How to Support Your Loved Ones

When a family member is diagnosed with an eating disorder, it can be a scary and confusing time. You may wonder how this happened to your family or if your loved one will ever get better. Fear may take over and you might find yourself searching for answers and unsure of the next best steps. Seeking help is the first step.

There is a path forward and recovery is possible.

It is crucial during this time to have the right tools that will help you become an active partner in recovery to help your loved one recover from this illness. Recovery requires a village. For this reason, we encourage your involvement in the treatment process. We want to partner with you so you do not have to go through this process alone. We want you to know that eating disorders are not a choice and they are not the fault of the parents, spouse, or anyone else in your family system. You can, however, play an important role in helping your loved one get better.

Our goals in working with family and support persons include providing education, treatment, healing, recovery, and how you can best help and be a part of this process.

We are here for your loved one and we are here for you.

Hope for Full Recovery & Relapse Prevention

Recovery is possible and is typically achieved with intensive and thoughtful treatment, careful planning and ongoing support. It is usually a combined effort of care and aftercare, and success is regularly maintained by personal effort and inclusion of a team of friends, family and treatment professionals. Given the depth and complexity of this illness, individuals in recovery often share that their process was an accumulation of lessons learned over time that did not follow a linear or expected pattern. A mindful application of skills and techniques over time can lead to a successfully maintained recovery.

Caregivers should remember that:

  • Eating Disorders are serious mental illnesses. But people with eating disorders who receive appropriate treatment can and do recover, and greatly benefit from the participation of the individual’s family and social support systems. We encourage you to stay engaged and involved with your loved one’s treatment at Reasons and to also seek your own outside support from organizations such as NAMI or a local support group.
  • Recovery is a process. Begin to accept, understand and live the concept of one day at a time. There are no quick or easy solutions for recovery from an eating disorder. Physicians, therapists and other experts have no magic cure. It often takes a person working alongside caregivers and professionals to fully engage in the recovery process and continue on the journey to healing.

Five Things Families & Friends Should Know

Seeing a loved one in pain can be excruciating. Even though you may be hopeful and relieved that they are getting the treatment they need, the recovery process can also be frightening, draining and confusing. Sometimes the best support you can provide your loved one is to make sure that you are getting your own support. We recommend that family members and loved ones seek additional support through therapy, support groups and involvement with your spiritual or social community. No one can do it alone!

At Reasons Eating Disorder Center, we believe that healing from an eating disorder is possible. We also believe that the path to recovery is unique for every individual. It can be helpful to be aware of and to explore your own expectations regarding your loved one’s recovery. Family therapy is an excellent place to explore these expectations and help you and your loved one connect and communicate openly about your hopes and fears.

Eating disorders are often about much more than the food and don’t occur in a vacuum. Willingness to listen to and attune to your loved one’s unique experience can be one of the most valuable pieces of their recovery. We invite you to bring your hearts into this process. Therapy can be a pathway to healing for the entire family.

Yup, this is the opposite of number 3. But both are true! Eating in a new way during the recovery process can feel extremely frightening and shameful, and sometimes adhering to guidelines around food-talk, health-talk and body-talk can be helpful to your loved one. We ask that you be open to working on these guidelines with your loved one and their therapist and dietitian.

Knowledge is also the cornerstone of compassion. There are some excellent resources for family members who want to learn more about eating disorders and eating disorder treatment. We always invite you to contact us with any questions. No question is dumb and all questions are welcome!


We recommend that you take a look at these web-based resources. These organizations provide support forums, research, resources and testimonials.


“The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is the leading 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the United States advocating on behalf of and supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Reaching millions every year, we campaign for prevention, improved access to quality treatment, and increased research funding to better understand and treat eating disorders. We work with partners and volunteers to develop programs and tools to help everyone who seeks assistance.”


“The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that seeks to prevent and alleviate the problems of eating disorders, especially including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. ANAD advocates for the development of healthy attitudes, bodies, and behaviors. ANAD promotes eating disorder awareness, prevention and recovery through supporting, educating, and connecting individuals, families and professionals.”


“The Academy for Eating Disorders is a global professional association committed to leadership in eating disorders research, education, treatment, and prevention.”

We Hold Hope for Your Recovery

Eating disorder recovery is not always easy, but it is possible. Let us support you in discovering not only the reasons for your eating disorder but the reasons for your recovery. To schedule a no-cost clinical consultation or for more information, please call 844-573-2766 or use our online contact form. In case of a medical emergency or crisis, please call 911 or seek the nearest emergency room.

Eating Disorder Recovery is Possible

We understand that there are reasons for your eating disorder. We’re here to stand with you during this difficult time. Let’s work together to discover the reasons for your recovery.