Guilt is an underlying theme in families affected by an eating disorder. The patient experiences enormous guilt for having the disease, for exhibiting symptoms of the disease (particularly binging and purging), and for violating the rules of the eating disorder by eating. The parents may experience unbearable guilt, endlessly wondering what they might have done, or not done, to make their child ill; siblings will feel guilt for secretly (or not so secretly) detesting their brother or sister for having "ruined our family." But guilt and blame are allies of the eating disorder as they sap willpower from both carer and patient. They need to be combated by the individual, family and team of providers working together to promote empowerment.
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