My Daughter Is 20 And In College, She Has Been Throwing Up On A Regular Basis And Now Over Exercising, Tried Confronting Her A Few Weeks Ago And Offered To Help Her Seek Help, But She Is In Denial. I Know These Behaviors Are Occurring Per Roommate Any Su

Hi: This Is A Very Difficult
Amy Colwell – 01/25/2012 – 23:12

Hi:

This is a very difficult position to be in as a parent. It has to be extremely worrying for you to receive information via the roommate, on what is happening regarding your daughter’s struggle with an eating disorder while she is away at college.

Although your daughter turned down your offer of assistance a few weeks ago – don’t give up! She still needs your love and support. An eating disorders is a long-term illness, and sometimes it takes a while for the person to accept that they really do need help.

I would encourage you to avoid getting into a confrontation over the eating disorder itself. As you say, she is in denial right now, so engaging in a power struggle might not be especially productive for either of you.

It is important though, that your daughter knows that you are there for her, and that you do love and care for her. It is perfectly okay to let her know that you are extremely concerned for her wellbeing – this may work better than focusing on just the eating disorder behavior. Sometimes, it helps to involve a third party – such as a doctor or counselor if she is receptive. A supportive friend (possibly the roommate) can also make a huge difference in encouraging the person with an eating disorder to seek help.

Although it is frustrating to watch someone you love suffer from an eating disorder, it is really important that you continue to advocate for your daughter. You also need to take the time to look after your own needs as supporting someone with an eating disorder is especially challenging, and can be mentally and emotionally exhausting.

Joining a support group can provide you with a safe, supportive, and caring group of people who are going through similar situations. There is also some excellent information on the NEDA website regarding starting a discussion with someone who has an eating disorder.

I hope this helps a little. Please take care.

Amy

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