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Eating disorders and the holidays - practical tips for families and friends

December 21st, 2005

Christmas and the New Year holiday season can be challenging for anyone, but is especially so for people suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia. A recent article in the London Times:

Steve Bloomfield, of the Eating Disorders Association, says the organisation’s helpline gets its most emotional calls at this time of year. “For people with anorexia, Christmas lunch holds the terror of having to explain to relatives what’s going on. We advise them to talk it through beforehand, but it’s not easy,” he says.

Two practical suggestions for families and friends of people with eating disorders over the holidays:

  • Don’t let the person with the eating disorder take over meal times. Restore family meals as a pleasant and joyous occasion.
  • Be compassionate. Try to see things from the point of view of the sufferer.

It is easy for parents or family to feel guilty or angry. Janet Treasure, a professor at King’s College explains:

“All parents tend to blame themselves. Mothers might worry that their own dieting has triggered it, but that isn’t often the case. It’s important to remember that the earlier it is dealt with, the better the chance of recovery.”

Many more suggestions and thoughts for caregivers in the original article.

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