My friend has an eating disorder: What should I do?

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My friend has an eating disorder: What should I do?

Question

I am 14 years old. My best friend, who is also 14, just admitted to me that she is bulimic. What should I do?

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Answer

One of the best things you can do when a friend tells you she has an eating disorder is to make time to talk to her — when and where you know you won't be interrupted. Try to understand what she means when she says she is bulimic because this can mean different things to different people.

Ask your friend how things are going in her life and if there are stressful situations that seem difficult to handle. This is especially important if she feels alone or unable to talk to others about what is bothering her. Being a good listener can go a long way to helping a friend. Reassure her that she's not alone and that many others have had this problem.

Try to encourage your friend to talk with a responsible adult, such as a parent or other family member. If you want, you can offer to be there when she talks to this person for support.

Professional help is important and can help someone to overcome this problem. As a friend, you can encourage her to work with a therapist who is an expert in this area.

Last Updated: 07/14/2005
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