National Eating Disorders Association

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New to Forum - Adult Daughter with BED

Hi, my daughter is 22. She was a healthy weight as a child but began to gain weight around age 12. Throughout her teens until she was 21 she was overweight. Then in July 2016 she went on this restrictive diet for 4 months and lost a substantial amount of weight. Unfortunately this diet led to a cycle of binge eating that has gone on for the past year. I’ve never seen her bingeing but she doesn’t live at home so I really wouldn’t see it. She has talked to me about it though. She says she eats thousands of calories of junk food once or twice a week. She’s only gained back a bit of weight so she must be restricting too. She says she doesn’t purge and I think she would tell me if she did, Our doctor has diagnosed her with binge eating disorder and put her on an antidepressant since July. She says it helps her feel happier and more outgoing but doesn’t help the bingeing.
We found a nutritionist that she saw only once as she didn’t want someone to tell her what to eat. She attended 2 eating disorder support group meetings led by a professional but then quit because she said all everyone did was complain about their relationships. I urged her to make a private appointment with the leader but she never did. I looked up therapists who specialize in eating disorders. She made an appointment with one and then cancelled it. She enrolled in a 6-week online course for binge eating but then didn’t commit to it because she was “too busy”.
So what do I do now? I’m so worried about her it’s causing problems in my marriage. I feel alone and depressed. She’s obsessed with food and I’m obsessed with her. This cycle of bingeing on junk food cannot be good for her body. I don’t think she knows how to eat a balanced diet. She just keeps talking about the next sweet food she’s looking forward to. She’s away for the weekend with a friend and so far today she has sent me pictures of sweet foods and drinks. She just lives for sugary food.
It’s not like I can force her to get help. She’s in no immediate medical or psychological danger. In fact, from the outside her life looks fine. She’s a graduate student doing very well at school with a boyfriend who adores her and an active social life. But it breaks my heart to hear her say how much she hates herself after bingeing. I wish food didn’t consume her. I fear she has given up hope and doesn’t feel she can stop.
I don’t live near any support groups specifically for parents of children with eating disorders, but there are several al-anon groups. Would I be welcome even though my daughter doesn’t struggle with alcohol? I’m thinking many issues would be the same and I’m desperate to find some peace for myself.
I apologize for the long post!

Post Edited

Dear mda246, welcome to the forums! I wanted to let you know that your post has been edited to take out any mediation names or words related to foods as there might be triggering to other forum members. You can find our forum guidelines here: Thank you for sharing and please keep posting!


HI mda246! I am so sorry to hear about the struggles you are going through with your daughter. Personally, I think that it would be okay to go to the al-anon groups. At least try them out and see what happens--it can't hurt. Also, have you thought about calling the NEDA Helpline (1-800-931-2237)? They may be able to find you useful resources. I hope you are able to find the support you need and please keep posting :)

Alanon meetings are awesome.

Alanon meetings are awesome. I only went to one of them and bought the book while my son was in treatment and going thru some drug issues and at the same time my teen daughter thru ED. Alanon helped me with both. The book is so worth the purchase and I will never forget the people in that meeting. They were so loving and the way they all just had so much compassion all over their faces. Everyone welcomed me and hugged me when they left. Very touching and very helpful I will definitely find a place close to my home for Alanon meetings again soon. If nothing else purchase the book and just read it over and over whenever you feel like you need inspiration to move on.