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Anorexia and other eating disorders

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MHDNURSE has 21 years experience as a BSN, MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Pediatrics, Community, and School Health.

12,832 Profile Views; 1,348 Posts

The 12 year old daughter of a friend was admitted to the hospital last week for anorexia. I just found out this morning and I have to say I am SO relieved. I have watched this unfold beginning last August.

In August of 2016 I was at our local beach and my friend (more a casual acquaintance) showed up with her then 11 year-old daughter who I hadn't seen since May. She was wearing a bikini and I could see her ribs and her legs were like toothpicks. Only a few months prior, she had the normal, pre-pubertal pudge some girls have. I am not close enough with this friend to have said anything to her about my concern, so I mentioned it to a mutual friend who is good friends with her and told her I was concerned. My friend told me that she indeed asked her about it, and she got defensive and claimed her daughter had just decided to become vegan and was following "an extremely healthy lifestyle now". Having worked in a clinic that dealt with disordered eating, I know that many times, the first sign of an issue is when a person claims to be on a new health kick so that they can exclude foods without drawing attention. I explained this to my friend and told her that if there was any way she felt like she could convey this to the mom, to please tell her that a medical person she knows mentioned this to her, but she said that after her one comment to the mom, she shut her out :( The mom has been distant to her ever since.

Fast forward to a week and a half ago. I was at Whole Foods and I saw the girl with her dad. They were arguing and she was crying because he was telling her she needed to get more food than what she had picked. She was arguing with him that she had enough. It was in the mid 70's out and she was in a full down puffer coat and leggings, which were baggy on her. She was very pale, dark circles and her hair was stringy and flat. I felt sick for her and really concerned that her parents likely hadn't started to worry yet, but praying that the fact that dad was arguing with her about food meant he was aware. That image replayed in my mind every day since.

So this morning I got a message from my friend telling me that she was admitted last week. No other information, but she heard from another mom who is close friends with her. Mom is refusing to speak to anyone about it, but she is getting help. I am SO relieved and so thankful that they finally got help. I spent the last week after seeing her at Whole Foods considering putting an anonymous letter in their mailbox urging them to take her to the pediatrician for a check-up but also felt like it wasn't the right way to go about it. It's hard living in a small town where you "know everyone" enough to say hi, but don't know them well enough to be able to talk to them as a close, concerned friend.

I am sure as my kiddos get older (only have K and 1st right now), I will be seeing this in my school, though it is not quite as prevalent in this population as in my town. I worry for my own daughter who is 9 1/2 and is into dance and cheer and is already seeing her friends talk about looking "good" in skinny jeans, pinching their invisible "muffin tops" when they are in their leotards, and choose salad over chicken nuggets at school :(

I guess this post is really more of a vent than anything else. Just feeling really sad for our girls in today's world. I know it affects boys as well, but the pressure to be thin is definitely so much more for girls and women.

Sending hugs to all today and reminding us all that we need to love what we have and teach our kids to do the same.

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kidzcare has 5 years experience.

3,353 Posts; 19,716 Profile Views

I'm so glad that this young girl is getting help. I hope that since she is getting intervention so early that she is able to form a healthy relationship with food/fitness.

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WineRN has 4 years experience and specializes in NCSN.

1,085 Posts; 5,560 Profile Views

That is an awful thing to watch unfold. Sending love right back to you and that child's family

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Amethya has 5 years experience and specializes in Cardiology, School Nursing, General.

1,808 Posts; 12,627 Profile Views

Glad she's getting help and hope things get better for the poor child.

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Tencat12 has 10 years experience.

59 Posts; 1,946 Profile Views

Poor little girlie. Glad she's getting help.

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Farawyn has 25 years experience and specializes in A little bit of everything..

2 Followers; 12,645 Posts; 97,995 Profile Views

I spent all morning dealing with a tearful anorexic in my office. She has been getting help. She recently started her period again after not getting it for 10 months. This beautiful former athlete is not even allowed to play gym now. It's heartbreaking.

Be vigilant. Often we are the first ones who see these kids (both girls AND boys) going down the tubes.

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4 Followers; 11,299 Posts; 76,794 Profile Views

...I worry for my own daughter who is 9 1/2 and is into dance and cheer and is already seeing her friends talk about looking "good" in skinny jeans, pinching their invisible "muffin tops" when they are in their leotards, and choose salad over chicken nuggets at school :(

.

This stood out to me . . . where did these girls hear about "muffin tops"? From their moms.

WE need to be more careful about what we say about ourselves around our daughters and sons.

OP - I'm glad this young girl is getting help. I live in a small town too and it can be very hard to see things and want to intervene.

As a mandated reporter, I've had to report possible abuse. And even though that is supposed to be anonymous, people figure it out.

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Tina, RN has 20 years experience and specializes in Acute Care, CM, School Nursing.

512 Posts; 14,259 Profile Views

This terrifies me.

I grew up in a household with very screwed up ideas on weight/appearance. Consequently, I battled eating disorders through high school and my 20's. I have an 11 year old daughter, and my husband and I try so hard to be careful about what she sees and or hears.

But it doesn't matter, because she hears things from her friends. They are all on diets! It breaks my heart to hear my daughter wondering whether or not she is "chubby". She isn't at all, but does have a little bit of that "little girl fluffiness". I just keep telling her that she has a beautiful, healthy body. And that healthy eating and exercise are important for everyone, regardless of weight. And that there is nothing wrong with the occasional McDonalds meal or ice cream sundae... :)

Ugh, so hard to be a parent sometimes...

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EaglesWings21 is a ASN, RN and specializes in Medical Surgical.

380 Posts; 11,916 Profile Views

My daughter told me recently that she is anorexic. I watched her lose 50 lbs in 6 months. She said kids at school have been calling her fat. I remind her how pretty she is and how loved she is and she has been eating better. Some days are better than others, though.

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