Effects Of Eating Disorders On Families 


Many people are negatively affected by eating disorder. People can be affected in a number of ways. Some ways can be low self-esteem, trauma, family environment, genetics, social influences, and so much more. This could take control of the individual life. Classification of the severity of eating disorders comes from mild, moderate, severe and extreme disorders. The three major eating disorders are nervosa anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. There are many different ways that an individual is adversely affected by eating disorders. The choices and decisions of the family may lead to some people's eating disorder. Therefore, it shows that individuals live by their family customs. The eating disorder often affects not just the individual, but also the family. The individual in the family can inherit eating disorders. This can cause a person to start an eating disorder at any time in their lifetime. Additionally, people with eating disorder because the family may decide to live in a way of life that may affect people with eating disorder. Eating disorders can begin in many ways. However, individuals often find it very difficult to deal with. Eating disorders change one's way of life as relationships between friends and family often change. It may adversely affect their way of life as it may have negative and positive effects. It can be extremely difficult to overcome, but help from friends and families could make it easier to achieve. Eating disorders can be very difficult for people to perform their daily tasks and change their lifestyle. Some people need constant support to keep their lives free from this disorder. Thus, this disorder has the ability to adversely affect the life of the individual.

The Role of Family in Eating Disorders

Eating disorders and families are associated with the effects of eating disorders on families. Eating disorders can begin at any time during an individual's lifespan. It begins at the earliest as soon as the child is born. The child thus begins to adapt the families ' lifestyle. When a person is born into a family that already lives in a predetermined manner and can be easily influenced by the individual. One can only adapt their habits to a family member's life. For example, family members who are constantly going to the gym and eating fruit and vegetables would inevitably affect individuals to follow the same lifestyle. However, the individual is constantly affected by individuals whose families have no time to cook and eat healthy meals. Furthermore, not living a healthy lifestyle like going to the gym and not having some kind of fitness routine shows a negative representation of living a healthy life. However, some people inherit genetically eating disorders. If the parents of a person have an eating disorder, they are likely to pass the eating disorder through their DNA to their children. When eating disorders are inherited, it may be apparent to individuals that they are affected by this disorder. Family members can help one improve because they may have already gone through this phase in their lives.

Family support and education refers to simple interventions aimed at improving the family support network of the individual with anorexia nervosa. Family therapy constitutes a psychotherapeutic intervention and aims to facilitate changes in family function that will assist the anorexic individual in recovery and concurrently improve the emotional health of other family members. (Alexander-Mott, 1994)

Family members can support one because they have ways to overcome their eating disorder. In addition to genetics, families also play other roles in eating disorder development. Genetics may affect an individual in the development of an eating disorder. People with a family history of eating disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, or anxiety are at increased risk of developing an eating disorder. In addition, your body's size and shape also plays a role. Fighting with the type of natural body through starvation or disordered eating is dangerous. If people are overweight, family members may comment and urge them to lose weight. This may lead people to develop anorexia that may adversely affect their lives. Similarly, people who are underweight are often encouraged to eat more and to gain weight from their families. People with anorexia are frightened and obsessed with these problems by eating and gaining weight. They usually restricted food intake to lose weight. They may also use exercise or vomiting after meals to control weight. People with anorexia are extremely afraid to gain weight, have a very bad image of their bodies, may feel too fat, or even if families, friends, and doctors disagree and have a low body weight, that part of their bodies is too big.

The incidence of anorexia nervosa has increased since the mid-twentieth century in developed countries. The life time prevalence of anorexia nervosa is 0.6% (Lewinsohn et al. 2000). Only 4%-6% of the anorexic population is male (Halmi 1974). According to Statistics Canada’s 2002 Mental Health and Well-being survey, 1.5% of Canadian women age 15-24 years had an eating disorder (Government of Canada 2006). (Bourgeois, Parthasarathi, & Hategan, 2012).

