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Am I right to be concerned?

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Coffeebean102, May 31, 2011.

  1. Thanks Rosie. I don't think she's a full blown anorexic as she still eats, but she has cut out lots of different foods and is looking very skinny. She runs about 10k everyday and goes to a number of different exercise classes a week on top of this. What worried me a lot was when she described when she 'cut out carbs' when going on holiday abroad and couldn't believe how much weight she lost when she is already underweight.

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    Eating Disorders cover a whole range of behaviours around food etc.. She may be eating but clearly not enough - cutting out carbs and over (obsessively?) exercising are right in there. Serious stuff.

  3. I think you are right to be worried. I lived with a borderline anorexic at university and the key was getting her to admit she had a problem before she was too ill. That said she still has a strange relationship with food but we manahed to convince her that a woman of 5'7"should be 9 stone rather than 7 and she has stuck to that obsessively for the 12 years since. I think the comments about your weight ate relevant too - my friend was convinced she was fatter than another normal size 10 friend of the same height. She is ALWAYS convinced I am the same as her and I had to ask my husband to double check that I am fatter! I think you should do something definitely.
  4. Are relevant stupid phone
  5. Eva, your post really struck a chord with me as it seems like we are quite a similar situation! What annoyed me slightly this weekend was the fact that she "had" to go out for a long run. I only see her once every 3 months at most and it would have been nice to have spent all the available time together. That might sound selfish of me, but I certainly wouldn't go to the gym or go running if I had less than 48 hours available to spend with a good friend.

    I have no idea how to approach it. We went into a lovely chocolate shop the other day and she was insistent on only buying dark chocolate because it's healthier. That's fine, but I know she is a huge chocolate lover and it's as if she won't even treat herself anymore.

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    I hope you can find a way of talking to your friend about this (and you too Eva) - she may be relieved or she may be totally defensive and refuse to even listen. Or anywhere in between!
    Good luck!

  7. I think that pussyfooting about an issue lets lots of people off the hook. I'm not suggesting "Jesus H, you look bloody awful, bag of bones. Are you anorexic? All this obsession with food and exercise? Everyone's noticed it and they all think you're a fruitcake. I think you should see a doctor. I'm calling your Mum" (or am I?) but anorexics are extremely sly. They will exploit any loophole to keep up the obsessive weightloss. Gentle anxiety at a polite distance is one such loophole to them. They can ignore it.
  8. My youngest daughter developed anorexia nervosa and nearly died twice. I'm afraid that there is no easy way out of this evil disorder.
    As Lily said, anorexics are extremely sly and need a certain degree of intelligence to convince others that they are really OK and that, yes, of course they are eating and, no, they are not over exercising etc. My daughter became a speed-reader in that she could scan the nutritional information on any food label in an instant.
    I could write a dissertation length post on the sheer inventiveness of my daughter and how she lied, mislead everyone and managed to lose any calories that were forced into her by exercising in the middle of the night.
    However, it is no good trying to persuade a sufferer that they must stop, nor to plead, become angry or threaten. The root of the disorder is the need for control and, unless the sufferer actually wants to recover, there is very little that anyone can do until they decide they are ready. My daughter spent months in hospital and in a specialist unit in London. No amount of 'therapy' helped but they did keep her alive.
    We were lucky as, on both occasions, something just 'clicked' in my daughter's head and she was able to recover. However, she was 'fortunate' in that she became ill in her early teens and there is a far more positive prognosis for recovery at that age. However, her sisters and I constantly scan her from head to foot every time we see her as we live in fear that it will, one day, snatch her away from us permanently.

  9. The diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa does not indicate an amount of food eaten. This is because the illness is the excessive fear of weight. The eating problems are a symptom to this. It's a myth that people with anorexia don't eat at all. The eating disorder may manifest itself in other ways- such as an obsessive control over the foods that are eaten (for example, nothing with carbs). Anorexics may also binge on foods.
    The diagnostic criteria is mainly based on weight. A BMI of less than 17.5 is one of the main criterion. It also includes the fear of gaining weight (which generally manifests itself in restricted eating, excessive exercise or induced vomiting) and a loss of a period for several months.
    Based on this criteria, your friend may well be anorexic, depending on her weight and menstrual cycle. If some, but not all, of these criteria are met- for example, she restricts her eating and exercises excessively but is not underweight- she may have EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified).
    Either way, people with eating disorders are generally very sly and cunning about it in order to ensure other people don't notice. If it is obvious to you, then she may want you to notice and ask about it. You will have a better idea of whether you think this is the case.
    Treat the subject carefully. If you criticise her, you may run the risk of her withdrawing and becoming secretive. I would suggest asking her if everything is ok as you have noticed she's picked up some new habits. Make sure she knows that you are there for her no matter what. Unfortunately, as with any mental illness, it's not something that somebody else can change, no matter how much they may want to. The best you can do is to support her and encourage her to seek help if she needs it.
    Of course, you know your friend better than anyone here so you will know which advice is helpful. I hope you find some good advice and I hope she recovers. You sound like a very good friend.
  10. flickaz

    flickaz New commenter

    I think I'd be going straight to the boyfriend and having words with him! Sounds like he's got a few issues himself and she's started by being influenced by him and thats developed into something more.

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