By now, you should know that Ocean Recovery treats eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and dual diagnosis cases. However, you might not know that this week, from February 24th to March 2nd, is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. As we said last week, there are a lot of misconceptions that surround eating disorders. Unfortunately, these can create a significant barrier to those needing help. National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is a chance for all of us involved with the treatment of these afflictions to educate the public and spread a message of hope.
Some General Signs and Symptoms of Eating Disorders
In the spirit of educating the public, we would like to provide some common physical, emotional, and behavioral signs that someone may be struggling with an eating disorder.
- Low energy and fatigue
- Grey or dry skin, including chapped lips
- Sleep difficulties
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Fainting or dizziness
- Preoccupation with calorie counting and weight
- Restrictions on certain foods
- Concerns about eating in public
- Inflexible thinking
- A history of trauma
- Isolation and secretive behavior
- Difficulties concentrating
Having an Open Conversation About Eating Disorders
Like folks who suffer from substance abuse issues, people dealing with an eating disorder also have to contend with triggers. This can make open conversations difficult for those who care but aren’t sure how to approach the subject. With this in mind, we’d like to offer some tips on how to approach someone with an eating disorder.
- Take a little time to educate yourself and read up on some facts about eating disorders. Eating Disorder Hope, the National Eating Disorder Association, and our own blog are all great places to start.
- Try to use “I” statements like “I’ve been having some concerns” or “I care about you.” This allows you to express your feelings and be assertive without placing blame and making listeners feel defensive.
- Speaking of feelings, encourage them to express theirs and give them time to do so. Often, one of the things that we need most is to know that someone is listening.
- Remember that you’re not a therapist and avoid trying to offer solutions. Again, what we’re trying to do is let this person know that we’re listening respectfully and without judgment.
- Avoid being threatening, manipulative, or dismissive. Saying something like, “I don’t know why you can’t just eat something…don’t you realize what you’re doing to me?” is a sure way to send someone back into isolation.
Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating eating disorders since 2002. We offer an evidence-based approach including individual and group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional therapy, and much more. If you or someone you love is suffering from an eating disorder, please don’t hesitate to reach out today. Call now and start building your foundation for success.