Involving the Family in the Management of Eating Disorders

Woman with eating disorder

A healthy family relationship plays a big role in the treatment of anorexia nervosa and other eating disorders. A family-based approach to treatment has proven to be successful in many cases where the psychological burden of eating disorders takes its toll on the individual’s life. shares some information that could help families deal with the situation and manage the disease more effectively.

Challenges faced by parents

For parents, having a child with bulimia, anorexia, or binge-eating disorder can be confusing and terrifying at the same time. The change in behavior in their child and the resulting medical complications often leave them helpless and unsure of the next step to take. Sometimes, the patient may refuse help from the family, which adds to the suffering of parents who only want the best for their children.

Family-based treatment approaches give parents a key role in putting their child back on track and without the limitations imposed by eating disorders. Parents become part of the team composed of physicians, nutritionists, and other health professionals working on the management program. The significance of a strong parental alliance cannot be emphasized enough.

Challenges faced by siblings

Siblings often find it difficult to cope when someone in the family suffers from mental health issues, such as eating disorders. Oftentimes, siblings who wish to help do not know how to express their support. Family-focused therapies facilitate the conveyance of support and compassion. With proper guidance, siblings can become actively engaged in the recovery of their loved ones. These programs also remind family members of the importance of paying attention to their own needs, as well as maintaining emotional stability.

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Available programs

Family therapy may be offered as an in-patient or outpatient program. Eating disorder treatments that include the family as active participants are increasing in popularity partly because of the good results they bring. Family members are not experts, but they are a valuable resource mainly because they provide a strong foundation for a successful recovery.

There are different points of view, but experts agree on one thing. The best thing parents and siblings can do is get involved in the treatment of a family member with eating disorder.