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Very worried about daughter's lack of eating

(7 Posts)
hellhasnofury Wed 14-Sep-11 18:11:57

She's 21 so an adult but I'm not sure how to handle this.

She's struggling to eat. She's lost 7lb in the last 5 days. She's stressed about starting uni and really worried about gaining weight as she's back on prednisolone for her asthma. She phoned me in tears last night because she's struggling to eat. She looks pale and has big dark circles under her eyes. Her previously tight jeans are falling off her. She is also dealing with a death that had hit her very hard.

Not at all sure how to handle this?

Gastonladybird Wed 14-Sep-11 18:45:20

Is there a pastoral service like a counsellor that can help? Also cruse fantastic for helping grief

munkeychops Wed 14-Sep-11 18:45:52

I'm really sorry to hear about your situation. Do you suspect she may have an eating disorder? Is she being open about her weight loss or avoiding the subject etc? I had anoroxia when I was 17 years old, if you do feel it may be an eating disorder I would be as non confrontational as possible and just let her know you are there for when/if she wants to talk to you.

Regardless of if its an eating disorder or not, it certainly sounds like she is going through a stressful time. Could you maybe point her towards the GP? Or say you will go with her depending on her relationship?

mumeeee Wed 14-Sep-11 18:54:16

My FIL died last year and that hit DD2 very hard. She was in her 2nd term at uni. She felt unable to eat and just wanted to come home. She phoned us in tears in the middle of the night asking us if she could come home. We said of course and she came the next day. Anyway we got in touch with her personal tutor who was very understanding and told her to take as much time off as she wanted. She had a week at home and then the tutor kept an eye on her. Has your DS got a personal Tutor at uni that she can talk to?

hellhasnofury Wed 14-Sep-11 19:26:23

She's not started at the uni yet. I was wondering if they'd take a dim view of me contacting them?

I will offer to go to the gp with her. Mum had anorexia when I was a kid and DD isn't being secretive about how she's not eating. Actually that's not true. She phoned me last night to say she'd been lying about eating when she hadn't.

Gah, it's all so bloody difficult when they're adults. Thank you for your replies.

TheArmadillo Wed 14-Sep-11 20:46:31

If it is stress and struggling to cope with death and if she is genuinely worried/concerned about not eating (and some people do react to stress with lack of appetite/inability to eat) I would start by giving her easy ways to prevent her losing anymore weight without having to eat loads. Don't pressure her to eat proper meals or meals at all, just small, regular high calorie snacks.

Would she have build up drinks like complan - a couple a day to start with.
Other stuff she could try are smoothies, a handful of nuts or trail mix, even biscuits, flapjacks, cereal bars, cheese & crackers, toast with peanut butter. It only needs to be very small amounts so not overwhelming - try and get the frequency rather than the portion size up to start with.

Look at what she is drinking as well as a way to get calories in - on top of smoothies, build up drinks - hot chocolate made with milk, milkshakes, tea/coffee with milk and sugar, fruit juice, even fizzy drinks at a push.

Get her to take a multivitamin and if it doesn't contain iron then an iron supplement as well (spatone is an easier iron supplement than tablets). Poor/reduced diet can lead to anaemia which in turn can lead to reduced appetite and turns into a vicious circle.

Encourage her to see a dr, though I appreciate she is an adult so you can't make her. Exercise - even just walking helps with stress and may also help stimulate her appetite.

hellhasnofury Fri 16-Sep-11 19:25:42

This has now come to a head. DD has had two panic attacks on the last two days. Our lovely GP sat down with her tonight and asked her what was up and the flood gates have opened. GP gave her contact details for a local young people's advisory and counselling service who have drop-in sessions tomorrow. DD has emailed them through her tears tonight and I'll drive her over there tomorrow though I promise to sit in the waiting room and not ask her any questions when she comes out.

Thank you for the wise words.

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