Parents and Carers

Caring for a loved one who is struggling in their relationship with food and body image can be complex. It can bring up numerous conflicting emotions and can leave you feeling stuck and at a loss to know what's best. Please be assured that you are not alone, there are many other parents and carers who have found themselves where you are, right now.

There are numerous reasons why your loved one has developed difficulties with food and body image and a range of reasons why this has become habitual. It can be very common whether your loved one is restricting, bingeing, purging, overeating or a combination of these behaviours that you want them just to stop, to snap out of it but unfortunately it's not that simple. 

Disorder eating does not exist in isolation, it develops as a coping strategy to the numerous stresses in day to day life. In the short term it can be highly effective and helps your loved one to numb, distract or dissociate from painful emotions and experiences. It helps them to distance themselves from what would otherwise overwhelm them. However, over longer periods your loved one can develop an unhealthy dependency on the behaviours, unable to function without them. The behaviours begin to become part of your loved ones identity and they will struggle to separate themselves from the behaviours. Over time this has a significant negative impact on mental, emotional and physical well being. Currently your loved one does not have a better strategy for coping day to day. 

Research shows that when it comes to disordered eating and body image distress, early intervention has the best outcome. The longer the behaviours have been in place the longer it will take to recover. However, I always remain hopeful as there is so much more we know about effective treatment. Where possible, parents and carers can be a great resource during recovery and where appropriate parents and carers will be encourage to be involved. 


Your loved one doesn't need to have a diagnosis to access the Recovery Programme. If you recognise your loved one is struggling in their relationship with food and their body take the first step towards recovery today and request an Assessment Pack. Recovery is possible and your loved one can learn to live a life free from distressing, unhealthy and life limiting behaviours,  and improve their relationship with food, their bodies and themselves.

Further Information

Please be aware that there is a huge amount of inaccurate, unreliable and out of date information available on disordered eating and body image distress. The following sites provide accurate, reliable and up to date information.

BEAT Charity

The UK's leading eating disorder charity offering information, resources and support.

The New Maudsley Approach

A resource for Carers and Professionals of people with eating disorders.


An organisation providing information, resources and a free educational 30 day online programme for parents and carers.

National Centre for Eating Disorders

An organisation providing information, resources and training on eating disorders..