Have an Intervention for an Anorexic Friend

The concept of an intervention has been introduced into the world of drug addicts and alcoholics, but many people don’t realize it can be done to someone suffering from anorexia as well. While it’s true that an eating disorder is very different from drug or alcohol addiction, the intervention process used for these disorders is very similar.

Like hosting an intervention for someone with an addition, an eating disorder intervention involves the person’s family and friends presenting the negative consequences of a loved one’s behavior and requesting the individual receives treatment.

Although the effects of anorexia may not be as obvious as drug or alcohol abuse, the damages are just as serious and real to the individual who has the problem and to those who love them.

Hosting an Anorexia Intervention

The way an eating disorder intervention flows is much like an addiction intervention, but the people involved are different. Typically an eating disorder intervention will have the person’s family members and friends, but a psychiatrist who specializes in eating disorders will be utilized whenever possible.

Fear is one of the biggest challenges when hosting this type of intervention. Family members are frustrated and exhausted from trying to help the person, confused as to why they would abuse their body in this way. There are many other emotions involved and the anorexic needs help taking care of themselves and guidance on how to find the help they need to recover.

The intervention team will spend time talking to and educating the family about what the person is going through and what is happening to them. In addition, the family will be afraid and the person with anorexia will feel paranoid, ashamed and helpless.

What happens?

The role of a professional eating disorder interventionist is to guide the process in a loving, respectful and peaceful manner. The team will strongly encourage the family to make their own decisions based on what they are emotionally and physically able to handle and to express their desires in a healthy manner.

Without the assistance of an eating disorder interventionist, people struggling with anorexia might feel trapped, avoid the subject, dismiss the seriousness of the situation and turn the people involved against each other. This is because the mind of someone with an eating disorder is quite powerful and manipulative.


Family members are very important in the role of an eating disorder intervention. They must be open to changing their behaviors and setting up boundaries and consequences, if the person they love refuses to get treatment.

An intervention for someone with an eating disorder is not just for the patient, but for the family who loves them. The family system and home environment must change in order for the patient to successfully enter a treatment program, receive help for their eating disorder and to be able to have a lasting and lifelong recovery.

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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