If you are worried about someone who may be struggling with an eating disorder, it may be a good idea to talk with the person you are concerned about. Letting them know that you are open to listening to them, without being judgmental, may help to make them more open to discussing what is going on.
It can be scary when you realize you need help for an eating disorder. Knowing you have a friend you can trust can always be helpful. Let the person know that you are concerned about their health and when they are ready to get help, you can help them find someone to talk to. Also let them know that you could go with them to discuss the situation with a counselor, psychologist or doctor.
Remember that your friend might be guarded or defensive when you first bring this up to him or her. It’s normal for people with eating disorders to have trouble admitting to others—and themselves—that they might have a problem.
If the problem persists even after you speak with your friend, you might want to consider talking about it with someone you trust like a family member, your friend’s family, a teacher or a counselor. You might feel anxious about telling others at first, but remember that you’re not betraying your friend’s trust—you’re only helping him or her.
For more information, check out Teens Health and the National Eating Disorder Association.
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was originally developed by youth and staff at ReachOut.com, a website that helps teens get through tough times.