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Possible Eating disorder 16 dd please help!

(10 Posts)
100lilgreen Mon 22-Aug-11 23:26:51

My dd has never been a good eater. She is extremely fussy. She only eats carbs, pasta, bread .. and also abit of meat, which would only be a tiny portion of chicken and beef that is very very well done so it is dry bassically. She hates vegetables and fruit and feels sick at the sight of salad. If a lettuce leaf or tomato arrives with her meal at a restaurant she'll start to kick up a fuss and refuse to eat it unless it is sent back. I always say it can just be taken off but she insists it is disgusting and will make her ill. She dreads each meal and doesn't even like the food she does eat, but knows she has to eat otherwise she will be hungry. She eats junk food alot but recently has started to stop that. Even though unhealthy, never minded her eating it because at least something was going inside her!
I have become increasinly worried this summer as she has become so thin and her BMI is now 17 which is underwieght. She is very bony and I have noticed her giving up with eating ( she used to just force pasta inside her because she was hungry). She went away for a month to a summer camp and came back as thin as ever telling me all she ate was crisps all day. She is nearly 5 foot 8 and weighs about 8 stone. what should i do?! she is beginning to refuse nearly all food now. is she anorexic? help me ! Thnks

hester Mon 22-Aug-11 23:48:54

I don't know if she'd fully meet the diagnostic criteria for anorexia yet, but she's clearly in the danger zone. I was anorexic for many years. I am around your dd's height, and at 8 stone my periods stop. At about that weight I also start thinking in a very polarised black and white way; I become very focused and clear and buzzy. That is a sure sign that my weight is getting way too low.

The hopeful bit is that she is young and at this age it often is possible to 'nip in the bud' any burgeoning eating disorder. You do have to act now, though. Have you confronted her with your concerns? It might not do any good but at least you will be giving her notice that you are not prepared to collude with dysfunctional eating. If you can, get her to your GP and ask for referral to a specialist unit. If you can't, seek specialist advice from someone like the charity beat.

Best of luck. I know what hell I put my mum through and I can fully imagine how worried you must be.

100lilgreen Tue 23-Aug-11 21:43:34

Thank you so much, will try speak to my GP. Have confronted her, but all she says is 'i'm just a fussy eater' ...

talkingnonsense Tue 23-Aug-11 21:51:04

Could you try saying it's ok to be fussy- kind of taking the pressure off- but you need to be fussy that you are getting what you need, so let her have tiny portions, so she can tick protein, fruit and veg, etc, as if she becomes malnourished it is much harder to think clearly.

hester Tue 23-Aug-11 21:59:15

One thing I think is important is not to collude with her distorted reality. But you don't need to get confrontational either. Don't humour her or keep your worries to yourself, but don't waste breath trying to persuade her to see sense (she won't). It's as simple as this: if she is refusing nearly all food, and she is 8 stone, then she is nearly certainly anorexic. As her mother, it is absolutely your right and your responsibility to seek professional advice.

I didn't admit it at the time, but I was secretly relieved and grateful the first time I got challenged on my eating - by a friend, who just told me to stop bullshitting her, she knew there was a problem. I absolutely denied it, but it was such intense relief to know that someone had noticed I was struggling.

100lilgreen Tue 23-Aug-11 23:26:39

Yes you are absolutely right, maybe speak to her school? Because although it may be right, the sound of 'doctor' might scare her?

hester Tue 23-Aug-11 23:36:05

tbh I think she has gone beyond not being scared. A BMI of 17 is very low. At that weight it is not just your body getting affected but your mind: as your brain gets starved of resources it gradually shuts down and gets very polarised and simplistic. The quality of your thinking and decision-making plummets. She absolutely needs medical attention.

To give you a sense of it, based on my experience (as someone of a similar height to your dd): at 8 stone my periods stop, at 7 stone I was still just about working but living a very limited life and warned I was in danger of organ failure. As I went under 7 stone the pressure from my psychologist was really on for inpatient treatment, and I was warned I might be sectioned if I went down to 6 and a half stone.

So you see, she is not in imminent danger but she is not fluttering about on the margins either: she needs help now to prevent her sliding into a very serious situation. I don't think school can do it. She needs referral to an eating disorder specialist.

I'm sorry if I'm sounding scary. I don't want to worry you, but I know you must be worried already and you don't want this to turn into a long-term issue.

Awomancalledhorse Tue 23-Aug-11 23:44:36

OP, when I had anorexia (started when I was a few years younger than your DD), my mother informed the school & their way of dealing with it was to have a teacher follow me around at lunch to make sure I would eat something which left me feeling a bit pissed off & I 'rebelled' against the school too. Please, please if you do tell the school, make sure you talk to someone who has some idea of how to deal with it.

Like hester has already pointed out, beat is a fantastic charity for help.

Where you say 'but knows she has to eat otherwise she will be hungry', is (to me anyhoo) a really positive sign, if she's aware that she needs to eat & doesn't fight the hungry feeling then it sounds as though she isn't 'properly' anorexic.

If you don't mind me asking, how do you know her BMI? If she's willing to share with you how much she weighs, it sounds very positive & like she wants you to know.

Has she said why she has stopped eating junk food? Or is it something you've just noticed?
Could you take her food shopping, and get her to load the trolley with stuff that she likes?

Best of luck.

100lilgreen Wed 24-Aug-11 09:56:14

I saw her making notes which said her weight, so I do know she is watching it. I know her height from a doctors visit a while ago and she hasn't grown much since. I think she knows she 'has' to eat but is going every other way not to. So around me when she knows it is dinner time, she will just insist on pasta because thats the easiest thing. When offering her ice cream the other day, which she does normally have, she said 'its too fattening', and i replied ' you can still have some, its allright to have fattening things once in a while", and she just said ' no, she doesn't feel like any'.

DoubleDegreeStudent Sat 27-Aug-11 15:43:56

I agree you should speak to someone, but in the meantime what happens with cooking? Might she be more willing to eat something if she cooked it rather than you? One of my friends lost a lot of weight because she refused to eat anything her parents cooked - she was diagnosed as anorexic, but would eat normally if, for example, we went out for a meal (so not anorexia as I had previously understood it).

If she's going to want to go off to university or something then she will probably struggle as a "fussy" eater because everything is so unstable at first. Have her help with preparing meals etc if you can, it might help to make food seem a bit less threatening. If it gets to the point where she is having separate meals from you (I'm not clear on this from your posts - do you cook her pasta and have a normal meal for you?) try and have her cook the normal food, even if at first she won't eat it. Once she's gone through the effort of doing something she might be more willing to just try it?

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