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How to help loved ones dealing with an eating disorder this holiday season

Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 1:00 PM CST
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The holidays are an enjoyable time for most Americans, but for some, it can cause anxious feelings. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, about 28.8 million Americans will have an eating disorder in their lifetime.

“Part of this illness is having a tremendous amount of anxiety as well as having a tremendous amount of doubts about one’s self and self loathing sometimes and when that’s where you’re coming from pushing yourself to enjoy the holidays and to be happy around your family, because that’s what the expectation is, it just kind of adds a lot of extra pressure,” said Dr. Norman Kim, the National Director of Reasons Eating Disorders Center.

If you have a loved one struggling with an eating disorder, Dr. Kim suggests thinking about conversations that focus on being together. Talking about calories, skipping meals, or topics related to dieting should be avoiding as much as possible. If you see a loved one who you believe could be dealing with this, find a safe and comfortable way to check in on them. Dr. Kim says educating yourself on eating disorder is a good starting point to help those you care about feel comfortable.

“It’s a disorder that involves a lot of long-term anxiety that’s been building up. The better that clinicians and loved ones can understand what really lies at the core of this illness, I think the more effective you can be at recognizing when you see it,” said Dr. Kim.

Dr. Kim will be hosting a zoom for others to learn more about eating disorders on Wednesday, December 1st at 12 pm. Call or text 307-262-0362 or email emily.quarterman-genoff@uhsinc.com to register.

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