Living with an Eating Disorder

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Advice for families that live with a patient with an ED:

Emotional support between two women

Listen attentively and patiently to the person and try to put yourself in their place without judging them.

Heart icon

Show concern for their health, both physical and mental, and ask them how they feel and what can you do to help them.

Two women hugging or kissing

Show understanding about their feelings and suffering when these are shared.

Three people which two of them are talking

Avoid discussions about food, health and physical appearance/weight.

A plate of chicken, cutlery and a clock: mealtimes

Follow the guidelines that the therapists have given as regards how their meals should be, and not negotiate them.

Safe house with a check mark

Create a friendly atmosphere during and after meals, and look for distractions to alleviate the anxiety that eating or feeling full generates.


Be patient, because the recovery is slow, and don’t demand more than that agreed with the therapist.

Positive sign

Cheer them up about what the treatment implies and reinforce small progresses.

Person touching another person's back, emotional support

Avoid giving simplistic advice, although it may have a good intention it can make the person not feel understood.

One person accompanying another with a smile

Plan activities together and don’t give up, despite the person wishing to be alone and not take part.

Negative sign

Be aware that the family environment is often the target of negative reactions, and it should not be taken as something personal. When the patient has recovered more, they will appreciate them having remained by their side.


Take breathing spaces, and take care of yourself, as energy and strength are needed to be able to provide support to the patient.

Increasing depression

Don’t blame yourself, as it is a disorder due to many causes.

Apple with a "tic"

Be an example of healthy life habits.

Información general de Mental Health in Children and Adolescents

Consulta toda la información relacionada con Mental Health in Children and Adolescents

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Substantiated information by:

Inés Hilker Salinas
Itziar Flamarique Valencia
María Caballero

Published: 14 January 2019
Updated: 14 January 2019

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


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