National Eating Disorders Association

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How to know if my child is suffering from an eating disorder

Hello, I just joined this group to try to gather information. I have a 23 yr old daughter who has lost weight in the past year. She has always been small, however she appears to me and my husband to be much too thin. She is very controlling aboit her food. (How much, and the health benifits ). She also goes to the gym often to work out. She appears to us to be extremwly thin. Tonight I was looking at her and it really hit me how small she had become. How do I know, and what do I do???? She is quite stubborn, and her boyfriend and his family hassle her all the time about not eating enough and being too thin. I thought I read that, that is the wrong way to handle it? Any help would be very appreciated.

RE: How to know if my child is suffering from an eating disorder

Hi Theatermom,
Thanks for joining the forums! Just wanted to let you know we've made a slight edit to your post so it is consistent with our guidelines. ( We hope you find some support here from others who can relate to what you are going through! Please keep posting!


Suggest you take her to an eating disorder specialist for evaluation. You'll have to talk to her and get her to agree first of course. It's a source of shame for many, and that coupled with the extreme fear of gaining makes it challenging to get the sufferer on board with seeking treatment.

Hi theatermom,

Welcome to the forums! It can be hard to know what to do in a situation like this. You aren't alone! Like GlennW said, it may be best to take her to a professional to be assessed. If you need help finding resources near you, you can call or chat online with the NEDA Helpline: . You can also talk to your daughter's primary care doctor and see if they have any referrals.

You could also try having your daughter take the NEDA ED screening questionnaire. It's possible that she doesn't realize how problematic her eating behaviors have become or how risky the situation is:

As GlennW mentioned, if she does have an ED she may resist seeing a professional. Here are some helpful resources for how to navigate talking with your daughter and approaching treatment, etc.:

Please let us know how things go. Wishing the best for you and your family!