An eating disorder can be characterized by either an insufficient or excessive food intake. There are many different types of eating disorders. The more well known ones are Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by a person’s refusal to eat in fear of gaining weight. Bulimia Nervosa is characterized by a person’s heavy consumption of food in a short period of time and then thereafter trying to get rid of it by purging, using laxatives, or excessive exercise. Lastly, Binge Eating Disorder is characterized by the regular intake of large amounts of food without exhibiting any control on food consumption.
First of all you have to be aware that any of the above mentioned eating disorders can have fatal consequences on your friend’s mental and physical health. Understanding the seriousness of the situation, you should address the problem to your friend in a gentle and compassionate way. Let him/her know of your concern and offer an ear to listen if he/she in willing to talk about it. Bombarding your friend with all the negative effects of his/her behavior will only make the situation worse. Focus on being there for your friend. If he/she acknowledges the need for help, which is the first and crucial step in healing, offer to be there for him/her every step of the way , to offer encouragement and seek out help from a therapist.
When seeking help, a team approach to treatment is often best. It is wise to seek a counselor that will enable you to alter your perception of your body image. Another reason why it is important to seek help from a therapist is that a therapist will be able to get to the root of the problem, what is actually causing the eating disorder. A lot of times, it can be emotional distress, the avoidance of other problems or low self-esteem. On the other hand, a dietician can teach you about proper nutrition and healthy eating habits whereas a nutritionist can help you create a plan that will enable you to get back on track with your normal weight.