National Eating Disorders Association

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How long can she live on nutrition drinks?

New here and first post. My 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with restrictive anorexia about a month ago. We knew things where going down hill at Christmas. She has been working out and getting in phenomenal shape since last spring. Eating healthy but always eating enough. She was counting calories but always maintained weight. She actually was counting calories so she could eat what she needed to build muscle. She is an amazing volley ball player and came into 9th grade strong as an ox. December came and she got mono. She lost weight because of it and it spiraled her very quickly into very restrictive eating. Long story short she just came out of children's hospital 2 days ago after a 13 day stay and a beginning of a re feeding program. The stay was brutal, but by the end she was eating most meals and came home on a high calorie meal plan. Yesterday she ate half of breakfast and half of lunch. Since then has refused all food. The rages and yelling have stopped, she just sits for the half an hour and just stares, doesn't eat anything, then I give her the supplement and she drinks it in a few minutes and goes back to the couch. doesn't speak to me or anyone unless its to tell me she hates me or i should burn in hell. How long should I let her just drink the supplement beverage? literally today she drank all her calories in beverage form. when do I push and say she can't have it and must eat? and if she refuses? I hate that its the weekend and I can't get a hold of her team at children's hospital. I have to wait til Monday. do i make her sit until she eats solid food or just be happy that shes drinking the supplement?


Hi Maare, welcome to the forums. We edited your post slightly to remove weight numbers and the names of a specific beverage, which are not allowed on the forums – you can review our community guidelines here. We’re sorry to hear about what’s going on with your daughter and hope you can find support on the forums. If you need assistance finding more resources in your area, please feel free to contact the NEDA Helpline at 800.931.2237 M-Th 11am-9pm ET and F 11am-5pm ET. Additionally, you can chat with us online M-Th 9am-9pm ET and F 9am-5pm ET. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and take care.


Boy, these sound like disturbing developments alright. What brought this on is hard to say, but kids can be really sensitive at her age. Some kind of bullying comment from someone at school about her appearance - often it doesn't take much to set things off.

And imagine how the hospital must have felt to her. Here she was, exerting all this self-discipline, and (successfully!) seeing herself get thinner, and suddenly she's put in a position where all of her control has been stripped away from her, and strangers are forcing her to do things which absolutely feel wrong. It must have felt completely traumatic, and it sounds to me like she may still stunned by the whole thing.

And now she's expected to repeat the whole thing on her own ?

So yes, what to do ? It's probably not fair to try and discount her experience, or say that everything's going to be fine. Hopefully the treatment team will have some suggestions.

In the mean time though, yes, it's good that she's at least willing to drink the supplement. That really does count as something.

Just keep an eye on her for a while after she drinks it would be my suggestion. No quick trips to the bathroom I mean.