National Eating Disorders Association

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My friend might have an ED, what do I do?

For the past 4 years, I've struggled with an eating disorder. I am just now coming to the point of feeling completely recovered. I'm eating normally again, I'm at a healthy weight, I'm learning to love my body even more than I already confidence is back. Only a couple of my friends at school know (only 3-4 of my closest ones).
I'm worried about one of my friends. She's confessed to me that she has "sugar issues" (which I assume means prediabetic/diabetic) but she seems to not take care of her health. Every day, she goes to the cafeteria in the morning and buys herself the same food. She always lies and says she "forgot her lunch number". So she has my other friend, or me, punch in our lunch number (my guess is so that it's not on her record => her parents can't see what she's buying). She makes up all these excuses too, about why she didn't have breakfast...almost as if to justify the fact that she's going to the cafeteria in the morning and buying food. She'll bring a small packed lunch to school and then she'll go and buy more food from the cafeteria on top of that. Also, every time I run in to her outside of school, it's always at restaurants...she seems to frequent certain places a lot.
I care about this friend very much and feel her silent pain. Because I was her just a couple of months ago. I want to tell her she doesn't have to live this way. BUT I also don't want to make false assumptions. I don't want to sound judgy. I don't want to risk our friendship. When a couple of my friends went to guidance about me and told them they thought I had an eating disorder, I was SOO mad at them. I denied everything, and two things happened: 1) I quit talking to those friends for the rest of the of course I realize what an amazing act of friendship that was, and 2) because I denied everything, they couldn't really do anything else. It was ultimately up to me to be honest about it and get the help I needed.
So, should I do something? This has been going on for a couple of months now. Should I talk to her by herself and just tell her what I'm noticing? Or should I go to her guidance counselor by myself and tell the guidance counselor? Or should I just do nothing? The only thing is, I feel like if I don't say anything, nothing is going to happen. I hate to see her stuck in this trap. Suggestions??

Thanks for reaching out.

Thanks for reaching out. Congratulations on your own recovery and hard work! It’s great to hear that you care about your friend. It’s hard to assess if/when to talk to someone you care about. Do you see a therapist or counselor? Perhaps you could run the situation by them. They would be able to objectively give you some advice. Here are some other tips about how to talk to someone possibly struggling with an eating disorder:

As you said, though you were

As you said, though you were initially upset with your friends, you ended up being very grateful for what they did. Though we can't really make assumptions about what other people are going through, you seem to be noticing things that aren't normal/typical for your friend, and I definitely think it's worth discussing with someone. I would definitely check out the links that als2908 sent about how to talk to a friend who is struggling. I would also consider talking to your guidance counselor or therapist alone first, and see what they think about approaching the situation. I would definitely seek out professional advice, because I don't think this is something that should be ignored completely.

I wish you the best of luck! Please keep us updated.

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