General Question

oasis's avatar

Any advice on Bulimia?

Asked by oasis (960 points ) December 5th, 2008

We have just discovered that my daughter is suffering with what we think is bulimia.
She does not know that we are aware and i’m wondering how to approach the subject in a gentle manner.
We hear her vomiting soon after she has eaten and her failled attempts to clean up,all point to our worst fears.Any advice would be helpfull.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

30 Answers

nikipedia's avatar

I would be willing to bet the bulimia is a symptom rather than a cause of whatever the real problem is. I would not address that specifically as I think it could make her feel defensive and/or guilty—instead, try to find out what’s going on in her life that could make her so unhappy.

And this is one for the pros. Eating disorders are, sadly, extremely difficult to treat. I would not try to do this on your own. I would seek out the advice of a competent therapist who specializes in eating disorders before talking to your daughter, ideally. And in general, try to be gentle, understanding, supportive, and most of all, nonjudgmental.

amandala's avatar

Firstly, I’m incredibly sorry that your daughter is going through this. I know how hard it can be. I suffered from anorexia throughout my high school years, and it’s very scary, especially when you feel like you’re going through this alone.

You don’t want her to feel attacked. That’s incredibly important. You should, however, let her know that you’re worried about her. For the most part, eating disorders are indicative of deeper issues. Perhaps you could make a call to a doctor or therapist? Before sending your daughter off to treatment, though, inquire about how to approach your daughter about the issue. In situations as delicate as this, it’s a good idea to defer to professionals for advice.

oasis's avatar

Thanks for the input guys,i do know my daughter well enough to know she has deeper issues and that the real her is not what she portrays to her peers(lots of bravado).
She does not open up and express her feelings and if the subject were broached i dare say she would go mental and clam up totally and there lies the problem.Thanks once again

amandala's avatar

I completely understand, oasis. I was the same way. My mother tried to approach me and instead of being receptive to her concerns, I basically threw a tantrum because I didn’t know how to let her into my world. After therapy and some serious self-reflection, I’m as OK as I’m ever going to be.

Just be aware that, as nikipedia said, eating disorders can be incredibly difficult to treat. You want to look into help as soon as you can; the longer an eating disorder goes on, the more difficult it is to treat.

Good luck, and all the best to you and your daughter.

oasis's avatar

Thanks,i have an appointment to discuss this with the doc,however thanks for your openness.

loser's avatar

I’m sorry to hear this but very glad you are aware there is a problem. Please do get her help ASAP! I have a friend who is dealing with this and it is a very serious health concern both physically and emotionally. She see’s a therapist and also goes to a group with a bulimia specialist weekly and monthly meets with a doctor. It’s been tough but she’s hasn’t purged for almost months. Good luck!

oasis's avatar

Thanks,it seems that Bulimia is not just a personal disorder,it greatly affects all concerned.
She has just walked in from work and to look at you would not think that a problem like this was evident.
We are having a carry out tonight then watch TV.
We will see what transpires after dinner.

emilyrose's avatar

Also I think her failed attempts to clean up her mess indicate that she may have wanted to out herself to you because she knows she needs help. Bulimics learn many tricks to hide what they are doing so my guess is that she kind of wants you to know, but won’t say it outright. Another thing to think about is that at least for women, not sure about men, they often like to have a buddy or partner in crime who shares the eating disorder with them. This may be important in her own therapeutic process. If one of her friends is also suffering, I’m wondering if they will both need treatment to succeed together.

I have never had an eating disorder myself but was fascinated by the subject in middle and high school. A lot of what I read also noted that it was the person’s way of having control. Perhaps some of the underlying issues are from areas in her life where she feels a lack of control. Best of luck. We’re wishing her the best!

JohnRobert's avatar

It might not hurt to have this book sitting on your coffee table as well. (or something like it)
wwww.amazon.com/Beyond-Fear-Toltec-Freedom-Teachings/dp/1571780386/ref=pd_sim_b_4

This book in particular has nothing to do with bulimia, but could help give a proper perspective on life. I hope that you find a doctor or therapist who tries to find the root cause and doesn’t just dispense drugs.

augustlan's avatar

How old is your daughter? If she is under 18, and you live at all close to the Washington, DC area, I highly recommend that you check out Dr. Chattoor at Children’s Hospital in DC. She is a child psychiatrist specializing in eating disorders. She was a great help to us when one of our daughters stopped eating at 7 or 8 years old. One day she gagged on her food, and she didn’t eat solid food again for about a year. Treatment was long, hard and expensive, but it sure beats the alternative. Good luck to you and your daughter!

emilyrose's avatar

I love the Toltec wisdom myself. Could be helpful for the parents but unlikely that the daughter would “get it.”

