National Eating Disorders Association

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15 year old with Orthorexia

I often find myself alone as I try to help my 15 year old with her Orthorexia, OCD & Anxiety. Most people do not know what it is or think of it as an ED. My daughter has become obsessed with eating what she believes to be healthy and clean and exercise. In a matter of 6 months lost a lot of weight. It happened to fast that I didn't see it and yet I feel that it happened so slow I didn't see it. At the beginning he would workout every day and restrict how much she ate, but that slowly started to go down because of what she believed she could eat. She hasn't had a menstrual cycle in about a year, she has panic attacks if she does not know what is in the food. She is starting to lose her hair severely-in clumps. She is depressed has pulled herself away from all of her friends and doesn't want to go anywhere. We have started therapy. It is so hard being so close to her holding my head up and not letting her see that it is affecting me as well. I cry daily, I can't sleep and I feel guilty for the though of talking about how I feel when my daughter has to be feeling so much worse. I ache for her. I have faith that God is going to get us through this. But what a hurdle, what a mountain to climb. I have been searching for a parent community for awhile now, so glad I found this one.

Hi Kenkel6,

I’m so sorry to hear about your daughter’s struggles. I can definitely understand your situation, as I was also the supporter of a loved one who struggled with an eating disorder. Unfortunately, EDs are ruthless and affect everyone around the sufferer, including friends and family.
Despite your struggles, I am so glad to hear that your daughter has started therapy. The importance of professional help cannot be overstated, and it’s amazing that your daughter has started receiving it. Hopefully she will start to feel better as she moves toward recovery.
Please do not feel guilty for how you feel. Supporting a loved one through an eating disorder is an incredibly difficult thing, and it’s completely understandable that you have been negatively affected by it. I highly encourage you to seek a therapist for yourself as well, because you shouldn’t have to go through this without support either. You can contact the NEDA Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (M-R 9-9, F 9-5 EST) for help finding therapists and even support groups in your area. I would also recommend browsing NEDA’s website for other helpful resources, including the Parent Toolkit (

I wish you the best of luck. Please keep us updated. Stay strong!

There is hope

Hi. I am so sorry to hear about your daughter's struggles with ED. I can tell that you love her very much. It is hard to see your loved one suffering, and to worry about their health .I have a 16 year old daughter with ED. I went from being a person who planned things well in advance to one that was just surviving the moment. I felt so helpless at times yet at the same time felt like if I could just do the right thing she would get better Some of the things you spoke of about your daughter, remind me of my daughter. The isolation, panic attacks, only eating certain foods, exercising a lot. She was in residential care for 2 months almost a year ago. She then did IOP during last summer. Now she sees a dietican and therapist weekly. She has come such a long way. I am getting my daughter back. The one that laughs, tells jokes she is even getting together with friends at times. It is not an easy rode to recovery, but it is possible. She still has hard days. I still have days that I get overwhelmed, but it is getting better. Hang in there. There is hope. Please take care of yourself. If I could go back in time to where I first was told to put my daughter into a center for ED I would give myself this advise. To take care of myself to not lose myself in the battle against ED. It can seem like a black hole that sucks the energy and joy out of everyone including the caregiver. That it is okay to take care of myself to not feel quilty about finding joy and happiness still. Good luck to you and your daughter.