Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD
“It’s not about the food. It’s a way of coping with emotions.” That’s the No. 1 thing to remember when you live with, or parent, someone who has binge eating disorder, says Chelsea Kronengold, a grad student in psychology at Columbia University. She should know -- she was diagnosed 2 years ago.
What else can you do to support and empower someone who has this condition as they try to recover? You need to learn:
- How to offer encouragement
- What to expect during the process
These tips can help you get started.
People who binge eat often feel alone and ashamed of their food habits. They usually feel bad about their bodies, too.
Guilt and shame are key parts of the disorder, Kronengold says. That’s why it’s important not to be critical of your loved one’s appearance or weight, she says. That will only keep the cycle going.
Instead, make it clear you’re concerned about her health. Encourage her to work on getting her binge eating under control, says Cynthia Bulik, PhD, founding director of the University of North Carolina Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders.
And let her know you're behind her every step of the way, says Abigail Natenshon, author of When Your Child Has an Eating Disorder. The message should be that she can get better, she can do whatever it takes to heal, and there is good professional help out there.
Learn About the Disease
That way you can understand what causes eating disorders and how they affect lives, Natenshon says. You’ll also learn that they can be cured, she says.
Knowledge can come from many sources. If you don’t know much, read up on the disorder. You can start online or with groups like the National Eating Disorders Association, where Kronengold is a spokeswoman.
If you’re a parent or caregiver, you can turn to your loved one’s health care team for information and advice. Did the doctor suggest treatment? Which type does she need? Learn the difference between outpatient therapy and inpatient therapy.
source : How to Care for Someone With Binge Eating Disorder