National Eating Disorders Association

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preventing anorexia relapse

Hi my step daughter has just finished out patient treatment. She is now home schooled and now on her journey of recovery. With that being said I've noticed that she is limiting her calorie intake of meals, only has one glass of water with meals which is sometimes mixed with Miralax like at the treatment center. I believe she is not telling the truth about consumption of breakfast meals. She says she eats before anyone else has woken up and limits her calories with meals we do see her eat. She usually takes a lot of time to consume her meals, but picking at her food usually just eats with her hands, most of the time takes between an hour to 2 hours to consume her meal.
I'm her step mom for over 6 years, and my husband and I have come to the verge of divorce a lot since this summer when she started limiting food, and stopped eating altogether before she was finally taken to ER by ambulance for severe dehydration and then started inpatient treatment 3 months ago.
Ever since she started this behavior I seen the warning signs and would let my husband know what I see, it would always be that I was being negative. Then when she lost a lot of weight my husband started to finally see there was a problem and still waited a couple more weeks to get the right counseling, which helped a little till she just stopped eating altogether.
Now with her out patient treatment being completed I've tried to just be support from a distance. My husband has handled all of her treatment decisions and I have just been there for support. With that I can't say me and my husband don't communicate very well. I try not to ask any questions because everything I say becomes an argument or he takes as me being negative. I love my husband and step daughter with all my heart and only want to help with out interfering or seeming like I'm being negative with her recovery; but do fear that there are signs of relapse. I would appreciate any feedback or help to be positive for my husband and daughter with the road to recovery and to prevent relapse.. thank you in advance. .

Hi concernedmom1231,

Hi concernedmom1231,

First off, thank you for sharing your story and reaching out for help. I understand how frustrating and frightening it can be to watch a loved one on the road to recovery, but know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel! I would like to share a few of NEDA's links with you that may be helpful to you:

I believe this information may help you learn a little bit more about EDs and give you some ideas on how to be supportive to your daughter. You can also try contacting the NEDA Navigators ( as they have excellent Navigators who can provide words of encouragement from firsthand experience.

The road to recovery is not always easy or without its bumps in the road, but I believe it's important for you to stay positive and shine light on the triumphs as often as you can so the setbacks don't become all-consuming and front and center. I hope this information is useful to you and wish you and your daughter the best. Please keep posting to the forums and let us know how things are progressing, and remember that you can always post here for a shoulder and call the NEDA Navigators.