How Can I Help Someone with an Eating Disorder?

Trying to help your loved one overcome an eating disorder? Don’t know where to start? Perhaps, you are not completely sure if she is struggling with eating, but are worried they might have an eating disorder? Then you need to know what to do so you can help. Try these three steps to get started.

First step, know the signs of an eating disorder.

Warning Signs of an Eating Disorder

  • Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating
  • Adopting an overly restrictive diet
  • Excessive focus on eating
  • Not participating in social activities that they used to
  • Making own food and not eating what the family eats
  • Constant worry about being fat
  • Consistent talk of losing weight
  • Frequent mirror checking for flaws
  • Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods
  • Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss
  • Excessive exercise
  • Problems with loss of tooth enamel that may be a sign of repeated vomiting
  • Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal
  • Expressing disgust and guilt about eating habits
  • Eating in secret

Causes of Eating Disorders

Although the exact causes of eating disorders are not known. We do know that neurological brain patterns are at the root of eating disorders. These brain patterns make it so that the reward system in the brain fires incorrectly in the presence of food and when a person starts to eat. To learn more about this pattern visit our Eating Disorders page. The Mayo Clinic suggests the following factors put adolescents and teens at risk:

  • Genetic and biological factors or traits such as anxiety or perfectionism
  • Participating in activities that encourage low weight, such as ballet
  • Low self-esteem
  • Pressure from society

Secondly, educate yourself on treatment options so when your loved one is ready for help, you are prepared.

Comprehensive care for treating eating disorders involves re-wiring the brain to improve the way it is performing, also known as neurological regulation. Psychotherapy is included to teach the person skills and strategies to help their relationship with food. Therefore a nutritionist can help with building a repertoire of healthy eating skills. For many people, a combination of treatment methods is necessary for recovery.

Third, understand that recovery is usually challenging and can take a while, but with a strong support system, it can be accomplished for most people.

Can Eating Disorders Be Cured?

However, people recover from an eating disorder and move forward in their lives with a healthy relationship to food. This is dependent on re-wiring the person’s brain and behaviors to help them feel their best. To best help your loved one, you need to understand that the Eating Disorder is part of a larger situation. It is not just about food. Eating Disorders can be considered either compulsive or impulsive behaviors, or both. They are like an addiction of sorts. Addicted to eating food or not eating food. To read more about how the brain creates this cascading effect visit the Eating Disorders page. When you understand the bigger picture, you can see how food is the symptom, not the cause.

When you set on a path to help your loved one and you play a supportive, understanding role, the road to recovery is much easier.

Contact Leigh Brain & Spine for Effective and Long-Lasting Eating Disorder Treatment.

At Leigh Brain & Spine, we offer effective eating disorder treatment that provides long-lasting results. Using our qEEG brain mapping and Neurofeedback Therapy, we can rewire an improperly wired brain to regulate the underlying brain patterns associated with eating disorders and ultimately alleviate the symptoms. We have assisted numerous individuals in overcoming the challenges associated with an eating disorder, and can certainly do the same for your loved one.

To learn more about Neurofeedback Therapy or to schedule a consultation, contact us today by calling (919) 401-9933 or by completing the contact form below.