An eating disorder is disruptive for the person who suffers from it, and for their family and friends. Signs that may indicate an eating disorder include preoccupation with food and thinness, excessive exercise, refusal to eat or refusal to eat in the presence of others, noticeable and extreme loss of weight, persistent depressed mood, and/or unusual eating habits. You may also notice a strong striving for perfection, withdrawal from friends, and/or persistent low self- esteem and negative body image.
If you think a friend has an eating disorder, be frank, but supportive. Express your concern to your friend, and let them know that you are available to talk. Don't nag them about food or their eating, as this will only make them feel more self-conscious. Don't comment about their physical appearance, even if you think you are paying them a compliment. Seek consultation from the Counseling Center to help you learn how to talk to your friend about this problem, and to help him or her seek help.
These links provide information about understanding the causes of your loved one's eating problems and what your role could be in helping them improve their health.
If you would like to discuss eating disorders, body image, or any other issues, please call or stop by the Counseling Center at 410-617-CARE (2273) for an appointment.