National Eating Disorders Association

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College Student, ARFID, Illness

My daughter is 22 with a long history of ARFID, depression, and anxiety. It was only when she was in her late teens that it was suggested she’s on the autism spectrum (very mild) as well.

She’s young for her age, extremely smart, and has a good group of college friends. These are really the first real friends she’s ever had.

My partner and I are concerned about my daughter. Her mental health is declining again, and her Instagram photos (and self reporting) show marked weight loss.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I feel helpless. I’m concerned that my daughter will kill herself from the restriction in food intake. She does have a therapist, but I don’t think she has eating disorder support.

My partner feels that our lives over the past 6 or 7 years have revolved around my daughter’s illness. We struggle with needing space from the illness and not knowing how to help our daughter anymore. I even worry that bringing up my concerns will launch us back into the circus that has drained us.

My daughter’s father is oblivious. She also never shares her struggles with him and wants our household to be the place where she gets help.

We are emotionally drained, concerned, and at a loss.

I love my daughter so much, but I worry we have a dynamic where my reaction makes things worse. I no longer talk about food. When my daughter worries about her teeth (frequent cavities) or other issues that I’m sure are linked to lack of nutrition, I’ll respond with, “Good nutrition can really help those things. Nourishing a body will help.”

The thing is, she knows this. Years Of therapy has taught her this. Does she forget?

I’m writing for suggestions about what to do. My daughter is 22 and is an autonomous person, so I’m not sure what is or isn’t helpful at this point. I can’t force her to do anything; she needs to want it for herself.

Thank you.

NEDA Resources

Hi Parent2CollegeStudent,

We are sorry to hear your daughter is struggling. We urge you to take look at the Parent Toolkit on our website. Also, if you or your daughter would like additional support please reach out to our helpline at 800.931.2237 M-Th 11am-9pm ET and F 11am-5pm ET. You can also chat with us online M-Th 9am-9pm ET and F 9am-5pm ET.

We also wanted to let you know that we edited your post slightly to conform to our community guidelines as we do not allow the mentioning of specific behaviors. Thank you for understanding!

Thank you.

Thank you.

Parent to College Student.

You mentioned that she has a therapist, but is she talking with other people who have EDs too ?
Honestly, sometimes people with these disorders think their situation is just the natural thing for them, and that there's not much use in fighting it. I'm not sure what sort of support groups for EDs are available to her at school, but feeling alone with their situation is something that's really common among people with her issues. Yes, she's getting therapy, but even then it's common for people to feel that their therapist doesn't really "get it" about what they are going though.
Which is an area where peer support can make quite a difference.
Otherwise, as you said, she'll need to be the one who decides to recover. Which…as time passes, EDs, and all that come with them, can really start to become a burden for the person. Which can be kind of a scary crossroads - They can fall into deeper depression, or they can decide to work on getting better.
But yes, having people she feels safe talking with can make a difference, and often that means other people who are struggling with the same things.

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how to overcome ARFID disease?

ARFID (Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder) is a relatively new eating disorder that is characterized by a fear of certain foods, a lack of interest in food, and/or a refusal to eat certain foods.

1. Seek professional help: The first step in overcoming ARFID is to seek professional help. A mental health professional can help you identify the underlying causes of your ARFID and develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

2. Identify triggers: Identifying the triggers that lead to your ARFID can help you better understand your disorder and develop strategies to cope with it. Common triggers include anxiety, fear, and negative experiences with food. seek towards doing things that make you feel relax like shopping bomber jacket or by playing games you love.

3. Develop a meal plan: Working with a dietitian or nutritionist can help you develop a meal plan that is tailored to your individual needs.

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