National Eating Disorders Association

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New Here " Eating Disorder"

I am a very concerned mom of my 11 yr old daughter, however I have an 8 yr old too. They are so opposite in many ways. I have had my 11 yr old seeing a nutritionist since this past October 2015. I had been seeing signs of eating issues, looking very thin, pale looking and also she started saying she felt strange like dizzy, numb feeling and sick to her stomach. She has always been picky eater and it has been hard to get her to try new things. Our nutritionist asked her to start a food log and to start trying one new thing every week or every two weeks. But she really has not been doing what she asked. She is not currently feeling those symptoms any more but I have noticed that she is throwing food away in the bathroom or garbage. Also, she has started getting up in between meals and going into the bathroom. I afraid she has learned or been taught in school to throw up. I have expressed my deep concern for her not ending up in the hospital if she does not start eating more. I just need to know what I should do. Take her to someone else, have her pediatrician do blood work? Am I crazy to be so concerned about her, I just do not feel she is eating enough. Help... I am overwhelmed!!!

Hi teenambors

Hi teenambors,

Welcome to the forums! I am sincerely sorry to hear about your daughter, I can only imagine how difficult and concerning it must be. You are not wrong at all for being concerned, if anything I think it is very good for you to be concerned and trying to take action. Seeing the symptoms and catching these issues early can be very helpful for your daughter in the future. Have you thought about maybe going into therapy? Seeing her pediatrician would be a good idea too. I would recommend contacting the NEDA Helpline M-Th 9AM-9PM F 9AM-5PM EST at 1-800-931-2237 and they can guide you to resources in your area. These links may also be helpful

I wish you and your daughter the best, and I hope you are able to find the help you need. Keep us updated on how things go, I'll be keeping you and your daughter in my thoughts.



Thank you for posting on the forums and sharing some of your daughter's story with us!

Reading about your daughter's behaviors felt like déjà vu for me. Many of the things your daughter is doing sound just like my younger sister's behaviors when she was first diagnosed with an ED when she was around your daughter's age. I think you're right to be concerned; many of the symptoms you're describing are potentially very serious.

I wholeheartedly agree with Mandy1012's suggestion to call the NEDA Helpline (you can also click-to-chat: They have access to all kinds of treatment resources and can help you find professionals and treatment centers in your area. Talking to your daughter's pediatrician is another great idea, as (s)he might know of resources local to you, as well. You could even bring up your concerns with your daughter's nutritionist, as the nutritionist might have referrals to professionals who specialize in EDs. It would be good to have your daughter assessed to see if she has an ED, and to have a general physical exam (including diagnostics like bloodwork) to see if her behaviors are having an effect on her health. EDs can be especially risky to a person's health at a young age, as your daughter is still growing.

NEDA has lots of great information on their site. In addition to the links Mady recommended, I would add this one: .

I think it's understandable to feel so overwhelmed in a situation like this. But you have lots of resources available to you, and you have us here of the forums anytime you need support or a listening ear! Recovery is possible, and your daughter is at an advantage because she has a supportive, caring mother like you. Good luck, and please let us know how you and your family are doing as you move forward!

My daughter is also 11

My daughter just turned 11 about 2mths ago. And the end of her grade 4 school yr last summer they did a nutrition class that we think is partially related to the development of her eating disorder. She would no longer eat anything with certain ingredients... We started with a dietitian thinking that because she was a competitive dancer that they could teach her how to eat like an athlete. After our first visit she pointed out that she thought we had a much bigger problem. I took her to the pediatrician who didn't seem as concerned as I was and I had to push for a referral to our local children's hospital. They told me it would be up to a 10mth waiting list and we had an appt within 2 wks. My daughter is very tall for her age and has always been very thin but because of her age and the fact that she was consuming so few calories a day she was considered high risk . After spending the day going through several tests it was determined that my daughter was medically stable but it was evident that the eating disorder had taken control of her mind and that's all she was thinking about it 24/7 and for that reason they decided to admit her. It wasn't until then that my husband and I realized how bad things were.. Once they took all that control away from her it was like we didn't even know our little girl anymore.
She had a significant amount of weight to gain - We started blaming ourselves wondering how we didn't notice things were that bad. I think when you spend every day with them you don't notice the changes as much and I also found myself saying "she's 10yrs old am I over reacting or imaging things". As her parent you probably know best so I would say go with your instinct.
Our daughter spent just over 4wks in the hospital and was discharged after being close to goal weight. She has overcome her fear of eating certain foods, she still tends to look at the labels but will at least still eat it afterwards. With that being said it continues to be a struggle in a lot of different ways; we find big changes in her personality that are very difficult to manage. One of the biggest things I've found is that there are both positives and negatives with her being so young. The negative; she's too young for a lot of the programs that are available and when she was admitted we tried to shelter her from some of the older patients because we don't think she's ever binged or purged and didn't want to expose her to more ideas. She was caught working out in the bathroom on 2 occasions though... The positives (if you can really call them that) is because of her young age it was easier to "reprogram" her mind and teach her new approaches to her eating disorder. It was easy to separate her from ED (her eating disorder); on bad days I can tell her I don't want to talk to Ed and she will giggle or tell me Ed is being mean today. During her first 2 wks of admission we had several meeting with her medical team about putting a tube down her nose for feedings and I was very reluctant; I kept saying let's give it another day and thankfully we were able to avoid that dramatic experience. She continues to have weekly appts but her weight hasn't continued to go up as quickly as they would like; we continue to move forward on a day to day basis.

