This last week of February is the time to talk about something really, really important: eating disorders. Why? February 22-28 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, reminding us that we all need to talk about this very serious issue more often.
Eating disorders are far too common in the United States – statistics show that 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life. Here at Gurl, we’re really committed to informing you guys about these dangers. We’ve written about anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder. We have shared personal stories from people who have really gone through these things – like this essay from a reader about struggling with bulimia – and we’ve discussed how to tell if something is wrong with your diet habits.
Now it’s time to shift the focus just a little bit, and talk about how to help a friend who has an eating disorder. With so many cases of EDs out there, a lot of you are bound to be friends with someone who is struggling through something like this. It’s easy to shy away from the situation and tell yourself you can’t do anything, but that’s not true at all. You can, and should, help a friend who is dealing with an eating disorder. This time, more than ever, they need you by their side. That’s not to say that’s it easy – it usually isn’t. Someone with an eating disorder typically doesn’t want to admit that they have a problem, and helping them may be difficult. But it will be worth it.
So how can you be there for your friend who has an eating disorder? We partnered with Proud2BMe.org to give you some really helpful tips on how to help your friend out. Proud2BMe is an online community for girls and young women dedicated to building confidence and making everyone feel less alone. We couldn’t be happier to have their help in maneuvering this delicate situation. Here are 8 tips on how to help a friend who has an eating disorder:
If you, or anyone you know, has an eating disorder and wants help, please call the National Eating Disorders Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or try their Click-To-Chat message system. If you think you may be suffering from an eating disorder but you aren’t sure, you can take this private online screening quiz to find out.
Have you ever been friends with someone who had an eating disorder? How did you deal? What did I forget? Tell me in the comments.