National Eating Disorders Association

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Advice please

Hi all. This is all new to me so please be patient. And am typing this under a lot of stress and anxiety. My daughter tried to take her life on Friday. Long story short she was admitted to hospital were I found out she has a eating disorder I had no idea. At all. She had it for years she says. Am desperate too help now that I know. But she says she can't eat at all now because I won't give her her laxatives and it's how she been coping. She been seeking help herself without me knowing. What sent her over the edge is because her friend said she can't cope helping her any more. But now me and her family know and she going to get help from the hospital... The big question I need the answer too should I give her the laxatives back because she won't eat at all now. Am sorry this is all Mish mash but am still in shock from Friday thnx in advance. Tony

Hi Macker71165!

Hi Macker71165! We’re sorry that you are feeling these things right now! We’re glad that you reached out to the forums. We’re concerned and wanted to give you resources. Please contact the Suicide Hotline at 800-273- TALK if you need help. Additionally, the NEDA Helpline can help you find treatment options in your area. You can call 800-931-2237 or chat to discuss support options. Helpline phone hours are Monday- Thursday 11am-9pm ET, Friday 11am-5pm ET. Helpline chat hours are Monday- Thursday 9am-9pm ET, Friday 9am-5pm ET.


People can be really good at hiding their EDs, and people can really get hooked on laxatives too. Concerns about being a burden on others is not unusual, and the suicide thing is really common as well. So what you are seeing, although scary, is not all that out of the ordinary..

But there are certain emotional benchmakrs along the way, and having other people find out is one of them. So although the situation is frightening, in that sense it's progress too.

But yes, all of these behaviors can begin to feel like emotional coping methods that they can't live without, hence her concerns about the laxatives. She'll need to stop taking them, but going cold turkey with them may present medical issues, so that's something you may want to look into.

Otherwise she's sure to be in dispair about things, and feeling shame and guilt about the worry she's caused you, and caused her friend as well, so you'll want to be mindful of that, and do what you can to forgive her, as well as showing her that you can tolerate the worry, while remaining level-headed at the same time. Even if you have to fake it, you know ?

As I'm sure you understand, she'll need therapy as well. She'll have a whole lot of things on her mind that she may not feel safe telling you as her parents. Try not to take this personally, but see if you can find her a professional to talk with who understands EDs, and who she can experiment with feeling safe talking to.

Otherwise yes, this sort of stuff can really worm itself into a person's mind, so it's not likely to clear up overnight. Being about to accept that and seem composed about that part will be important as well.

In any case, EDs often get their claws into the very nicest of people. It's almost as though being nice and concientious are some of the risk factors for EDs, so I think you can have faith that she's still in there, even though things feel confusing and unsettled for everyone now.