National Eating Disorders Association

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Roomie/BFF with Binge Eating Disorder

Hello! My name is Emma & I am in college. My best friend, who is also my roomie has been struggling with binge eating disorder for a very long time. For the time I’ve known her she has gone through up and down cycles. Sometimes she will go without binging for some time, but just when I think she is starting to recover and make progress she binges. Her binges have been getting consistently worse everytime recently to the point where she will eat until she passes out and it last for days. I have tried to help in many ways. I have been supportive, understanding and patient. I am getting frustrating though because she has stolen food from me multiple times. We have set boundaries, but she has broken them. I am torn apart and am not sure what to do because she is my best friend. I want to be supportive and understanding still but I am getting to a breaking point. Please help me, I have no idea what to do.

Medical Symptoms

Hi Itseemmmmaa - you mentioned some concerning symptoms in your post, and we wanted to affirm that this is a sign for which your friend may need to seek medical attention. The following are just some of the signs of a serious problem that demands immediate medical attention:

  • accidentally or deliberately caused themselves a physical injury
  • become suicidal
  • confused thinking and is not making any sense
  • delusions (false beliefs) or hallucinations (experiencing things that aren’t there)
  • disoriented; doesn’t know what day it is, where they are or who they are
  • vomiting several times a day or has uncontrollable vomiting or diarrhea
  • experiencing dizziness or fainting spells
  • too weak to walk or collapses
  • painful muscle spasms
  • experience pain in the lower legs
  • complaining of chest pain or having trouble breathing
  • blood in their bowel movements, urine or vomit
  • a body mass index (BMI) of less than 16
  • an irregular heartbeat, and fast heartbeat, or very low heart beat (less than 50 beats per minute)
  • cold or clammy skin indicating a low body temperature or has a body temperature of less than 35 degrees Celsius/95 degrees Fahrenheit
  • experience dizziness, nausea, fever
  • wounds/cuts heal slowly
  • feel tingling in the hands or feet
  • blurred vision

If shee experiences anything above, we highly recommend seeking help from a medical professional as soon as possible. Seek medical help soon on an outpatient basis if you:

  • have significant heartburn and/or a burning sensation after eating
  • have other gastrointestinal concerns
  • have high blood pressure
  • struggle with significant joint or muscle pain
  • have difficulty sleeping (falling and/or remaining asleep)
  • struggle with fatigue, sudden weight gain, and/or hair loss
  • have frequent urination or unquenchable thirst
  • have gained and lost significant weight repeatedly
  •  have gained significant weight in a short period of time
  • struggle with chronic diarrhea or constipation

 Please do not hesitate to call the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (Monday-Thursday 9:00am-9:00pm, Friday 9:00am-5:00pm EST) if you need help finding resources to help support your friend. Please take care.


Hi. I am sorry for your situation and for your friends struggle. Is it possible to get help through the counselling services at your college? Many campuses have counselling centers. You may want to go for yourself first and then let your friend know about them. Also, NEDA has a lot of information on their web site on how to help someone you love, be it a friend or family member. You can also call them or chat with them online. If your friend is indeed passed out, it may be very important to call 911 or the nurse on campus. I wouldn't worry so much about if she will be mad at you if you are saving her life. It appears that she needs help but is not aware of it or is afraid of it or doesn't want to get help. But it isn't your job to jeep your friend from hurting herself in this way. As difficult as this sounds, it is her responsibility, but you can get her help if she is in danger. If her life is in danger. If she is passed out. Eating disorders are life threatening. They are very serious and without help usually get worse. Please take care of yourself and know you can not control what your friend does or doesn't do. I know it is scary. I can see you love your friend. Please let us know how you are and how your friend is doing.


I am sorry this sounds a bit negative, but I want to let you know that you are doing the best you can do and it sounds like it is time you got yourself support. Please know that it is okay to feel the way you are feeling.