How to Help a Friend or Loved One

Do's and Don'ts

  • Do learn as much as you can about eating disorders and the resources on campus.
  • Do contact a campus resource for advice.
  • Do recommend an evaluation by a psychologist, nutritionist, or medical professional.
  • Do offer to go with your friend to an appointment.
  • Do seek professional advice if you are concerned about the physical or emotional safety of your friend.
  • Do check back in. Let your friend know you are available to talk further.
  • Do get support for yourself from one of the campus resources.
  • Do be a good role model around food, exercise, and weight issues.
     
  • Don't diagnose. Express concern for your friend's health and well-being.
  • Don't argue. Listen and talk in a caring way about your specific concerns.
  • Don't try to be a hero or a rescuer. Eating disorders require professional help.
  • Don't gossip.
  • Don't assume you have all the answers. Ask your friend how you can be supportive.
  • Don't get impatient. Eating issues often take time to resolve.

If you continue to have concerns for your friend or loved one, please consider reaching out to someone to discuss these concerns.

Recommended Literature

  • Intuitive Eating, E. Tribole & E. Resch
  • Overcoming Binge Eating, 2nd Edition, C. Fairburn
  • Life Without Ed, J. Schaefer
  • Breaking Free From Emotional Eating, G. Roth
  • Fed Up, W. Oliver-Pyatt
  • Moving Away from Diets: New Ways to Heal Eating Problems and Exercise Resistance, K. Kratina, N. King, & D. Hayes
  • The Eating Disorder Sourcebook, C. Costin
  • The Exercise Balance: What's Too Much, What's Too Little, and What's Just Right For You! P. Powers, R. Thompson
  • Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, & Clinical Practice, T. Cash & T. Pruzinsky
  • Body Image, 2nd Edition A Handbook of Science, Practice, and Prevention, T. Cash & L. Smolak
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy for Body Image Dissatisfaction, A. Pearson, M. Heffner, & V. Follette
  • The Broken Mirror: Understanding and Treating Body Dysmorphic Disorder, K. Phillips
  • Health at Every Size, L. Bacon

(Health at Every Size) HAES Resources

Film Suggestions

  • ED 101
  • Speaking out about ED
  • America The Beautiful: 1, 2 and 3 (Daryl Robert documentaries)