This may result in the development of Binge Eating Disorder (BED). Many people do not realize how serious a disease such as anorexia or binge eating disorder can be, and the negative results it can also produce. In some serious cases, individuals may die from this disorder. Eating binge means eating large amounts of food, but without purging characteristics. Some of the commonly seen activities are vomiting, laxative, and exercise. People with this disorder often feel that they have no control over themselves and are often unaware of how much food they eat. They are often triggered by negative situations or personal problems. They use food to deal with their emotions as their escape. It also provides a sense of comfort. In addition, people with BED are often larger than the, “average size” and suffer from low self-esteem. Unfortunately, when it is too difficult to overcome, people notice their disorder. However, some use constructive criticism from their family and friends and take it positively. Therefore, some take advantage of the comments and start taking action. Families do not always have an adverse effect, often encouraging and wanting the best for family members. Sometimes families might encourage people to change their own diets and help others. Conflicts can arise between the individual and the family when eating habits are difficult to change. These conflicts can lead people to improve their lives. As families can have a positive impact on people's health, they can also have a negative impact. This may work in two ways depending on how you take the criticism and how you respond. Commenting, for example, can lead to eating disorder as people struggle with their weight. Some people often feel uncertain or afraid to ask for help, but when they know someone in their family once held the same position, they can reach out more easily. There are many ways to overcome an eating disorder, and professional support can be sought instead of parents and guardians. However, it shows that the impact of substance use disorder on families and children is important. Investigating how effective families have helped their loved ones is crucial for treating people with eating disorder. Some factors can prevent people from dealing with eating disorders. Many people do not realize they have an eating disorder. When individuals are unaware of their eating disorder, they often find it harder to resolve it. In addition, some individuals have no control over what they eat as the family eats the same stuff. Therefore, it could cause decline in individuals ' health because they have no control over their diet.

Personality in Eating Disordered Patients

In addition, eating disorders can change the way an individual feel about their personality. For example, individuals with anorexia lack nutrition and are unable to perform their daily tasks without being tired. On the contrary, people with binge eating disorders eat excessively and feel fatigue and cannot perform daily tasks easily. Therefore, it can affect the individual emotionally. For people who see them on a regular basis, these changes can be quite noticeable. People with eating disorder often struggle with low self-esteem and may be overly concerned about how others view them. They feel very intensely the emotions of both themselves and others.

For children and adolescents with eating disorders, Maudsley family–based therapy has been shown to be the most effective treatment for weight restoration and cognitive function in anorexia nervosa, and is suggested to be efficacious in bulimia nervosa.46 Treatments capitalize on parental/family involvement and include three phases: weight restoration, returning control over eating to the adolescent, and establishing a healthy adolescent identity. (Franco, Sieke, Dickstein, & Falcone, 2017)

This makes them very sensitive to how others perceive them. For many people, the main feeling underneath an eating disorder is in some way feeling ' not good enough. For example, family member would be the first to see a personality change. Thus, the personality of one can often be questioned. This may also change their relationship with parents or other family members. Individuals who are unaware of their disorder may be frustrated and angry with themselves. Others often overcome anger and personal frustration. Which can cause family members to be confused about them. Therefore, it puts a strain on the relationship. Moreover, because of their emotional frustration with themselves and their family, they often come distant with them for not understanding them. Often, isolating themselves from family and friends causes them to fall into depression. Feeling depressed by self-esteem is a common symptom of eating disorder. In addition, negative thoughts and comments may also make them feel insecure. Therefore, being depressed can magnify and intensify the eating disorder. These loved ones may not know the severity of the conditions and may feel alone without moral support. Feeling lonely can lead to a more depressed feeling and will isolate itself from everyone.

For example, many individuals with anorexia nervosa (AN) are emotionally avoidant and struggle to express their feelings, which may negatively affect their ability to articulate their needs, tolerate distress in the relationship, or remain close with others. (Kirby, Runfola, Fischer, Baucom, & Bulik, 2015)

It can therefore cause the individual to drift away from their family. Eating disorders can play an important role in keeping the family away from the individual, but they can do the opposite and bring the person closer together.

Family Therapy Treatment for Individual with Eating Disorders

When individuals feel lonely family members often understand why they feel this way, they can understand their feelings. When the individual has a good relationship with the other individual that helps them out, it's easier for them to overcome the eating disorder. Therefore, when the individual gets mental, emotional and physical support for their loved ones, they have a sense of security and feel much better about themselves. This relationship therefore strengthens the ability to face challenges together.

