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Question
Posted by: May | 2009/11/24

How do I help a friend with an eating disorder?

Hi, I have a friend who has recently lost a lot of weight and is now obessising about it. She wont eat for days at a time and when she does eat to gets sick. She is living on coffee! I want to take her to see a professional but she wont go - she is killing herself slowly.... how do I help her?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear May
It is indeed a difficult situation when a friend suffers from an eating disorder (in this case I would suspect anorexia). Eating Disorders need to be treated with a team approach. Please try and persuade your friend to consult a clinical psychologist (they are listed in the Yellow Pages under 'Psychologists' or she can ask her gp to refer her), to help her work out what underlying psychological problems are driving her to self-destruct and to learn most positive ways of dealing with these problems. She should also consult a clinical dietitian to assist her to get back to eating normally again. Visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area. If she is in Gauteng then it may help to contact Tara Hospital as they have an Eating Disorder clinic (phone (011) 783-2010. In Cape Town and environs she can contact the Kenilworth Clinic (021) 797-1400 and in KwaZulu Natal there is Riverview Manor (033) 701-1911, or contact them on: www.riverviewmanor.co.za
Get her to go for expert help ASAP.
Best regards
DietDoc

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2009/11/25

Dear May
It is indeed a difficult situation when a friend suffers from an eating disorder (in this case I would suspect anorexia). Eating Disorders need to be treated with a team approach. Please try and persuade your friend to consult a clinical psychologist (they are listed in the Yellow Pages under 'Psychologists' or she can ask her gp to refer her), to help her work out what underlying psychological problems are driving her to self-destruct and to learn most positive ways of dealing with these problems. She should also consult a clinical dietitian to assist her to get back to eating normally again. Visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area. If she is in Gauteng then it may help to contact Tara Hospital as they have an Eating Disorder clinic (phone (011) 783-2010. In Cape Town and environs she can contact the Kenilworth Clinic (021) 797-1400 and in KwaZulu Natal there is Riverview Manor (033) 701-1911, or contact them on: www.riverviewmanor.co.za
Get her to go for expert help ASAP.
Best regards
DietDoc

Reply to DietDoc
Posted by: Lin | 2009/11/24

From personal experience I can tell you that talking about her weight and the fact that she' s lost so much weight will only make her feel good! And she won' t believe you if you say she needs help.

I' ve been there and know that, whatever someone else says, you won' t believe them. And it won' t help sending her to a dietician or forcing her to eat more. It may sound harsh, but the only thing that will help is intervention in the form of sending her to a rehab. Either she will realise the severity and seriousness of the problem or you' ll actually have to take her.

I' m just trying to give you a perspective of someone who has suffered through this.

Reply to Lin

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