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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 12:06 AM   #1
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How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

Hello,

So I have a big problem.

I have a very good friend, and I hate to see her slowly dying from starvation and depression... I am powerless. I don't know what to do to help her.

She used to be anorexic in HS for six months, then her mom sent her to therapy, and apparently that got better. But I recently found out she had an eating disorder, and she admitted she had been doing this for the past three years in cycles. So the whole story doesn't add up.

I think she never truly stopped, and it's in cycles. Thing is that she is in the denial, she says it's not a big deal, that she is gonna be okay, that she just needs a big change in her life... but judging on what she told me about her issues and her life in general and my knowledge of her, this is not something that will just go away. She hates herself

She has started losing her hair and colours have drained from her face, and she is very skinny. It's getting very worrying, as we are still wearing winter clothes (the other day, we went on a shopping spree, and we tried on spring/summer stuff... her bones ), and she is always tired... she never eats red meat/cheese/sugar-y stuff, only fish/green veggies/fruits.

What can I do? The day I pieced the clues together, we talked about it. She got angry at the end, because she genuinely thought it's only sadness, not a real disease or whatever, and she felt bad about telling me. So I stopped. No one from her family knows...



This is such an awful situation, it makes me so sad, she is a really good friend, and I hate that... i don't know what to do... so .. maybe one of you guys already dealt with someone and managed to help him or her....

thank you.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 07:36 AM   #2
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

I know what you mean and it's a very hard and frustraiting situation, you feel powerless and hardly know how to move.
I've gone through this with one of my best friends and it's very tough to battle against such a strong mental disease...I could tell you how I behaved with her, but I think that it's very different from person to person and the kind of relationship you have with your friend.

I've tried the strong way, in the sense that I simply was like always, just telling her truth whenever she asked, which meant telling her that she didn't look good by being 7-8kilos less than she should be, that it's not nice to go out dining with her if she's to eat nothing and so on. I knew it would hurt her because she loves cooking and going out eating well, but she also cares a lot of her figure.
I knew she would get mad at me first and so it was, we had fights often, but our connection was stronger than that and step by step all my "rants" entered her head and slowly she realized that as well...now she's still skinny and often phones me when she feels bad about her body and thinks she might fall back, we live far one from the other now, but she knows I can always help and that's probably what she needed.

I don't know if that's of any help, but I don't know what more I can tell you...
all the best, really, you'll need it
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 07:59 AM   #3
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

Keep her strapped to a chair for a month force-feeding her lard and cake.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 08:01 AM   #4
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

you just addressed one of the bigger problems in my life: my sister, who's 11 years older than me, has the same issues. so it's a topic that has followed me around for more or less all of my life. she's not unhealthy, she does a lot of sports (she has this madonna-like arms), but her eating habits are fucked up. which has also a huge impact on her social abilites: it's so uncomfortable when she joins a dinner with friends or something. i try to avoid these situations at all costs. which might be cowardly, but the only way i can deal with it.

so, i don't really have advice for you, because i don't know how to handle the whole situation to this day myself. like mitten kitten says, nothing makes me feel more powerless. i don't know, but i feel like this problem should have been dealt with when she was a teenager, and that it's too late now, that she's simply stuck with it. she's a very complicated person in general, i might add.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 10:09 AM   #5
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

Try to let her mother know if you can.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 10:20 AM   #6
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

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Originally Posted by Helen Lawson View Post
Try to let her mother know if you can.
The mother must be thick as sh%t if she hasn't noticed already!
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 11:03 AM   #7
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

I don't know if there is a hotline for eating disorders in your country but if yes then call them and ask them for help. From there they will help your friend. Or is it possible to talk to her and hopefully she agrees to talk to somebody in person like a psychiatrist or a counsellor? This are some suggestions. Hopefully she gets better.

For me it's the opposite. To easy to gain weight.
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Old Apr 8th, 2013, 11:52 PM   #8
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Londoner View Post
The mother must be thick as sh%t if she hasn't noticed already!
Agreed. But push the blame for this back on mom so Lesborah can go back to being a carefree student and experience some girl-on-girl stuff she can share with us.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

It's so hard to help people with Eating Disorders because they often don't realise or can't admit to themselves that they need help. You can't forec someone to enter treatment (unless the ED gets really bad, in which case the sufferer can be sectioned under the mental health act, but obviously that's a worst-case scenario. Eating disorders rarely truly go away completely, sufferers can just learn to manage them better.

I agree with what others have said, make sure you speak to her family, who I'm sure must be aware but maybe are unsure what to do. It's important to realise that shock tactics like telling the ED sufferer that they are too thin/that they will end up in hospital won't work. 'Too thin' is neither an insult nor a possibility to them. Just tell them that you are concerned, that you care about them, and try to encourage them to speak to someone. Don't try taking them out for meals/putting pressure on them to eat.
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Old Apr 9th, 2013, 11:57 PM   #10
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

Try to get her to see a therapist for the underlying issues rather than the ED. If you dwell on the ED, she might become more resistant.

It is difficult, because the person has to want to change.. I have had two friends who have suffered from this. One of them was able to gain some weight, finally, and make the mental adjustments necessary so she could eat healthily; however, she says she still finds herself struggle with the desire to ration her food. She looked like a bird. What triggered her to finally gain weight (5'6" and 86 lbs), after all her other friends and family tried and tried (she was hospitalized twice), was a weightlifting boyfriend who managed to get her to supplement her fruit and veggie diet with protein powders. I never would have thought of that. Even though she began with the desire to please him, she ultimately realized that she wanted to be better.

The other friend was actually bulimic. She only drank soda all day long. She died. It was awful.

Another woman I knew (she was a housemate) would eat one bare salad a day (no dressing, no meat, no cheese). I don't know what happened to her, because she moved. She was hardcore. I can't imagine how she is now.

It is a slow process.

Even if the first therapy didn't work out, another therapist might work better with her.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 12:06 AM   #11
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

Debby IT IS NOT YOUR PROBLEM, it is your friend's problem and you wanna help her.

I'm sorry I don't have an advice.
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Old Apr 10th, 2013, 03:44 AM   #12
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Re: How to make a friend with an eating disorder seek help?

First of all, nobody can help if she doesn't acknowledge that she has a problem and that she wants to fix it.

In order for her to acknowledge that, something like an intervention is probably the best way. However, an intervention needs to be a meeting where she absolutely feels that she is being loved and mostly importantly that she isn't being judged/criticized.

Before she breaks down, acknowledges the problem and wants to recover from it, there isn't therapy or any other thing that will help her. It's a tough process and forcing her to eat/confronting her on a non-perfect environment will only have negative results.
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