I think my friend has an eating disorder

sbrnsmith

Well-Known Member
#1
We have been friends for 9 years....she has always been very athletic, but lately I am convinced she has an eating disorder....she has always been slender, but over last few months, she is skin and bones...I see the signs because I have seen them before....she exercises obsessively, more than normal- 50 mile bike ride, 13 mile run and eats a salad by dipping the lettuce in vinegar/olive oil dressing on the side...she only eats kale, veggies and no fat, minimal protein....the bones are protruding out from her shoulders, back and rib cage and arms....I did not see her for 4 months, when we got together this past weekend, I was shocked. Her face has hollows and she looks 10 years older. She has always been pretty consumed with healthy eating, but I think this is a new extreme. Her husband has no clue. He is an Ironman athlete, very focused on exercise and eating right, he even applauds her choices. I am very concerned.There is a new term called orthorexia for those women that exercise obsessively and cut down their calorie intake. She used to love eating and food, and was always so slender and yet healthy and athletic. I don't know what to do, how to confront her at the danger of damaging our friendship. Patients with such disorders often believe all is well and they are just being healthy...I don't think she will listen. But I am concerned for her health and well being
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#2
confront wouldn't be the term I would use or the approach that I would take...expressing concern is all that you can do as a friend, other than also expressing concern to her husband as well...but not before expressing it to her.....like any other disorder, that is all that you can do unless she expresses a desire for help
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#4
possible...but due to HIPPA, her doctor may not be able to say much back to him....and in the end, short of getting an adult declared incompetant (very difficult), if they are not ready to get help, it will be very hard to compel a person if they are not ready for it ...and you have to be careful or they will take their behavior underground but not stop it....it is rough unless it is a minor child where you can in fact monitor their every move and force them to get counseling...I will say that, from what I have heard and experienced with friends and relatives, it is easier to combat and less likely to recur if it is caught quickly....but the folks that do these sort of things tend to be perfectionists, so they feel shame easily ...it has to be dealt with very carefully, non-judgementally, and safely
 

JudeMorrigan

Well-Known Member
#8
Yes, unfortunately it sounds from the original post like the husband is not concerned. I'm afraid I don't have anything to offer but my sympathy, but you do have it. That's a terribly difficult situation.
 

RiseNFall

Well-Known Member
#9
I have extraordinarily little success in situations such as this. The one thing that has worked is expressing concern and suggesting a doctor's visit to analyze the situation objectively since you guys will definitely have different opinions. A sports nutritionist with good credentials might do the trick as well. It would have to be somebody whose opinion she would trust. You might ask if she would like you to go with her. If you know her family--siblings who she gets along with well, perhaps--they might be able to help.
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#10
How much has she lost?




And if you saw a friend who had gained that much would you stage such an intervention, lecture them for using lots of blue cheese dressing and eating McDonalds, suggest a Drs visit, and tell them to go on a diet?
 

sbrnsmith

Well-Known Member
#11
How much has she lost?




And if you saw a friend who had gained that much would you stage such an intervention, lecture them for using lots of blue cheese dressing and eating McDonalds, suggest a Drs visit, and tell them to go on a diet?
She has lost at least 20 lbs....and she was already slender to begin with. She has nothing but skeletal appearance, skin over bones....I can see the difference....her shoulders and arms look bony and her back and rib cage is basically just skin over bones....when I hugged her, I thought I would break her....she has that unhealthy look....hollows and wrinkles in her face due to zero subcutaneous fat....yes, I am pretty sure she is far from healthy....I am fearing for her health and well being at this point and it sucks that I can't do anything....I can express my concern but she would brush it off....patients with eating disorders do not believe they have a problem

To answer your second question- yes absolutely I would intervene if a friend had gained weight....and I have, I would tactfully suggest healthier choices and offer to run/work out with her....and I have successfully intervened in the past, but the difference is that people who are over weight and/or have gained weight usually know their problem and are more open to help....people with eating disorders are not....many believe they are doing the right/healthy thing for themselves
 

raindance

Well-Known Member
#12
Yes, unfortunately it sounds from the original post like the husband is not concerned. I'm afraid I don't have anything to offer but my sympathy, but you do have it. That's a terribly difficult situation.
You're right about the husband not being concerned (or even part of the problem). I guess I meant, if the husband could be convinced that there might be a problem, then maybe the husband could be encouraged to bring the concern to his wife's doctor. I'm not sure that would work, but it was the only potentially helpful thing that came to mind.
 

llamasarefuzzy

Well-Known Member
#13
I'm so sorry you have this situation going on. If I remember correctly, sbrnsmith, you are a medical professional? Perhaps you could tell her you are professionally concerned that she is underweight without mentioning an eating disorder. It might be easier for her to admit to being underweight (a physical fact... She either is or isn't and there isn't really an in between) than having an eating disorder ( something not quite so cut and dry that unfortunately has a lot of stigma attached).I also agree about offering to help find and/or go to a nutritionist or doc
 

sbrnsmith

Well-Known Member
#14
Update- just found out that my friend was admitted to the hospital with electrolyte abnormalities and dehydration. I hope she gets help, but truthfully, I don't know- resources are few and a persons willingness to go for treatment makes a big difference. She doesn't think she has a problem. It's going to be an uphill road.
What a disgusting day it has been overall.
 

Dance Ads