Weight Gain
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how to help someone who won't eat


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My 50 year old daughter-in-law has had an eating disorder for years. She currently only weighs about 97-99 pounds and I am very concerned about her. She recently went through a series of tests to rule out cancer because of pain and bowel problems. I think she is happy because there was no cancer detected, and so she can continue her vomiting, etc. She has taken sudafed daily for years and I feel she l uses laxatives as well.

My son tries to monitor her eating and has been trying to get her to eat at least 2000 cal. a day, but doubts she is getting more than 1000.

The family is worried, but we need some help and thought perhaps someone on calorie count could shed some light  on this matter.

Thanks! Tori

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Original Post by tori190:

My 50 year old daughter-in-law has had an eating disorder for years. She currently only weighs about 97-99 pounds and I am very concerned about her. She recently went through a series of tests to rule out cancer because of pain and bowel problems. I think she is happy because there was no cancer detected, and so she can continue her vomiting, etc. She has taken sudafed daily for years and I feel she l uses laxatives as well.

My son tries to monitor her eating and has been trying to get her to eat at least 2000 cal. a day, but doubts she is getting more than 1000.

The family is worried, but we need some help and thought perhaps someone on calorie count could shed some light  on this matter.

Thanks! Tori

Tori:

I am sorry to hear about the current state of your daughter-in-law.  It sounds as though she is suffering from and eating disorder (ED); both being anorexia and bulimia, and the behavior that comes along with it. 

I know your son is trying to help by monitoring her food (caloric) intake but the irony of the illness is, when the disorder is active the individual finds avenues to deceive others.  (ie. purging, lying, manipulation). With this in mind, your daughter-in-law's symptoms stem from her eating disorder (ie. the bowel problems and abuse of laxative), and this should not be taken lightly. 

They are preoccupied with food, meal planning, and have unusual eating habits.  As they lose weight and their health begins to deteriorate, anorexics feel weak and tired.  They might realize they have a problem, but they will not stop the starvation, abuse of laxatives, and refuse to consider the behavior abnormal. 

 Once they have lost a lot of weight and malnutrition sets in, physical changes become more visible.  Typical changes are amenorrhea (stoppage of menstruation), digestive problems, irregular heart beat, injuries to tendons, nerves, immune function abnormalities, anemia, osteoporosis, and MANY other problems.

Individuals with this condition can get better with professional therapy, but may also turn to bulmia nervosa, or die.

Anoreixa nervosa has the highest mortality rate of all psychosomatic illnesses today.  The disorder, however, is curable.  But treatment also always requires professional help, and the sooner it is started, the better the changes for reversibility and cure.

Therapy consists of a combination of medical and psychological techniques to restore proper nutrition, prevent medical complications, and modify the environment or events that triggered the syndrome. 

Seldom can anorexics overcome the problem by themselves as they strongly deny their condition.  They are able to hide it and deceive friends and relatives. 

Almost always does someone suffering from and eating disorder need professional treatment and intervention and some need to be forced into treatment against their will and can be painfully hard for loved ones to do. 

However, it has to be done because the individual with the illness will manifest and in most cases for successful recovery does the patient need some form of professional help.  In most cases, loved ones cannot provide this but can be supportive and enforce treatment. 

To give you an idea of how serious this is when I was anorexic and bulimic it took a near death experience, a rush to the hospital and almost slipping into a coma before treatment and intervention took place.  It was the scariest most horrifying experience for me, doctors, and my loved ones.  After that experience, I wished I had some sort of intervention so I didn't have to go through a terrifying wake up call. 

You can also educate yourself.  Please check out this link I provided below.  And never hesitate to log on here for support or reach out for help or message me.

http://nationaleatingdisorders.org/

I hope this helps.

 

Thank you for the website.  And I realize she needs professional help, but we live where there are very  few qualified to help with ED.  When I asked about malnutrition, supposedly  her doctor said her body's "nutrients" were fine----according to blood tests. I cannot see how they could be.

I hope she can realize the anormous stress she is putting on her body and that she keeps  searching for some answers to her pains, etc. and that some doctor can help her. I am not sure her family doctor has that knowledge.

I told my son he may have to start doing the cooking and "hide" calories in the food.

tricking her to eat more calories will only make her resentful towards her family. eating disorders are psychological issues, the underlying issues must be eliminated in order for recovery to work. x

Oh, that makes very good sense. Thank you for sharing that. I think she is trying to gain by eating a little bit throughout the day. I hope she gain gain at LEAST 10-15 pounds. She is a small person anyway, so a few pounds will make a big difference I'd think.

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