Anorexia nervosa - Getting help for anorexia
NHS Choices Medical Reference
Recognising the need for help
People with anorexia nervosa often do not seek help, probably because they are afraid. Many hide their condition for a long time, sometimes years.
They usually find it difficult to admit there is a problem, or even talk about their symptoms. They will probably disagree that they need to gain weight, and they may not even realise that anything is wrong.
If someone has anorexia, the most important step towards diagnosis and treatment is for them to:
- recognise they need help
- want to get better
However, to take this first step they may need lots of support and encouragement.
If you have eating problems or think you may have anorexia, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. You could start by:
- talking to someone you trust, such as one of your family or friends
- asking them to go with you to see your GP
Helping someone else
If someone close to you is showing signs of anorexia, you may want to offer help and support.
You could try talking to the person about how they feel and encourage them to think about getting help. But try not to put pressure on them and be critical of them, as this could make things worse.
You may want to seek advice on how best you can help. For example, a healthcare professional such as your own GP or a support group can provide information on:
- how to help the person recognise that they have a problem
- the treatments available
- how you can support them during their treatment
You could also offer to help by going with the person to see their GP. See Anorexia nervosa - treatment for more information.
A leading charity for people with eating disorders is 'beat', which has a range of information on the help and support available for people with eating disorders, and their friends and families