National Eating Disorders Association

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Anyone experienced, could you help?'ve known my friend has anorexia for awhile now, and I've been trying all sorts of psychology tricks her..They worked for awhile, but once she finally got an official tests to prove she has it, they stopped working. She's trying to eat less and less, and I'm feeling really helpless right now. I know her better than I know myself, and I don't know what to do still. So, does anyone have any advice they can offer? Anything helps, thanks


Hi! Thank you for posting. We’re sorry to hear about what’s going on! We hope that you’re able to get the support you deserve here on the forums! When you get the chance, 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. The Helpline is open Mondays-Thursdays 9AM-9PM EST and Fridays 9AM-5PM EST. During these hours you can chat with us also by clicking the chat now option at the top right hand corner!  Please continue posting!  


Hi, thank you! I'm afraid that it would be a little difficult to talk to the helpline as it's not my ED, and I have no clue what exactly is going on in her head. Do you have any further tips on how to ask her questions about it without offending her or being intrusive?

Hey Koifish

I'm sorry to hear about your friend, and yes, it can be hard to know exactly what to say that's going to help matters for her. And you are right, now that she officially has a diagnosis, that really can be the sort of thing that changes how she looks at her situation. From what you've said, it seems like being diagnosed has kind of backfired, in that now she's giving herself permission to really fulfill the criterion of her diagnosis, and may be eating even less than she did before. :-(

You didn't mention if she was getting any therapy though. A lot of people get diagnosed, but have problems getting help, so they mindfully lose more and more weight as a means to convince themselves that they actually are worthy of help. They can lose more as a way to try and show doctors and parents that they need help too. Or they can simply be going for it in a general sense, and not be interested in getting help at all. But yeah, for people who aren't recovered, watching the scale continue to go down can serve a lot of different mental and emotional purposes.

This is just me of course, but as far as how to help goes, I'm not sure that asking her a lot of questions is the way to go. What I generally do is try and put myself in their shoes, and empathize with some of the things I know they must be feeling. "It must be hard to know how things are going to turn out with all this." - Things like that, which you know they must be thinking about. You can't really fix your friend, but if you can give her an idea that you understand at least some of what she must be going through, and that you respect the various emotional struggles she's having, that's the thing that's going to feel supportive to her. Rather than you directly trying to convince her to do one thing or the other, if you follow what I mean ?

EDs can be very lonely things, so if you can help her to talk about her concerns, without being judgmental, then they aren't quite so alone anymore, and that really is a way we can help I think, as our friends try and work this all out for themselves.

Keep in touch ?


I fear that you are correct in the sense of her wanting to "fulfill the criterion" for the diagnosis, which is truly scary. And I've tried my best to be supportive of her since I first recognized her ED, but what scares me the most, is that I used to try different diets with her. I used to do a lot of digging on the internet for good diets, and I always shared them with her and so we tried them together. That sounds normal, but what scares me about it is that she justifies every restriction, every pound lost, and every meal skipped by saying "oh it's a new diet" or "I'm fasting".. She also has depression, which has seemed to get less severe after she started going out with her current boyfriend, but it doesn't seem like she's gonna tell him about the ED which could mean her depression coming bak in full force if she starts feeling lonely in her struggle.
Every time I try to reach out to her and talk about it, she's all of the sudden busy, or needs to go talk to people nearest to us. She has decided that (even though she's been diagnosed) she's fine, and that she still needs to be much thinner. I've never really had an ED myself, but I have depression and even though that's one way to sympathize with her, I can't really empathize with her. And I imagine it's making her feel lonely too. She's been denying treatment, and won't talk to us about it, but knowing her, when this is done and through with, she's gonna say that she wished she reached out sooner.
I don't know how to empathize with her, or talk to her about it calmly without offending her or sounding intrusive. And I feel so..helpless. I really don't know how I can reach out to her anymore..
Keep writing if you should see this ?


Hi. I am so sorry that your friend has decided to push you away a bit as she delves deeper into the eating disorder, refusing help. I want to thank you for trying to be there for her. It shows you are a kind and caring person.

How have things been going since your last post? It is really sad to watch someone we love not get the help they need. I hope she has tried to get some help since the writing of your last post. It is difficult to see someone we love refuse help.

How have you been? Are you getting support and help? I hope you don't mind my asking. We care about everyone, not just those with the eating disorder, but those affected by them. I hope that you are taking care of yourself. Please if you want let us know how your friend is and how you are.


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