Support Groups for Loved Ones with Mental Illnesses and Eating Disorders

Contributed by: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Eating Disorder Hope

If you have a loved one dealing with a co-occurring disorder, you may find yourself feeling a rollercoaster of emotions. Whether your loved one is a spouse, a child, a sibling or parent, distant relative or friend, seeing someone you care for can be deeply troubling and unsettling.

There is likely a sincere desire within you that wants to do anything you can to help this person get well and recovery. While you can point your loved one in the right direction, offer them all the resources they need, connect them to treatment and specialized professionals, and take them to their appointments, they are ultimately the one who has to do the work in the recovery.

The chances are that you would likely sacrifice anything to see your loved one get well again, and you might feel helpless on the outside.

Dealing with Complexity and Misinformation

Mental illnesses are complex diseases and overwhelming to navigate. On top of this, there exists a plethora of misinformation at our fingertips, and this can add to the sense of confusion that you may already be feeling.

As a loved on or caregiver, it is important to keep yourself educated, informed, and supported throughout this process. This will allow you to give your loved one the best possible support they need in their recovery.

Though it may feel like you are not making a difference, your constant dedication and unrelenting love will be persistent forces towards recovery in their journey.

Finding a Support Group

Finding a support group for carers of mental illness sufferers can be a cornerstone of encouragement for you. Connecting to other individuals and families, talking and listening to others who have walked this road before you, and making new friendships can be a light on the path that is seemingly dark and unknown.

Perhaps you have found it difficult to talk with other people about the struggles you are facing, but there is no shame in your story. The burden of mental illness is heavy, and you do not need to carry it alone.

Many treatment centers may offer support groups for loved ones, and this may be a good place to start if you are looking for somewhere to get involved. Other organizations, such as the National Eating Disorder Association and Academy for Eating Disorders, can help refer you to a support group as you walk through this journey with your loved one.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

What has been your experience as a caregiver for a loved one with mental illness?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 13th, 2015
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He is responsible for the operations of Eating Disorder Hope and ensuring that the website is functioning smoothly.