JohnRobert's avatar

Emily, I’m glad you like the Toltec, and I appreciate that the daughter is probably not the intended audience for these books. You may be completely correct that she would not “get it”. However, I would like to humbly suggest that adults often place limitations on what we think young people are ready to learn. Are young people too un-sofisticated (sp) or immature to know the truth? Why should we wait until we are confused adults before we look for remedies and wisdom? I’m just speculating that perhaps, even if the daughter does not fully grasp the concepts, she might be able to at least realize that there is much more to life than where she is right now. That way, whatever is thrown her way now (peer pressure, unrealistic TV images, etc.), she may be able to rise above it just by knowing that there are higher truths than what surrounds her right now.

oasis's avatar

Hi all,just broke the ice on the Bulimia problem.
First of all i took my daughter(age 22)to where we burried a dear and much loved friend,our dog BRINNY.
The reason for doing this was to try to get her barriers down before i broached the subject.
After reminiscing about our BRINNY i told her that we all loved Brinny and we equally love her and when things are wrong then the whole family is affected,then i said that i was aware of her vomiting after meals and asked what was going on her life to cause such behaviour,her reply was one of shock rather than denial“i don’t know” was the defended reply,then a crimson red look of realisation that her Dad had found out about her secret,then a flood of tears and then the self-preservation barriers came down“it’s not a problem”,“iv’e only done it once or twice”.
Having explained that her problem is harder for us to handle than her(due to not knowing why our Daughter would want to do this to herself)she then gave the first incling as to why.
The problem is she is concerned about weight gain.
She is just your average size girl with no weight problem that we can see,so now we have to convince her that she is perfect to us and when she wants to speak more we are here.
So thanks all for the advise all,things are on the up.

loser's avatar

Are you getting her some professional help as well?

oasis's avatar

Hi loser,r.e proffesional help,not yet.
We are treading carefully at present as it could be too much too soon.
I am at this time reading my way through a mine field of ways to address this and the most sensible thing seems to be take it slowly.
We are quite happy at the moment to have opened the door to the problem.

augustlan's avatar

I’m glad you’ve had the opening conversation. Please keep us updated.

emilyrose's avatar

I am happy to hear she didn’t entirely deny it, but you may not want to take her word that it has only happened a few times. I am not trying to criticize your daughter, I just know that it is typical for people who are struggling with eating disorders to be dishonest about what is going on because they don’t want to have to give up the disorder.

oasis's avatar

Hi Emilyrose,about your observation,you are correct it has been happening for almost six weeks.
I work away from home during the week which makes it difficult for me to offer support directly and also to monitor the situation.
Her mum tells me that there have been no irregular visits to the bathroom this week,which on the face of it looks good however it’s still all a bit delicate and we don’t feel as if she wants us involved yet.Fingers crossed.

emilyrose's avatar

I thought you were the mom? You say “her mum tells me….” or are you the father and you are sharing a fluther account? Either way I hope things move in a positive direction for your family.

oasis's avatar

Hi Emily,i’m the Dad my daughter confides in me mostly.

emilyrose's avatar

OH! Sorry for that awful assumption : )

augustlan's avatar

I have no idea why, but I had assumed oasis was the dad all along…

Eureka's avatar

“Oasis” has no children, or wife. This is all a big game to him.

augustlan's avatar

@Eureka: I’ve seen you post a few comments about this user…are you certain?

Eureka's avatar

I do apolgise for being so bitter about this user. However, he and I have a long history from another site. At various times, he has been married, unmarried, has 5 children, has no children, has been a teacher, an IT expert, a lawyer, lived in India, in Pakastan,in Wales, and many other countries. I am certain of one thing – he has changed his story so many times that even he can no longer remember what is true and what isn’t. I am sorry for being rude about him, but I have enough respect for the members here to feel that I have to let you know he is not what he claims to be. This is a game to him.

emilyrose's avatar

Bummer. We even exchanged some personal messages about this post. It is too bad that someone feels the need to do that.

augustlan's avatar

@Eureka: If indeed it’s the same guy you’ve been dealing with in the past, no need to apologize! I just didn’t want this serious type of question to be derailed if you weren’t 100% sure about who it is.

amandala's avatar

If what eureka says about oasis is true, I am utterly dismayed and….appalled. Eating disorders aren’t funny, and I can’t imagine why anyone would ever think it’s OK to do something like this. This is despicable. I am entirely disgusted by behavior like this.

I’ve gone through my own bout with an eating disorder, and it’s not something that should be taken lightly. People like oasis—people that, for some reason, don’t understand the gravity of disordered eating—are part of the reason why anoretics and bulimics are so secretive, making it even more difficult to treat these illnesses. When your problem—your personal battle—is made out to be a joke, why would anyone come forward and seek help?

Again, I am just…disgusted. Nauseated, even.

emilyrose's avatar

@amandala… it’s possible this person has a mental illness. Why else would anyone do that? Either way, your sharing here still helped others to learn more, so thank you for letting us in on that and offering your advice.

likipie's avatar

Don’t nag her. Coming from a 16 year old who has had my mother bug me about my unhealthy choices, nagging doesn’t help. Just tell her that you think she has a problem and you really care about her and you just don’t want her to hurt herself. Don’t try and force her to stop either. No matter what you do, if she doesn’t want to stop she wont (short of pure force, of course). She may think you’re just trying to be controlling and parenty but deep down inside, your words of care will get to her and her conscious will catch up with her. Don’t reprimand her for what she’s doing, don’t give her the impression that you’re angry or ashamed. Just bring it up every other day or so and just tell her that you’re really worried about her and you don’t want anything to happen to her. Make sure she knows the risks of bulimia, but don’t do it in a teachy way, just casually bring it up. If she doesn’t seem to be slowing down or stopping within a month of started to tell her your concerns, then you can continue doing this stuff ^ but seek help from a professional. Maybe take her for a drive and go see a therapist or doctor with her. If she gets angry just calmly remind her again that you love her so much and you don’t want to see her get hurt anymore. And another thing to keep in mind, eating disorders don’t always just come from image issues. Sometimes there can be an underlying source of hurt (i.e. bullying, breakup, depression) so ask her every day how she’s doing, what she did with her day, if something’s bothering her. I hope this helped a little.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther