National Eating Disorders Association

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Worried mom

My daughter has been doing outpatient treatment with a team for 2 1/2 months. She is of age and refused inpatient. She is monitored weekly. She has made some progress but not enough and she still is not allowed to engage in any activity. Her therapist and nutritionist are seeing progress but the MD is not satisfied. This is devastating to her, however, progress is slower choosing this route of treatment. This was her wish but she seems resistant to the treatment at all. She wants to just do things on her own and says she wants to be done with the treatment team. I am not even sure what I am asking. I feel like I can't force her to do something she isn't truly ready for but am also just so worried.

Just wanted to reach out

Hello. I am new (as of this week, in fact) to this forum, and just wanted to reach out to say you are being heard. I am so sorry about your daughter, and though my circumstance might be different, we are clearly in the same larger boat (as we have come to this site). My daughter is back from her first semester at school, and while I knew she was in a bad place, I was smacked with the reality of how rough it actually is when she returned home. She is headstrong and self-destructive, and I am terribly worried. This is all just to say that I nodded my head in recognition when you wrote that you are not sure what you're asking, and that you feel you cannot force her into something for which she isn't ready. I am so sorry. You are not alone.

Thank you so much. I am

Thank you so much. I am sorry to hear about your situation as well and wish her all the best. Yes it is so hard... She is graduating this year from HS and wants to go away to college. Just can't even think that far ahead right now. Hang in there and thanks for helping me feel like I am not alone.

Hi worried moms,

I worried my parents as much as your daughters have done with you when I was 19. I almost passed from anorexia and at some point, I became bulimic. Anyway, what I want to tell you here is that when people are so immerse in their disorder, they do not listen to any reasons. However, there is a moment in life when you realize you want to change and you change. You get open to treatment and show real improvements.

What can you do for now if it is still not their time to change?

Let them know that you are worried about their health and wellbeing and if they ever need a listening ear, they can count on you.
Avoid any comments related to diets, people overweight, body image, etc.
Let her you know love her for what she is and not for the way she looks like.
Be an example of a healthy relationship with food and exercise.
Don't play a "police-role" at meal times. That will only make things worse.

I am in recovery from an ED for I do not know what number of times and I have become pretty aware of the way "normal people" eat. I also finally understand all the damage I have done to my body and when my eating disorder is the one talking instead of my healthy mind.

It took 19 years for this moment of change to come to me. BUT it happened!

So, continue to support your daughters and find a good therapist who help them realize they do have a problem. Sometimes, as anorexics, we do not even realize we have a problem or that we are slowly killing ourselves...


Thank you, Annet.

Thank you so much for your thoughts and perspective. What you say rings true. My daughter was the one who first came to me to tell me she started purging "sometimes" while she was in school. When she returned home, I recognized that it was or had grown much worse than that. The few times I have brought up the subject, I have done so with love and understanding; but any mention of fear about what it is doing to her body and mind are met with anger. It seems she focuses much of her outward anger on me. So, I back off but still let her know I am here. It is a delicate dance. For two days, she managed not to purge (which I figured but which she announced to me), but is back in the brutal cycle again. I can hear her and I can see it in her face and vacant stare. She has a good therapist. I just wish I could do so much more. I wish I could make her realize how precious she is.

I am glad for you, that you have gotten to this point and are here to tell us about it. You are precious, too.

Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you so much for sharing your story and words of encouragement Annet. This is exactly where we are at right now and it is worrisome. She has made some changes to improve her health status but she is not at all happy about the physical changes and doesn't believe there is a way to change her mindset. She doesn't want the help. I am trying to be patient but it is so worrisome. Her outpatient team thinks she would do better in a more supportive environment but she still refuses. So wonderful to hear you were able to get to the place you are.
Thank you!

I'm With You All

You all could be writing my daughter's story. She's been in and out of treatment but never committed to giving up her ED. And now I hear her purging, her room is littered with empty junk food containers and she will not be honest with me or herself. In fact, dishonesty is such a key trademark of this disease.

At any rate, she's 20, so I can't do more than love and encourage her to seek support and to want recovery. I try my best.

And in the meanwhile, I work very hard at keeping perspective that she has a number of good things n her life that weren't there before and so hopefully if she keeps building a life she likes (perhaps loves) that she will want to keep it and do what she needs to get into a sustained recovery.


In reading, it is clear we

In reading, it is clear we are all facing such similar struggles.:( My daughter has decided she wants to be done with treatment. She has made mild improvements in her medical stability but is not fully where she should be just yet. She wants to stop seeing the doctor that is monitoring her which means the therapist and nutritionist will no longer work with her. The doctor visits bring her such anxiety for the few days leading up to the appt. I am crushed but also it is still clear she does not want this. I don't know how to make her want it.....

Worried mom(s).....

Great advice from Annet above. As a dad of a recovering daughter, I just wanted to add a few words of encouragement from a parent's perspective. First, you are not alone (you can't hear that enough). Second, it is not your wife and I spent alot of time beating ourselves up over what we were doing wrong (or not doing). We also spent alot of time trying to "make her want it"......and Annet is right, has to happen when they are ready. In our case, missing a year of college (because we stopped helping with tuition!) is what made her want to change. It was a terrible year......lot's of heart-break, but she is better now because of it. Hope this helps.

PS. This can consume your life as a parent, so make sure to take care of yourself! Going for walks and connecting with people on this forum really help us as parents......

Thank you brutus94. The

Thank you brutus94. The future is the discussion I have been having lately. College is around the corner and I told her we absolutely can not send her away until we can see that she is ready and can handle things. She has to want this...It is heartbreaking to watch. I feel like she definitely needs a higher level of care but if she doesn't want that and completely refuses, will it help?

And yes we need to take care of ourselves. Sadly I have not been doing a great job of that!