If you have a friend or loved one who is suffering from an eating disorder (diagnosed or not) and you aren't saying anything to express your concern, your silence is functioning as approval.
Now I know that you don't (I hope) literally approve of their eating disorder (ED) and that it's really hard to bring up this topic with someone. After all, a symptom of the disease is minimization of the severity and often denial that a problem even exists. Expression of concern is often met with hostility and anger.
But that doesn't mean that you should stand by and let the illness run the show. The longer left untreated the more chronic ED's tend to become.
Many well-intending families inadvertently collude with the ED by catering to the person's food preferences and demands. They buy low calorie or fat free foods, or avoid restaurants, or make them separate meals in an attempt to at least get the individual to eat something. The problem is that this enables the ED to continue to thrive.
So what should you do? End the silence. Let them know you are concerned and care very much about them. For more information on how to help someone who is struggling with eating or body image concerns, visit the National Eating Disorder Association's website for tips.
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