Family dynamics have been implicated not only in the perpetuation of EDs but also in their development (e.g., Minuchin et al. 1978). Case reports and studies of family interaction show eating-disordered families to be enmeshed, intrusive, hos- tile, and negating of the patient’s emotional needs (Minuchin et al. 1978) or overly concerned with parenting (Shoebridge & Gowers 2000); some, such as Minuchin, have argued that the entire family unit must be treated if therapy is to be effective. (Polivy, Herman, & Warsh, 1978)

Thus, when a person has a basis of trust, it facilitates their belief in themselves and believes that they can achieve their purpose. As most times in this journey, one's partner can help them, that's the person they would most trust. Eating disorders can not only distance families from each other, but can also help them strengthen their relationships. This shows how an eating disorder can not only have a negative impact on the individual's personal relationship with their family, but can also reinforce them depending on the circumstances in which the individual is and in which approach the individual decides to use it. Eating disorders and families have a major impact on how eating disorder supports your loved ones. In addition, helping and rehabilitating them to live their lives before they have this disorder. Eating disorders can have a negative impact on an individual and can significantly change the life perspective of an individual. Family members or other loved ones can rely on close friends and family members. Talking to someone who really understands the pain that one is going through can help improve their mental health. Since eating disorders are often inherited, many family members are aware of what the individual feels and is going through. This helps people and their parents connect more closely and get closer to overcoming the emotional disorder. Experienced individuals can therefore advise others who are currently experiencing eating disorder. However, this can also result in a negative outcome and can cause both individuals to be affected by it for a long time and another person in their family who has just started suffering from the disorder.

While research has not been extensive, recent published reports of the treatment for adolescent AN have been more encouraging. This handful of treatment trials (2) all investigated a particular type of family-based treatment which is designed to: Prevent hospitalization of the adolescent by assisting the parents in their efforts to help their adolescent in his/her recovery from AN, and; Return him/her to normal adolescent development unencumbered by the eating disorder. (Grange & Lock, 2005)

Individuals feel comfortable working with their loved ones or someone they can trust. In many cases, people suffering from binge eating have no control over what they eat. Therefore, loved ones can help them provide support and create a diet plan for them. Creating a diet plan for their loved ones can help motivate them on a much healthier path and enable them to accomplish their goals faster. It also creates a sense of determination. Having a meal plan can create a fixed time to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Planning what to eat to help stay focused on the goal in the future. Additionally, take part in grocery shopping and pick up food to make the journey more enjoyable. Working as a couple or in a group can allow individuals to stay focused on watching their peers. However, putting an immense amount of pressure can also make the person suffering from the eating disorder feel discouraged and demotivated. However, family members often try to encourage their loved ones to accomplish their goals faster. However, everyone is different and they cope differently with stress. Therefore, some individuals need more time to accept their disorder and make changes. This results in a negative impact on the person's mental health and causes them to feel discouraged and believe there is no solution to this disorder. Some research problems arise, however, when not much is given to individuals without family support. Research needs to be provided to those without family support or guidance. In addition, how and what is provided to them, how they cope with this disorder. This shows how people react differently to different methods of treatment, and may even explain why people are distant from their families. Therefore, failure to have parental support may result in a lack of support system. Not having a support system can lead to people not knowing about their problems and may have difficulty overcoming them. Therefore, having a strong support system can help one overcome and achieve their goals faster than one without support. In addition, if an individual does not get proper care for their eating disorder, the individuals may become ill and may be hospitalized. Having a support system is crucial as it is very difficult and almost impossible for one to overcome obstacles such as eating disorders. Family therapy or support will help your family team to work together to recover from this disorder. Communicating and sharing how one feels about their disorder can allow family members to support them in many different ways. In addition, family members can also work out ways to reduce some of the major stresses at home.


Eating disorders can have a serious impact on individuals and can be left with serious health consequences if not treated. Not only does it affect the person with this health disorder, it also has a negative effect on their loved ones. Overcoming this disorder can be emotionally difficult for individuals, as watching households suffer often poses challenges to their families. Individuals with eating disorders can often come closer to families or drift apart. Eating disorders often start at home. It can be related to family life style, parents, and possibly genetics. It can also mentally and emotionally affect a person. Negative experiences occur before an individual can overcome eating disorder. One may use one's family to help and motivate people to overcome an eating disorder, but it may also conflict. People can be led the wrong way if their families do not support them correctly. The disorder is capable of changing the life of both a person and their families. Not only does it currently affect the family life of individuals, but it may also have an impact on their future lives. Eating conditions sometimes have a long-term effect on an individual's body and they can have nine months of childbearing in their bodies on women. This can have a negative impact on their relationship with their spouse. Eating disorder can determine how a person's life is shaped, resulting in either a negative or a positive aspect. Eating disorders not only alter the individual's life, but also their family's life in many ways, which can be serious.

07 September 2020
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