For many people, eating is an enjoyable activity, but some can experience severe turmoil over food. Both under- and over-eating can cause extreme distress, both physically and emotionally. Recovering is often a painstaking job, but incredibly necessary for one’s health. If you, a friend, or anyone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, it’s something you cannot ignore. These are some measures you can take to help get yourself or a friend the help needed.

1. Talk It Out

Instead of shaming or blaming your friend, try communicating in a loving way, privately. Keep your tone calm, positive and respectful when you let them know that you’re concerned and encourage them to get help. With that approach, you have a better chance of being successful. Loved ones may deny the problem, or worse, get defensive because they are in denial or feel too ashamed to accept the truth. But despite that, force is not the way to go. Compassion and support can work wonders.

2. Try Support Groups

Certain groups offer a safe and secure environment to approach recovery within a supportive community. Since these groups are often run by those who have been through it before, people can open up and really talk about their experiences. From narrating their stories to seeking advice, learning coping strategies, and feeling motivated, positivity is almost certainly guaranteed when you are surrounded by people supporting and encouraging you.

3. Nutritional Counseling

Nutritionists and dietitians are always an option for people affected by eating disorders. These professionals are not only for the health conscious but can also design exact meal plans to help someone with an eating disorder overcome specific meal-planning and diet issues (like ensuring that nutritional value guidelines are met). They can also be a source of encouragement and help you stick to your meal plan.

4. Therapeutic Counseling

Therapy takes an expert approach to care, using deep knowledge of the psychology behind eating disorders to help change the cognitive thought processes that underlie the issue. They can be relied on regularly for support, guidance, expert care, and ways to change negative thought patterns and behaviors. They can also provide support for any emotional distress along the road of recovery. It is amazing how patiently therapists handle cases and can even encourage family members and friends to do the same.

5. Hospitalization

In some cases, hospitalization may become essential. For someone who is completely malnourished or has suffered from medical complications due to an eating disorder, getting 24/7 care to get back to full health may be necessary. Make sure you or your loved one gets the help they need under a doctor’s supervision to ensure that the situation doesn’t get worse.

In reality, trying any quick fix to cure an eating disorder is futile. It is only with patience, care, compassion, and understanding that you can help someone in deep anxiety over an eating disorder. Your effort can really help your loved one if you have faith in both them and yourself, and stay positive all the way. Remember, this is a painful situation for them… and your love and support will mean the world!