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Today, I am featuring a guest post by TreatmentNetwork.com
Established in 2002, TreatmentNetwork.com is dedicated to providing information to those who are in need of assistance with substance abuse or addictions in either short or long term care facilities. Their mission is to connect individuals and their families with the right treatment center who can treat and support their needs in a variety of situations. They pride ourselves in having the most comprehensive list of treatment centers who specialize in a wide range of issues:
Coping with a Loved One’s Eating Disorder
An eating disorder takes an enormous physical, emotional and mental toll on the sufferer. What some fail to notice though, is the less evident but equally painful toll an eating disorder takes on loved ones and those close to someone suffering from Anorexia or Bulimia. Everyone in a sufferer’s life takes notice of her disordered patterns and sinking mood. They watch pound by pound shed off her already frail frame. Parents spend family dinners watching their child push food around her plate, cutting and re-cutting each portion into smaller ones. After being the main support system and nurturers in her life, mothers and fathers can feel helpless when faced with an eating disorder, a complex illness that cannot be fixed with one trip to your health care provider.
At a time when parents are most concerned for their child, they feel there is little if anything they can do or even say. So how do they cope? Staying strong is the only option. Here are a few tips on how mothers and fathers can facilitate a means for a healthier life and ensure they make it through their daughter’s disorder also.
Focus on the now.
Accept the situation for what it is. Yes, your daughter is sick. But it is not your fault and does not reflect on your parenting or love for her. Prioritize her illness and the need for her to get help. Do not berate yourself or try to find signs in the past that you could have missed. The longer she follows disordered patterns, the longer she is doing permanent damage to her body. Focus on the now.
Be patient.
What is so obvious to observers is foreign to an Anorexic or Bulimic. The simple “why don’t you just eat?” inquiry will only alienate her even more. You do not need to understand her feelings, but just understand that is what she is feeling. Her thoughts and actions are not rational. She is making decisions – not eating, excessively exercising – that are harming her. As frustrated and angry as you become, try to distill those feelings by realizing her irrational perspective. The whole family is in a fragile place. Arguments will only worsen the situation and add tension to the already solemn family dinner table.
Don’t be afraid to help yourself.
Focusing on healing your daughter is your priority. Therapy appointments, nutrition counseling, group sessions fill your calendar and have a substantial financial burden. During this time it is easy to lose yourself with all the energy it takes to help her get better. Take a moment to step back and assess how you feel. Stressed? Hurt? Angry? Helpless? There are countless other parents who feel the same way. Inquire about a group counseling program for loved ones. Finding other people going through the same trials can be comforting.
Know it can happen.
As impossible as it might seem, she can get better. With your support and professional help, she can live a healthy, happy life again. No matter how dark a place your family is going through, know that other families have been in the same place and have come through. It can happen. Keep hope and revel in the same accomplishments of her fight.