National Eating Disorders Association

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Throwing away our food

Our daughter, who checked herself out of treatment before she should have, is home and not doing well at all. She has lost a lot of weight (all that had been restored after a year of treatment in residential and short stays at PHP), and has taken to throwing away all food that we bring into the house that she finds at all tempting. Before throwing it away she ruins it by soaking it or pouring something over it that will ensure that it is not consumable. We tried putting some of the more problematic items in a box away from the other food, but she unpacked it and put it all back. If we don't have food for her, she won't eat at all, but if we do, she throws much of it away. We are completely at a loss for what to do. She refuses to talk to us about it, and her infrequent therapy sessions don't seem to be nearly enough for her needs. Has anybody else experienced this? How do we get out of this catch 22 situation?


Hell Esperanza, I am so sorry to hear of your situation. How old is your daughter? Are you in touch with her therapist if she is under eighteen? It must be so frustrating and scary to see this happening before your eyes and not knowing what to do. There are support groups for friends and family. NEDA has that information. The help line is 800-931-2237. They are available for chatting on line or to talking on the phone. There is also a wealth of information on their web page. Unfortunately I am not so good at getting the proper links.

If she is over eighteen in my unprofessional opinion I think she should replace the money for the food she is throwing away. She may be ill, but she is making the choice to throw the food away. She needs to be held responsible and accountable. That is just my unprofessional opinion. I am sorry she has taken a turn for the worse. I am going to believe with you that she will decide that she wants recovery. That she will get to the root of why she is doing this and needing to have this eating disorder, because it does serve a purpose. It isn't a choice to have an eating disorder. It becomes so entrenched it takes a good therapist and support and a lot of work to heal. I wish you the best. You may also want to seek counseling for yourself. To take care of yourself. You are important too in all of this and it may really help you to seek help, to have someone to talk to. iwanttolive

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your thoughts. She is an adult, and I like the part about holding her accountable, but other mental health diagnoses and very poor impulse control make us a little unsure how much she can control and how much she is driven by her impulses. Plus, she hasn't been able to find a job! I'm sure the situation would be better if she would only take her meds, but she refuses. It's hard to help someone who doesn't want to be helped, but we have to keep trying because she's our daughter and we love her. I think you're right, though - accountability is very important. I wish that she were still a minor so we could discuss things with her therapist again. She's totally closed off, and it's scary. Thanks again for your input. It's nice to be heard.