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Sympathy isn’t easy. Even if we have seen someone else in need or suffering from something, it can often be difficult for us to find the exact words to say or the right thing to do in that situation. But we do feel the push or the urge to do something, and this feeling can often put us in tricky situations when it comes to people with eating disorders.

Support for bulimia sufferers can often be difficult for those who have little idea of what the disorder entails or how to deal with the issue in general. That is why aside from proper awareness of the issue and everything that it involves, having a good mindset on how to deal with it can go a long way in helping those who suffer from it.

If you know someone who is suffering from an eating disorder such as bulimia, here are three things you can do to make a small impact on their lives:

Acknowledge the issue

Eating disorders are not just a simple matter of not knowing when to stop eating. They’re often rooted in very severe and complex issues of self-worth, environment, and overall esteem that can be difficult to grapple with on a daily basis. As a psychological issue, the type of impact it has on a person’s life can be difficult to gauge.

Woman who can't eat

That is why a simple statement of acknowledgement, even something as simple as “I know this is difficult” can be very helpful towards people dealing with an eating disorder. It validates what they’re going through, but at the same time does not make them feel any less because of it.

Be informed

The second thing you can do is to stay informed about what exactly the person is going through. It can be very easy to simply dismiss it out of hand or to underestimate it if you aren’t informed about their condition. Reading up can go a long way discussing things with your friend or even helping them if necessary.

Bulimia is often an extremely complicated issue to understand. Each experience is different for each person and this can often have them behaving in irrational or strange ways when the effects on them are particularly strong. Being well informed about this allows you to have some awareness of the reasons behind their actions, and how to act accordingly.

Don’t treat them differently because of it

We all have our issues to go through, and bulimia is no different. There’s a real and strong stigma against people who have eating disorders, and the people who often experience this will sometimes be afraid or hesitant to open up that they have such a condition.

Reassuring them and being supportive of their attempts to recover and slowly overcome this condition can be one of the best things you can do as a friend or family member. Mental disorders like these are often amplified by the environment and being in a supportive environment is a much better place for them mentally and emotionally.

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