Eating disorders are dangerous illnesses that can lead to severe consequences if left untreated. The problem is that most people know very little about these illnesses and are ill-equipped when it comes to dealing with them. In fact, there are many misconceptions that many have when it comes to their ideas of what an eating disorder such as anorexia is about. Below are a few examples:
- Anorexics are better if they gain weight losing weight is a physical symptom of anorexia but in reality, anorexia is a mental illness and it is this that needs to be addressed and treated. While an anorexic may gain weight in stages, that does not mean that he or she is better. Unless the mental illness is treated, there is still a risk that he or she will begin to lose weight again.
- Anorexia is always the result of a traumatic experience while some sufferers have experienced trauma in their lives, not all have. There is no guarantee that someone with anorexia has suffered trauma in their past.
- Anorexics see themselves as fat this is one of the most common misconceptions surrounding eating disorders such as anorexia. Most anorexics are fully aware that they are thin, but in their minds, they are not thin enough.
- Anorexics only eat vegetables some people have a vision of an anorexic picking at a lettuce leaf, but this is very rarely the case. The type of food they eat is unimportant for those suffering from this illness, it is the amount of food that they eat. Anorexics do not have a particular type of food they are allowed to eat, but they do severely restrict the amount of food that they do consume.
- Anorexics hide their weight loss some people suffering from anorexia will wear baggy clothes in an attempt to disguise their frame while others prefer to draw attention to how thin they are. This varies from one person to the next.
- Anorexia only affects female teenagers while the majority of anorexia sufferers are female, it is a condition that affects both male and females. And it is not just an illness that affects teenagers. Unfortunately, anorexia is an illness that affects individuals of all ages, background, gender, and race.
If you are caring for a person with an eating disorder, you may feel very frustrated and worried as you struggle to comprehend this destructive illness. However, there are a few things to consider that should make it a little bit easier to deal with.
It is important that you communicate with the sufferer so that he or she will feel comfortable enough to talk to you. This does not mean you have to tackle him or her continuously about their eating disorder. Instead, spend time talking about things that he or she is interested in. By doing this, you may help to encourage a dialogue about his or her issues.
Try not to blame yourself for the illness, and no matter what your loved one tells you, try not to look shocked or be judgemental. However illogical your loved one sounds, you need to listen in a calm and sensitive manner.
Take Care of Yourself
It is common for carers of eating disorder sufferers to neglect their own well-being as they stress out and worry about their loved one. This is a difficult time for all involved, but it is important that you remain strong.
Get professional advice from a counsellor, even if your loved one refuses to seek help. By talking to someone with experience of this illness, you may find it easier to understand and to get through this tough time. Call us here at Rehab Helper for advice and support.