…people who restrict will obviously begin to lose weight, wear baggier clothing to hide it, move their food around on the plate but not eat it, chew food and spit it out. — Lisa Ferentz LCSW-C, DAPA
Bulimia nervosa is a severe, potentially life-threatening eating disorder experienced by people of different ages. If you know a friend or relative who is Bulimic, here’s how you can extend your support to them.
An individual suffering from Bulimia is familiar with the binge-and-purge cycle, as well as the emotional, behavioral, social, and cultural problems that come with it. It is good and bad in everything. For these people; they can’t help it, but you, as a friend, can help them.
Bulimia isn’t something you can to stop that quickly. It takes time, and effort to thoroughly rise from it.
But what is Bulimia, you ask? Bulimia nervosa is a kind of eating disorder that causes disturbances to a person’s eating behavior. Even if you eat large amounts of food (binging), the feeling of guilt and shame will flood you, making you want to get rid of everything you’ve eaten (purging).
These Bulimic people face a battle far more difficult than you can imagine. Here’s how you can be of help to them:
- Pick a good time to talk. Bulimic people often keep their eating disorder to themselves. That’s why their condition gets worse by the day. Keep in mind that this matter is sensitive, and it may take a couple of days (or even months) before they feel they’re ready to open up. Be a good friend of being patient. If they decide to talk about it; listen to their feelings, experiences, and thoughts about Bulimia. Have an open mind, don’t butt in, and don’t disregard their opinions. For example, just because they’re not thin enough doesn’t mean they’re not ill. Don’t make generalized comments such as, “You’re not even skinny.”
Most in the eating disorder professional community agree that to some extent, nature, and indeed nurture and environment are significant contributors and all together they provide a more well rounded opportunity to figuring out causation. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS
- Don’t be that person who blames them for their condition. Bulimia nervosa is a mental battle, as much as it is an eating disorder. Some Bulimic people tend to have a perceived sense of rejection that causes them to make desperate changes. Self-hate is directed to the body as a way to distract the mind and numb the pain. Unhealthy obsession with food, calories, and appearance mess up the brain. Before they know it, they already developed an eating disorder. They are not to be blamed for this. So avoid shaming, accusing, and blaming at all costs.
- Encourage them to get help. To get better, treatment is needed. Obtain assistance from a doctor, nutritionist, or an inpatient facility. While convincing them may be a big, complicated step (Bulimic people usually wouldn’t agree to seek help after just one “request”), it would help them recover. Keep on pushing and don’t give up.
- Shower them with love. Let’s say you never got to convince them to visit a doctor, and they refused to talk to you about their eating disorder; they’re tough to crack. But don’t let them down. Continue to shower support, joy, and love, so they don’t feel alone. They may not show appreciation, but it truly tugs their heartstrings.
A good friend would know what, and what not to do to a Bulimic friend. Even if you don’t have a friend who suffers from this disorder, you might as well learn about these things to help someone get better.
When we shift our focus away from the numbers on the scales and towards a more global sense of health, we can achieve genuine wellbeing by nurturing—not fighting against—our body. — Alexis Conason Psy.D.