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Friend Has Eating Disorder and Cutting Herself. Her Family Is Not Taking It Seriously, Some Are Encouraging It

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My good friend informed me she has an eating disorder, and has been counting and consuming very little calories. She has almost been able to throw up her food, and I found out she has been cutting her breast and wrist with nail clippers secretly, and she told me she gets frustrated when she does not see blood. (her parents don’t know about the cutting, but they know about the eating problem) My friend’s parents are not taking this seriously, often brushing her eating problem off as nothing, and her Grandma is encouraging the calorie counting starvation diet, saying it is great, and my friend needs to do it to look better, when, in truth, my friend is already a healthy size, and quite thin! My friend feels extreme pressure, and I am really worried. She is 14, and will be attending a dance school in NYC alone at the age of 16, and I want to get her help before it is too late. I also discovered she has been to a councilor, but is still doing everything I listed, and maybe more.

What can I do to get her the help she needs, and to boost her confidence of her self image?

Friend Has Eating Disorder and Cutting Herself. Her Family Is Not Taking It Seriously, Some Are Encouraging It

Answered by on -

A.

I have a high regard for friendship and your desire to help your friend. However, she is in need of professional help, and your job can be to encourage her to stay connected to her counselor. The most direct way is for you to talk to your school counselor about what you’ve been told and what you notice. This is important because her condition is now affecting you, and the counselor can help both of you. You can also offer to go with your friend to her counselor, or write out your concerns and ask her to share your list with her therapist.

There are also good blogs with information on dancing and eating disorders you can pass on to your friend (like this one http://www.dancespirit.com/starving_for_perfection-2326081076.html), or make her aware of the eating disorder forum here at Psych Central. Here is another resource on cutting she may find useful.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Friend Has Eating Disorder and Cutting Herself. Her Family Is Not Taking It Seriously, Some Are Encouraging It

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Friend Has Eating Disorder and Cutting Herself. Her Family Is Not Taking It Seriously, Some Are Encouraging It. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/07/30/friend-has-eating-disorder-and-cutting-herself-her-family-is-not-taking-it-seriously-some-are-encouraging-it/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 30 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.