• How to help a friend with an eating disorder

    Tips for talking to a friend who may be struggling with an eating disorder:

    • In a calm and caring way, talk to your friend about the specific things you have seen or felt that have made you worry.
    • Share your memories of two or three specific times when you felt concerned, afraid, or uneasy because of their eating habits.
    • Talk about your feelings as a result of these events.

    Try to talk to your friend in a very supportive and non-confrontational way:

    • Use "I" statements. "I'm concerned about you because you refuse to eat breakfast or lunch."
    • Avoid "You" statements. "You have to eat something."
    • Avoid giving simple solutions. "If you'd just stop, everything would be fine!"

    Your friend may deny that there is a problem. You may need to approach them several times before s/he is willing to open up to you. If your friend won't listen to you and your concerns, you may need to tell someone else - someone who can help. Consider talking to your friend's parents, a doctor, a nutritionist, a counselor, or any other trusted adult. You can contact the UK Counseling Center or call UHS Behavioral Health at 859-323-5511 to schedule an appointment.

  • IMAD method

    Inefficiency - Is your friend suffering from physical and psychological lapses in strength, energy, and concentration?
    Misery - Is your friend clearly suffering? Is he or she angry depressed, anxious, obsessed, or sad?
    Alienation - Is your friend's constant concern with and thoughts about eating, weight, exercise, and body image cutting them off from you, their family and friends, and even from themselves?
    Disturbance - Is your friend doing things that are frightening, upsetting, or generally disturbing to them and to others?

  • What to say

    • Set aside a time for a private, respectful meeting to discuss your concerns.
    • Communicate your concerns.
    • Ask your friend to meet with a doctor, counselor, or nutritionist to explore these concerns. Offer to accompany them on the first visit, if that may help.
    • Avoid conflicts or a battle of wills.
    • Avoid placing shame, blame, or guilt.
    • Express your continued support for your friend.