National Eating Disorders Association

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when to say when

our daughter came home last year from college with an eating disorder and we did therapy for 6 months. this fall she returned to college (a new one!) and we all felt she was ready to go. her therapist, her doctor, and our daughter were ready to move forward and work on maintaining her recovery while at school.
she has really been struggling lately and i am not sure when to say when. she is not in the red zone yet and has not returned to behaviors but she can't get out of her own head and is so sick of thinking about food and exercise and other ED thoughts. she is working with a therapist at school and seeing a medical doctor every other week for monitoring. both are in agreement that she needs a higher level of care right now but neither feels she needs to come home from school to do that. they want her try an IOP while at school, in the evenings, for a while to get through this rough spot.
i feel like if she needs that level of care she should be coming home and doing it here. am i wrong? i just feel like it is so much to deal with while at school and classes, etc.
she wants to stay but very maturely said she feels like she is putting a band aid over the bigger issue right now and is so tired of fighting the ED thoughts.
any wisdom out there? anyone deal with this while at college? i just don't want to bring her home if it is not necessary but i just don't know!

thank you !

Tuff Decision

That is a hard decision! Could it be the stress of college has triggered a return to these obsessive thoughts, or did they never die down before she went back to college? It is stressful there for her I am sure. I think if she is not losing more weight it is worth trying, but going steadily down would be a real red flag for me. Our older son got into starvation mode, and that is so hard to reverse. Keep a close eye on her. Is IOP out patient? Can school class be reduced to lower stress? Take care.

thank you for responding! i

thank you for responding! i am anxious to see her next weekend and determine how she is doing! she wants to stay so badly! she is at therapy right now and we are looking into options up more care while still at school. i am suggestion a lighter course load for next semester so that she is not so overwhelmed and can focus on recovery. thank you for the suggestion!


Hi Juli427!

Just wanted to check in with you and see how your visit with your daughter went and how she is doing?

Praying for ya'll :) Keep us updated!



Hi. I am so glad that you get to go see her. It is great that she is talking to you about her struggles.
My daughter with ED is only 16 and still living at home. I do have kids in college though, and just this week we have discovered that one of them is really struggling with depression. We have talked to the school and they have suggested that she withdraw from some of her classes now (she has until Oct 31st) to do that. This daughter has a scholarship, and they say that if she gets a medical waver that she will not be put on probation (for her scholarship she has to being taking a certain amount of credit hours) if she decides to withdraw from some of her classes now. they had a lot of different options for her, I was very impressed with what they were willing to do to help her through this and to let her decide. If she withdraws from the class, she will just have to retake it at a different time. So if it is too much now, she might be able to decrease her class load now and not have to wait.

ED and OCD in son?

Hello. Just found this site today and am so full of relief that there are other parents I can connect with for support (to receive but also to give). My young-adult son has had mild OCD since early teens. He developed a restrictive eating disorder in his late teens. At that time, he worked with a clinic that specializes in adolescent EDs but now has his own therapist. This therapist is not an expert in ED, but they really click well and I believe he's helping my son. My son often talks about his eating as though his restriction of food is the compulsion part of his OCD. Is this a dangerous view? Does this sound like denial? He is a young man who tends to be honest with himself and tries really hard to fight through this, but he is always right on the edge of a catastrophically low weight and I worry he'll topple over. Thanks.

Thats a good question

Thats a good question hydrabug.
I'm certainly no health expert, but I think that that is something you should discus with his therapist (assuming you can).
If his OCD is organic and something that he'll always have to deal with/learn to live with and manage than I can certainly see your concern in him getting ED thoughts wrapped up in it. Because EDs are something that people don't have to live with, they're disorders that can be recovered from.
I think that you might be able to work it from your angle too. Talk to him about your concerns. Let him know that recovery from eating disorders is possible. I'd bet that there's a good chance that recovery from his ED would help relieve some of the stress/anxiety that already comes with his OCD.
And again, I'm not health professional, so take my opinions with a grain of salt.
Hope that helped a bit.

- Adage


Our son has always been a little,OCD as well, and that seems to be part of the puzzle of ED in many cases. I think it is god that he recognizes the problem.

Responding to When to say When

We are so frustrated over the same dilemna. Our daughter (19) is completing a third round of residential. two before college and one started before Christmas.

We are also frustrated that the therapist doesn't contact us more often. It's so frustrating I hardly know how to write about it. We were thinking January 12, College classes start Jan 23, but have not heard anything definite and are both ready to shout and yell about not being given more clear expectations from the therapist/team.
I don't know when to say when. I only know no one seems to know.
What should we expect from the place of treatment from the staff.