National Eating Disorders Association

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Advice needed for first real conversation

I don't know how I didn't see it earlier. My son started losing weight right before he was going to study abroad for the Spring of 2015. I just thought it was the stress. Seemed logical. He was abroad for 6 weeks and then we went to see him. I noticed more weight loss. Again - thought about him living, working and going to school so far from home would cause stress that would result in weight loss. He came home in April 2015 and lived with us for 6+ weeks while waiting for a new apartment to come available in his college town. He was a little 'pickier' about food choices but seemed to eat what we ate - with some changes. He barely left the house that whole time but I didn't think anything of it at the time because he kept saying he needed to decompress after the time abroad. Moved him to new apartment in May and then schedules didn't allow us to see each other until Thanksgiving. OMG! He was frail, pale, irritable and wouldn't eat anything. All family members noticed and commented to me discreetly. Before he went back to school, I just casually mentioned that I noticed he had lost some weight and that I was concerned for his health. He was calm at first then he got pretty upset with me - "if I am this frail person you are accusing me of being - tell me how I can go to school full time and work full time". "I am fine" We parted with him being very mad at me. I sent him a card every day for a week plus with just little a note telling him how proud I am of him, etc. He graduated from college days before Christmas. He came home at Christmas and did (in my opinion) everything so that the two of us were not alone so that we had no time to chat. Fast forward.....I haven't seen him since Christmas and we are going to meet this week to 'have lunch'. I digress.......WHAT DO I SAY??
I need advice on the approach I was going to take.......He hasn't been to a dentist in 2+ years or a doctor in ummmmm a few years. I printed info on optometrists, dentists and doctors in his part of the state that are in our health network. I was going to suggest that he make appointments at each provider and get a 'once over' while he is still covered under our health insurance. That would give him some time so that he wouldn't have to miss work when he starts with an employer in his field. Is this a stupid approach??

Welcome to the forum!

Hi howcanihelp,
I'm so sorry to hear about your son, this is such a difficult thing to deal with! Your approach sounds good to me, seeing a doctor is obviously very important and maybe he will be more receptive to advice when it comes from a health professional. You can also call the NEDA Helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (M-R 9-9, F 9-5 EST) for help finding resources in your (or his) area, from ED specialists to support groups to nutritionists. You can get advice on how to support him and hopefully he will consider treatment after meeting with a physician. NEDA also has other great resources you can check out, including the Parental Toolkit and NEDA Navigators, which you can find here:

Good luck, please keep us updated!


Hi howcanihelp,

We just wanted to let you know that a portion of your post was edited in order to adhere with our community guidelines ( Thank you for posting, and we hope you will continue! :)