National Eating Disorders Association

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anxirty about eating

Hello, My 15 yr old daughter has just been diagnosed with AN. We have just started therapy. We are at the refeeding stage with the Maudsley method. Sometimes when I ask her to eat she has a complete meltdown and hyperventalats. I dont know what to do then. Also therapist said to send her to school. Dont change her routine, but there is about 6 hrs in between breakfast and lunch. I think that is too long for her.


Hi there!!!

Thank you so much for trusting these forums with your situation! I hope I can be of some support and guidance!!

I am sorry that your daughter is currently going through this rough time, but it is great that she has begun treatment!!! These are the first steps towards recovery and she has a very loving parent helping her along the way!!!!!

With regards to your daughter hyperventilating, have you tried any activities that can help her calm down? Maybe work on a puzzle while she eats or play a game? There are also other things that may help. Does she like a certain candle scent? That might help calm her down. Also, things related to touch, such as holding ice briefly or going outside, can help your daughter feel less anxious.

Although I can't make a direct assessment of your daughter's condition, I am worried about her going to school. Has she seen an eating disorder physician or a physician in general to evaluate her medically? She may be unstable physically, so I think having some medical evaluations would help. If you are not sure where to find a specialty physician, the NEDA Helpline can assist. All you need to do is call 1-800-931-2237 and someone will help find resources in your area.

I hope that this helps!!!! If you have any questions please ask!! We are here to support you and your daughter!!!!

My daughter is 17 and should

My daughter is 17 and should be graduating from HS this year but, sadly, she is not. The ED along with anxiety and emotional outbursts led to her eventually being asked to leave school and not return. We have been through lots of therapy but for the longest time nothing was working. I sympathize with you about the school situation - it is VERY difficult to figure out how a person with an ED can deal with lunch and stuff.
I recommend contacting the counseling dept at your school if you have one and also I would send emails to all her teachers and principals so they are aware of what is going on - communication is crucial.

Hi hurtsoul!

Hello! Thank you for sharing that insight and support!!!

I am sorry to hear about your daughter and your situation. Recovery is possible!!!!!!! Have you considered calling the NEDA Helpline at 1-800-931-2237? They can give you a great idea regarding alternative or new approaches to your daughters treatment!!!

Are you as a parent receiving any support? I think it is very important for you to have support as well!!! If you are interested I can share some ideas of how to access this support!!

Please let me know if you have any questions!


Thank you for voicing your concerns. Any sufferer does well with all the support he or she can get. It's good that you are involved and care about your daughter. It may be helpful to ask her about how her day was or how she is doing, completely unrelated to food. Most often, an individual uses eating disordered behaviors to cope with internal turmoil. Your daughter may need you to talk to!

Also, there's a few links below you might find helpful for your daughter:
Positive body image:
Sharing w ease:
Support groups:

All the Best!

Not sure what to say

Am pretty certain my daughter has an eating disorder, however she is not interested in talking about the subject. She is in her early 30s and think this has been going on for a while. Her husband asked if I can maybe get her to talk because she shuts down conversation with him. I am not certain how nor what to say. Help....

Densie, I'm sorry to hear

Densie, I'm sorry to hear your daughter is struggling with eating issues, but you came to the right place for help. If you feel comfortable enough to begin a conversation with her, there are definitely ways to try and get her to maybe open up a little and talk about what she's going through. First, it can be important for you and her husband to learn more about eating disorders, in order to separate facts and myth and to help learn more about what she may be struggling with.
These links could be helpful for those reasons:, Begining a conversation like this can be hard, but this handout has some really good ideas on how to do that, along with some more helpful information:
Eating disorders are very complex, and wether or not she is suffering from one, can only be determined by a health professional. If she is willing to speak with one, the NEDA helpline is an invaluable resource that can help you find a health professional in your area for her to talk to. They can be a future support for her and a current one for you or her husband to help learn more about eating disorders, or help you figure out what to say to broach the topic with your daughter. Their hours are MWF 9-9, Fri 9-5 EST and their number is 1-800-931-2237. Don't be afraid to call, a volunteer is always there willing to help, and you will always find support here! Let me know how the conversation goes!