National Eating Disorders Association

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13 yr old started purging

I just found out that my 13 yr old daughter is purging. We started seeing her go to the bathroom after meals and my other daughter has heard her throwing up. She also has been skipping meals and lying about eating. I am so heartbroken and lost. Any guidance is appreciated.

I am so sorry to hear...

Hi Mamashita!

Welcome to the NEDA online community forums! I am so glad that you have found a space where you can share your story in regards to your daughter. I am so sorry to hear that your daughter is currently struggling right now. I am not a mother but coming from my own experience with anorexia and bulimia, I can't imagine how hard it must have been for my own mother to go through what she went through with me. I know at times my mother has told me how "helpless" she felt when my eating disorder was at its worse and I'm so sorry you have to go through that now.

Have you tried looking at the "Parent, Family and Friends Network" link? It is located at the top of the page under the "Find Help and Support" tab. Particularly, there is a "Parent Toolkit" that you and your daughter can take a look at. The NEDA Parent Toolkit is not only for parents, but it is there for others to understand more about how to support a family member or a friend affected by an eating disorder. Here is the link:

Also, the NEDA website has the "Helpline" phone number. There you can speak to trained volunteers who can help locate treatment options for your daughter in your area. The phone number is (800) 931-2237 and the Helpline phone number is available Monday-Thursday, from 9:00AM-9:00PM (ET) and Friday, from 9:00AM-5:00PM (ET).

Please let me know if those resources work for you and your family! You and your family are in my thoughts!

Erin_Patricia1 <3


Thanks Erin_Patricia1<3. I will definitely read the toolkit and educate myself a lot more about the disease.


Hi Mamashita,
I am so sorry to hear about your daughter. It is so stressful, scary and overwhelming when you realize that your child has an eating disorder. We knew for a few years about my daughter purging, we went to her doctor, who just told her to eat healthy. As time went on it got a lot worst. I finally took her to another doctor, who luckily had seen other patients with ED. She checked my daughter's heart, which was not working as it should. That is one thing I learned the doctor who knew more about ED had blood work done, checked her heart, the color of her skin, how her nails looked, and asked more pointed questions. She told us to get her into a residential treatment. Which we did, she was 15 at the time she went into the center. It was such a scary time for her and for us. My heart goes out to your family. It is a hard journey, there is also hope. My daughter is now 17 and is making great progress.
My advise is to get her into a doctor who can help see where she is health wise and help you navigate what kind of treatment she might need. If the doctor does not help you, please find another one Also reach out to NEDA and see if they can help you find help and support. Please take care of yourself. I think of ED as a black hole if you are not careful it can suck you and your family into it. I finally went to my own therapist, and I wish I had done it sooner.
You are not alone. There is hope, healing and recovery.

Thank you

Thanks 2Joy2Love. I sometimes feel like it's a bad dream and I have to remind myself this is our new reality. We went to the doctor and need to be more focused. A little lost still and your words of encouragement is helping... a lot. Thank you.


kHi Mamashita,
I have been thinking about you and your daughter. I have learned a lot these last few years. I wanted to share with you a few things that would have helped me along the way. First of all there are different levels of care. There are inpatient-stabilizing ones. Residential (which is what my daughter did for 2 months), PHP-Partial Hospitalization (they are there for the day to have supervision while eating and usually attend classes to help with their eating disorder), IOP-Intensive outpatient treatment(my daughter did this for 4 months. After she left residential she did IOP 3 times a week. This included one supervised meal each time, a therapist visit once a week, dietician visit once a week, and classes.)
You and her doctor can decide what program will work for her.
Also one of the hardest lessons I learned is that I could not fix it. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do everything perfect so that she could recover. I learned that I could not conquer her eating disorder for her. You can help and support her, she is the one that has to decide she wants to beat the ED and work at doing it.
Hang in there, be kind to yourself, there is hope and joy. I have learned to enjoy the little moments, it has helped when my world seemed to be caving in on itself.