National Eating Disorders Association

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Adult hiding possible bulimia

We are both women in our mid-late 30s and single, living alone. One of my good friends LOVES certain food, all the good food. Yet - I'm pretty sure she's puking it all up. She makes fun of people that "just eat foods that are labeled as healthy" and supports anyone eating what they want. On the outside, very body positive. On the inside, I know she struggles and gets pressure from her family. I've heard her puking on multiple occasions in the bathroom and have seen evidence in the toilet in other times. We've been friends for years but I've never said anything. I'm not sure how to tackle this. I know she has a therapist but also know that she's pretty secretive, so not sure if this even comes up in therapy. Is this something I should confront? I feel like it will hurt our friendship if I do. How can I let a friend know that I'm concerned and try and get her to confide in me?


Hi. We're sorry to hear about the concerns you're having regarding your friend. Here is a page on our website that can help: also edited part of your post as it included details that might be triggering for others. Please take a look at our community guidelines here: you’re looking for resources, please feel free to contact the Helpline at (800) 931-2237. Phones are open Monday-Thursday 11AM-9PM EST and Friday 11 AM-5PM EST. Our Click to Chat is open Monday-Thursday 9AM-9PM EST and Friday 9AM-5PM EST. You can click the chat now option at the top right hand corner!
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Your Friend.

First off, I'm sorry that your post sat here for a while with no response. It can be pretty quiet here at times, but sooner or later you are likely to get a reply.

And yes, what shall we do when we know that people we care for may be involved in unhealthy habits ? Because I suspect that your suspicions about your friend may be accurate. Plus what about situations that are going to be difficult for the person to resolve, even in the best of times ? Once they spill the beans to us…are they then going to think that we expect them to recover ? Because really, that is pretty much what we're going to hope for them.

If it were me…I'd wait until she seems ready to talk about it. EDs can be awfully private, and sources of shame for some people. If she wasn't doing anything to help herself that would be one thing. But since she's seeing a therapist, it seems to me that she's already taking a responsible approach.

One thing you might want to watch out for though - If it seems that she has low self-esteem, or tends to get down on herself, I do think you can be supportive in that way. Without having to go into the rest of the situation.

In any case, just a few thoughts. She's fortunate to have a caring friend like yourself.

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