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Eating Disorders If you or someone close to you is struggling with an eating disorder, reach out here to ask questions or to receive support for recovery.

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Unhappy Unsure how to help friend who suffers with anorexia - March 25th 2014, 11:05 PM

My friend has confided in me about his anorexia. I feel bad posting this but I really want to support him and try to help him.
I said to him if he ever needs to talk to me I'm here. But he just says he only talks to like one person which I suppose is better than nothing but I'm just worried about him!!
He also self harms.

I'm not going to keep on nagging him and I haven't spoken to him about it since he told me. I struggle with my own mental disorders and I can't stand people feeling terrible and I know what it's like to be at your lowest point possible and I never want any of my friends to suffer like I did without support.

I think I just need help understanding the disorder and the best way to go about it, from people with knowledge about this subject.
I'm just really worried about him!
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Re: Unsure how to help friend who suffers with anorexia - March 26th 2014, 12:11 AM

This is a hard spot to be in. Watching a friend go through something like this is extremely difficult. I am in a similar experience, and my friend ended up getting pretty bad, so I told the school counselor. This was a great decision - I learned that even if you're friends parents know part of what they're going through, they probably don't know enough.

Do their parents or any other adults know what he is struggling with? If not, you should encourage him to tell an adult he trusts. They can help more than friends can, and get him to a counselor or doctor. If it gets really bad, telling te school counselor or his parents yourself might be a good idea. You might think he'll hate you for it, but he'll probably be fine with it and maybe even grateful later. I'm pretty sure the school counselor would be required to tell his parents, but you can look in to your school and state rules/laws (that might actually be a federal law... look in to it if you're thinking this sounds like a good option.).

So, understanding the disorder... basically, anorexia is an eating disorder that makes a person eat very little, or think they need to be skinnier, even if they're already underweight. People with it may excersize a lot, follow diets designed to make them lose weight fast, or wear clothes that they think make them look skinnier. It can be incredibly dangerous, and many people, with it end up being hospitalized.

Hope that helped, good luck!

Be yourself, because those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.
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Re: Unsure how to help friend who suffers with anorexia - March 28th 2014, 02:38 AM

Hi there:

It is obvious that you really care about your friend, and that's an admirable quality to have. He is lucky to have a friend who cares about him so much. Keep it up.

With regards to what to do about the situation? I think you need to constantly communicate with him. I don't think that you should push the issue or anything, because that may discourage him from talking to you about this issue. Instead, continuously re-assure him. Remind him that he can talk to you about anything. Make yourself available to him. Don't be judgmental in any way, and show him that you care.

I'd strongly suggest that you talk to him about this, and explain that you're worried about him. Anorexia is a very serious illness and must be addressed in order to prevent potential negative consequences. Encourage him to reach out to someone that he trusts about what's going on. There are so many people that want to help your friend; he just needs to be willing to reach out for the help. Some ideas of people he can reach out to: his parents, sibling, teacher, priest, psychologist, counsellor, etc.

Is there an adult that you can reach out to? I'd strongly suggest that you, privately, reach out to an adult in your life that you can trust. This may include your parents, teacher, priest, sibling, etc. - you just need to let an adult know about what's going on, so that nothing bad happens to your friend. Additionally, it would be beneficial for you to have an adult to talk to about all of this. This can become very difficult to handle, and it would be helpful to have an adult supporting you throughout the process.

Good luck.

Harvey Specter
Don't play the odds, play the man.
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