Hi Ccmom,

I'm so sorry to hear about the struggles your daughter is going through. I can't even imagine how difficult it must be for you and your husband, but I'm glad to hear that she is getting help. Though it seems that she's doing better, I can definitely understand that she isn't fully recovered yet, so it's good that she still has weekly appointments. It's so clear that you and your husband are incredible parents, but at the same time, I'm sure this has taken a toll on you. Please remember that it's important to take care of yourself too. I would definitely recommend seeking professional help for both you and your husband as well, because EDs affect everybody, not just the sufferer. You can call the NEDA Helpline (1-800-931-2237) for help finding resources in your area.

Please remember to take care of yourself too. Stay strong, and I wish only the best for your family.

New daught

My adult daughter (now 20) has an ED. She has been through treatment and seems to be doing better, but since she is an adult (technically) we have very limited input. I am concerned because I don't really know if she is being honest with us, because basically for the last 2 years about everything that has come out of her mouth has been a lie. I want to trust her, but I'm not sure how - other than to just do it and hope things don't get bad again. Lately, I have noticed that as soon as she eats, she goes to the bathroom. Because she has purged a lot in the past, I am worried she is starting up again. I have followed her to the bathroom, but that never ends well. She says she isn't purging and she doesn't appear flushed, etc. but I just don't trust it. Any thoughts/advice? Am I just overreacting?? We have tried family therapy and honestly, we seem to do better when we are talking 1:1. When she gets in front of her therapist she just brings up things to hurt me (petty things like I didn't tell her about an event first, etc. Not hard hitting, real issues). I think she uses family therapy to distract from her issues and that is why she targets me. I am beyond exhausted from all this.

adult daughters

I am also new to this site and have an 18 year old "adult" daughter just diagnosed with ED. She was in a PHP for the last 3 weeks and just admitted to not following her treatment "contract" and continues to restrict her food intake as well as purge and exercise. I have had to take a leave from work to get her to the program as she doesn't have a car here (her sister has their car at the college they both attended until this one had to withdraw). I am really struggling with what to do next with her. We had the same situation with family therapy as you and I also feel we do better one to one but if she doesn't want to recover I don't even know what to say. My husband is just angry at how this is affecting our whole life and her siblings think she is doing it for attention. I am hoping just venting will give me some needed relief.

Hi Barb

Welcome to the forums! I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter and the stress that you have been having. If you would like someone to talk to, our helpline is available M-Th 9-9 EST and F 9-5 EST. Even though it is your daughter who has the ED, the helpline is available for family as well, and being able to talk to someone might be helpful for you. You can also check out the Parent Toolkit, which is a great resource for someone trying to support a family member with ED:

People with ED don't do choose to have one - there are many factors that are involved that affect why a person develops an ED. Your daughter might benefit from the hotline and our NEDA site as well - maybe you can show it to her and browse through the site with her? Having support is so incredibly beneficial in recovery.

I hope you find some relief and please keep us updated!

- ashleyk

Hi Shannon_B,

Your story gave me shivers because your daughter sounds exactly like me in high school. My parents didn't trust me at all after they found out I had struggled with bulimia and forced me into therapy. After my initial, short-lived recovery, my mom would watch me like a hawk during and between meals to see if I was binging and would often listen at the bathroom door to see if I was purging. I proceeded to become even more secretive in my behaviors and, consequently, even more ashamed of them. I never told my parents I had relapsed. In fact, to this day, they still don't know that my struggle went on for another five years before long-term recovery (I haven't purged in almost 3 years). Granted, everyone's relationship with their parents is different and I'm certainly not prescribing any action for you to take with your daughter, but I just wanted to provide some insight into the perspective of a young adult suffering from ED while living in close proximity to her parents. My life was a paradox: on one hand, I felt the shame and helplessness associated with my eating disorder and at the same time, I felt the need to retain control over my own behaviors and treatment and recovery (even though, in the grand scheme of my eating disorder, this "control" was really just an illusion). If your daughter is anything like me, she would most benefit most from emotional support, the reassurance of love and acceptance (regardless of whether or not she's still engaging in behaviors), and suggestions for where she could seek out treatment for herself if she ever relapses in the future. It might also be helpful for you to go to therapy yourself as eating disorders clearly take a toll on sufferers and their loved ones alike. You may also be able to get a professional opinion on how to approach your concerns with your daughter.

I hope I was able to provide some form of help! You're a such great mom for showing so much care and concern for your daughter.