Indexed on: 26 Jul '06Published on: 26 Jul '06Published in: Eating disorders
Having a relative with an eating disorder (ED) affects the life of family caregivers and may thus affect their quality of life. To study this aspect, 40 caregivers of ED patients filled out a health-related quality of life questionnaire (Short Form-36) and a questionnaire on the impact of the ED on various areas of life domains, and on the relationship with the ED patient and the need for professional support. Quality of life of caregivers was worse than in a normal reference group. Specifically, mental health, vitality and emotional role functioning were reported to be most impaired. ED appeared to affect families' lives substantially. In response to the ED, caregivers felt anxious, powerless, sad, or desperate. The relationship of the caregiver with the ED patient had also changed. Caregivers were more worried, lost their trust, and reported more conflicts. Seventy five percent welcomed professional support. Caregivers need practical advice, information on ED, and emotional support. Quality of life of caregivers should be addressed in the treatment of ED.