National Eating Disorders Association

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Dakotagirl1969
My son

Hello there, I'm here because I believe my son to have an eating disorder coupled with body dysmorphia.

The family is aware that he suffers from extreme anxiety based on his appearance as he is always comparing himself to other men and we were worried that it would get to this point.

He turns 25 this Sunday. He is not anorexic by any means, his relationship with food has just changed and I worry that his goal to look "be more attractive" is making him not think straight.

About three years ago he lost a truly significant amount of weight, causing us to worry about his health. However, he soon regained a fraction of that initial weight loss following a car accident. But within the past couple of months, those regained pounds have again disappeared, and now he's back in the mindset that had me worried before. He eats but I don't think he eats enough and he never misses a workout. Friends back home (I live a few states away) tell me they see him in the gym every day, no rest days what so ever. I'll ask him to send me pictures of himself and he seems thinner in every photo.

We know that he's self conscious, be it about his looks, his sexuality (he's openly gay), or his intelligence (he conciders himself dumb because of his Aspergers diagnosis) but what can we do to help? He's a thousand miles away and I just want to help him through this and get him to love himself the way he is

_admin_moderator
post about your son

Dakotagirl1969, your initial post has been edited somewhat to comply with the NEDA Forum Guidelines (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/community-guidelines). You are, of course, welcome to continue posting and we hope that you will do so!

3kids2dogs1cat
helping your son

Hi Dakotagirl1969. I can understand your distress regarding your son's mindset and behaviors. It must be especially stressful for you given that you are not seeing him in person regularly. I think it's especially painful for parents to witness their children being so anxious self-critical. I urge you to take a look at the Parent Toolkit on the NEDA website. It's full of useful and carefully considered information compiled by NEDA for people who are worried about their children (or siblings or other loved ones) having eating disorders. I think it could be useful to you in developing a strategy to help your son. It sounds like a good first step would be for him (maybe with your help?) to find a therapist experienced in eating disorders in order to start identifying what's really going on. The NEDA Helpline might be helpful to you in that regard, or the Find Treatment page on the website. In any case, please keep posting and letting us know how things are going.

kelsey207
Hi Dakotagirl1969,

Thank you for posting here! I'm sorry to hear about how your son is struggling. It must be especially hard that he's so far away from you right now. I think 3kids2dogs1cat had some great resources to recommend. I thought I would post links to those pages here so you can find them more easily:
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-toolkit
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/find-treatment
http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/information-referral-helpline

In terms of how to approach talking with your son about your concerns, here's a good page with some tips: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/what-should-i-say

One avenue to consider might be to send your son the NEDA screening link: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/online-eating-disorder-screening . Maybe you could tell him that you're concerned and have him take the screener. That might help him see what symptoms/behaviors are concerning and might warrant professional help.

I hope these resources are a helpful starting point for you! It sounds like you're a loving, caring parent, and I think it's great that you're reaching out to find out more about what you can do. I encourage you to keep posting here and to read through past forum posts (especially in the Parents of Sufferers section of the forum) for advice and support. Please keep us updated! Good luck to you and to your family. We all wish you the best.