If you know someone with an eating disorder, they may not ask for help, but they could need it around the holidays. The holidays add extra stress for someone struggling with or recovering from an eating disorder because the holiday gatherings revolve around food. Being able to support someone you care about will help them deal with these stressful situations around the holidays and in any social situation that may have potential triggers. At Crossroads, we are here to offer support for eating disorders through our variety of treatment programs in a home-away-from-home environment in beautiful Portland, Maine.
Helping Someone with Eating Disorders at the Holidays
On top of the abundance of food at holiday celebrations, the holidays focus on the glamorization of perfect family units and relationships. These unrealistic ideals can be added triggers for someone dealing with an eating disorder. In fact, not being able to live up to societal ideals can trigger their eating disorder. Close-knit events where emotions can be high may be the last place someone struggling with an eating disorder wants to be. However, it can feel like an obligation from family or friends. Support can be invaluable, making them feel safe and supported in a situation potentially rich with triggers.
In addition to educating yourself about their disorder and letting them know that you are there to help them, one of the best ways to support someone dealing with an eating disorder at the holidays is to pay attention. The details matter to them, even if they may seem insignificant to you. Supporting them at every small step shows that you are thoughtful, compassionate, and most importantly, aware as an ally.
Steer them away from conversations about physical appearance at the actual holiday event, especially related to weight or diets. When it comes to sitting down to a holiday meal, keep the conversation light, not focused on the actual eating. That action will take the pressure off of your loved one. Avoid offhand remarks about how much you ate or that you feel fat, as they can cause anxiety for someone dealing with an eating disorder. Planning things to do that don’t involve eating can help. This makes the meal less of the center of attention. Games, movies, outings, and other activities can make the holiday something they look forward to rather than dread.
Supporting Women With Eating Disorders
Family dynamics can be triggering to those with an eating disorder, and holidays are full of family. Feelings of rejection and disapproval and the pressure to live up to others’ expectations are common among many women struggling with an eating disorder. They worry that family will see them as inadequate or disappointing. Unfortunately, that fear and sense of no control can be crippling and only make their eating disorder worse. It’s understandable why they would not want to be among these family settings during the holidays. The right treatment and learning the tools to deal with situations, along with support from friends and family, can make the holidays more manageable.
Recovery from an eating disorder is not easy, especially for women trying to balance work and family life. Programs like outpatient eating disorder treatment at Crossroads give women the opportunity to recover from an eating disorder in the comfort of a professional and attentive treatment center. At the same time, they are able to balance their everyday life while learning valuable life skills to carry them through recovery and avoid relapsing into old habits. We believe in gender-specific treatment to address the specific needs of both women and men. The goal for our clients when they come to Crossroads is to provide an environment where they can heal. Once they leave our care, they will have the tools they need to maintain their recovery.
Let Crossroads Support You
Both addiction and eating disorders are diseases. Without the right treatment and aftercare, they can result in a high rate of relapse. At Crossroads, we have built a comfortable, safe, and supportive treatment space. At our program, women can receive therapy and programming to understand how their condition affects them and those around them. Our treatment team aims to treat each woman as a whole, not just their symptoms. This is done through addressing underlying issues and supporting mental, emotional, physical, social, and spiritual healing.
We offer a variety of treatment programs, including:
- Residential women’s treatment program
- Rehab for women with children
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Dual diagnosis programs
Contact the Crossroads team today at 877.978.1667 to learn more about eating disorder treatment and how you can support someone you care about during the holidays.