National Eating Disorders Association

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First post, help with depression and eating behaviors

Hi, this is my first post. My 12yr ild daughter has been dealing with anorexia, we first became very concerned around May. She was hospitalized over the summer, where she realized the severity of the illneas. Ever since, she has been very courageous and has made an effort to eat what we're giving her. We've adopted an FBT type of treatment, and we've built a support team for her with her therapist, pediatrician, and nutritionist.

Last week, she became very anxious while attending her pediatrician appointment. We got the great news that she had continued gaining weight, but her emotional reaction was to be lme extremely upset. Over the coursenof this week, her mood has ckntinued to fall, and she told my wife today that she didn't know why she was so sad. We arr pretty sure she is going through a depression period. I wanted to hear the forum's experience in dealing with depression while going through recovery. What did you find worked well? What has been your experience with antidepressants?

Also wanted to get advice on supporting her during meals. Her eating has become very messy, and we're spending 60-90 mins with every meal. We are all exhausted. What has worked well for you? We've tried games, distractions, conversation, encouragement, but her pace hasnt picked up.

Thank you all.


Hello and welcome to the forum. I am sorry you had to wait so long for a response. I am also sad to hear of your daughter's struggles. As parents it has got to be scary. I am in my ninth month of recovery, so I want to let you know others of us here on the forums have also recovered. Some for three years. Others have had full recovery and have maintained it for good. So I just wanted to start with that.

I started out with anorexia when I was fifteen going on sixteen. For me, I was also diagnosed with major depression and an anxiety disorder. I think, a non professional opinion, that depression and anxiety frequently affects someone with an eating disorder. When we are trapped into a world of such fear, and gaining even a pound can be very frightening to someone suffering with an eating disorder, and having to live life in a constant state of fear, I think that can add to depression. We are not allowed to share medical advice so I can not talk about anti-depressants. That you would need to talk with your doctor about. I know some worked for me, others did not. It is up to the bodies chemistry.

Meal times are a very difficult time for those of us who have such a fear of food and gaining weight. Family based treatment wasn't used when I was in the depths of my eating disorder, and I did the opposite. I inhaled my food, I never went through the phase of cutting it and spreading the time out. Eating disorders along with any other addiction, to drugs or alcohol serve a purpose. To block out pain, or to I don't know, I just know they serve a purpose. Once ingrained it is more difficult to break the behaviors and mind set. Seems like you as parents did a good job in noticing and got your daughter help quickly. Have you considered a day program? You can call the NEDA hotline and ask them about that and also their take on how long it should take reasonably for your daughter to finish her meals. Eating disorders are also about control. When I was ill, I was secretly proud of my super thin body, accomplishing what many could not. But I was terrified all the time and extremely depressed. When I first started going inpatient is was in the 80's and treatment was very different than it is now.

Are you and your family in therapy with your daughter and/or separately? It may help to get help for yourselves.

When I was in the hospital they limited the time we had to eat. You may want to talk with her dietician about that.

It is extremely difficult to watch a daughter suffer. My parents have always been very supportive and helped me a lot, and my faith in Jesus and the prayers prayed for me helped too. It took me many years to be willing to be willing to recover. I was not willing even to be willing for a long time. My parents have only told me recently how difficult is was for them, that I treated them poorly, and was very angry. I do not remember this. They feared for my life on many occasions. But I want to leave you with this. Recovery is possible, even more possible when someone wants to get well. You as parents seem to be doing your best. Any hatred or anger that may be thrown at you by your daughter is the eating disorder speaking. It is fear speaking. So try not to take it on and feel guilty. Not everyone has what you are giving your daughter.
How is she doing now? Have the meal times improved at all?

Please reach out to the NEDA volunteers. The number is on the website. I wish for you the best, and I will pray for your family. Hang in there and always remember, recovery is possible.


Hi there, just checking in to see how you and your daughter are doing?