assistance.