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I think dd has an eating disorder. I don’t know what to do.

(11 Posts)
PaperScissorsRock Sun 27-Sep-20 17:47:57

Posting here for traffic.

Dd is 18, she has a long history of mental health issues and is currently waiting for an ASD assessment.

She saw a GP a month ago to discuss her anxiety over eating and that, despite being slim and very fit, she sees herself as fat, to the point of clawing at her tummy and arms.

The gp weighed her, found she was within a healthy weight range and said she was fine.

Dd appears to have seen this as a challenge (subconsciously or not, I’m not sure) and her issues around eating and her body image have got worse since then. She’s now starting to look quite thin, although could possibly still be within a healthy weight range, although probably near the bottom of it.

She stresses about eating anything, restricts what she’s eating, exercises obsessively, and says all the time how fat she is.

She will have times when she’ll talk freely about it, we can talk about food being fuel etc, but most of the time she’s totally focused on how fat she is and hating the way she feels if she eats anything.

The gp won’t talk to me about things as she’s now an adult.
She realises she has a problem but still thinks the main problem is that she’s fat.
I have the name of an organisation to refer her to (IAPT), which I will look more into.
I’ve asked her to stop following people on social media who share the same problems as it almost makes her competitive over it.

Is there anything I should be doing?

I’m currently catastrophising and thinking of all the worst possible outcomes.

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TheoneandObi Sun 27-Sep-20 17:59:58

Stressing and restricting what she's eating amounts to an ED imo. I speak as a mum with a DD who is bulemic and flirted with orthorexia. After 4 years (during which she somehow managed to come out of a good uni with a good degree) she is finally starting to show signs of a slow recovery. The first step in that recovery came a year ago when she admitted to the world that she had a problem. She was shamed. So my first advice is to at all costs avoid stigmatising her relationship with food.
Beyond that, as you say, she's an adult so it's hard. My DD never got proper counselling bc she was living beteeen home and a far away university.

PaperScissorsRock Sun 27-Sep-20 18:04:16

Thank you. I’m pleased your dd is getting better.

She’s spent the last 8-10 years going from one focus to another, so I’m really hoping that this will phase out, but currently there’s no signs of it.

My main fear is that she becomes very ill, and obviously I want to avoid that.

I’ve had a look at orthorexia, she fits that description very well and has for years.

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FlorenceNightshade Sun 27-Sep-20 18:27:01

What about making her an appointment with a PT for nutrition advice? I have a friend who when she finds herself going down this path again (previous anorexic) says booking in with a PT who is good with nutrition also can help level her out again.

I appreciate that might not work for everyone and might not even be available just now due to covid

newnameforthis123 Mon 28-Sep-20 10:19:25


What about making her an appointment with a PT for nutrition advice? I have a friend who when she finds herself going down this path again (previous anorexic) says booking in with a PT who is good with nutrition also can help level her out again.

I appreciate that might not work for everyone and might not even be available just now due to covid

This is a really good shout. When I was in the worst stages of my anorexia I booked a block of 10 sessions with a PT and after the first one she sat me down and said she wasn't comfortable with continuing because I was so malnourished and didn't have the fuel to continue. She gave me some information on nutrition and was very kind, refunded everything. At the time I was so angry (not that she would have known as I was just mortified to her face, but internal anorexia rage was definitely a thing in my case) but now I think bloody hell what a good egg. In fact I'm going to message her today (this was a good 6 years ago) and say that. Hopefully someone responsible could guide your daughter before that stage but she will need some medical support too and some counselling, ideally. It's so hard as I've been her and until I hit rock bottom I didn't reach out for help. I'm now 3.5 stone heavier, so I'm 10.5 stone. Healthy BMI and healthy body but I still struggle and feel huge. However I also know intellectually that I'm not so can keep those thoughts in check now and eat healthily and respect my body and how clever and amazing it is. I really hope your daughter can get there too - my mum also felt helpless and while I was dismissive of her and often angry about questioning my goodness she is my rock and my favourite human!

PaperScissorsRock Mon 28-Sep-20 10:41:02

Can I ask what a PT is?

I’ve handled things badly this morning as she’s been trying on her brother’s old t shirts - age 2-3, and they fit like crop tops. She’s standing in front of the mirror looking at herself crying because she’s so fat.

I’m ringing the gp again, I know they won’t advise because she’s an adult, but hopefully I can point out that when they say she’s fine she sees that as a challenge.
She’s definitely lost weight in the last month, but like I said possibly isn’t underweight, so I’m worried they won’t take this seriously.

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newnameforthis123 Mon 28-Sep-20 10:55:35

Sorry a personal trainer.

unicornpower Mon 28-Sep-20 11:01:05

Oh OP I'm so sorry you and your daughter are going through this, it truly is horrible. In my experience with Anorexia, the GPs don't (or at least didn't) take these things seriously until I was severely underweight so be prepared for that I'm afraid. Surely the clawing at herself would flag to the GP as a high risk individual! Does she recognise she has an issue with body dysmorphia and food? The PP about a PT (Personal Trainer) is a good idea, they may change the way she sees things but then it could be another obsession.

Would she agree to see a private therapist? That may help her if she will agree to it. I'm so sorry you're going through this. You may just have to hand hold her whilst she is going through this. I always remember how wonderful my mum was when i was sick, she didn't pressure me to eat, she focused on other things i enjoyed. Try not to get frustrated with her as she will be hating this as much as you are, she doesn't want to feel like she hates herself.

Sending lots of love xxx

DoraemonDingDong Mon 28-Sep-20 11:03:43

Can I ask if your DD is on the NHS/CAMHS waiting list for ASD? Has she been discharged from CAMHS and been moved on to the adult mental health service?

DD1 was under 18 when she was referred to CAMHS, but they're about to discharge her as she turns 18 soon. Although it actually "only" took 15 months for DD to reach the top of the waiting list for an ASD assessment, we ended up with a private assessment because her eating disorder & depression became very bad.

DD1 did get some help from the CAMHS ED clinic, but she found it very difficult to engage with the therapist (who seemed to have zero ASD experience).

The ASD diagnosis and following therapy has made all the difference. DD was in complete denial (to us at least) about her ED and has only recently started admitting that she has an ED sad But it seems to be entirely linked to her ASD.

We have learnt that because of the ASD, DD cannot cope with any degree of negativity and "confrontation". Face to face talking is very uncomfortable for her.

If possible, please go talk to a GP about her and then separately get that same GP to see your daughter, if she'll agree. Try to get her onto the lists for adults.

myrtleWilson Mon 28-Sep-20 12:09:10

Hi @PaperScissorsRock - please do come and join us on this thread if it would be useful?

We're not experts but have experience (some of a few months, some of several years) and we share information & provide a support to each other.

PaperScissorsRock Mon 28-Sep-20 12:39:12

Thank you for all the replies!

She has been to camhs 2 or 3 times over the past 4 years, for anxiety, depression, self harm (not serious though) and OCD type things. Every time they’ve been consistently useless and she’s been discharged.
I am autistic as is her brother, and we’ve had involvement from various local authority support organisations, but haven’t got anywhere with them at all.

She’s been referred as an adult for ASD assessment, which I’m relieved about as in this area adult services are so much better than children’s.

I suspect that the ED issues are very autism related and down to perfectionism and some control issues, so I’m hoping that a diagnosis will help, and maybe signpost to appropriate services.

Private therapist is beyond budget right now, but I’ll look into it and see if I can stretch to it. Ditto for a personal trainer, which is an excellent idea.

She is open to talking about it, to a point, so me talking to the GP should be ok.

Thank you for taking the time to answer and give advice, I appreciate it 💐

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