How can I help my sibling who has an eating disorder?

My sister has everything to live for, she has a good job, a fiancé who adores her and a wonderful support in her mother. She had an eating disorder in her teens but eventually after some time in hospital seemed to be on the mend. Well, that was until about a year ago. She lost a lot of weight and is now about 3.5 stone, 5ft 6in despite there being no filling her with food. She previously ran a half marathon and now has to be pushed around in a wheelchair.

She has an issue with her bowel (IBD) as well as needing her gallbladder removed, she seems to find every excuse from forums to suggest that the weight loss & excessive eating are because of these 2 issues. Our family doctors told us she has to want to help herself to get the treatment she needs and help with her other issues - this is not what she's telling us. We have tried hounding her to move docs apts along, then tried not to ask anything, tried to talk to her about it all of which gets us no where. As she's an adult the doctors can't talk to is without her consent, they have advised us to continue to be supportive & not be on her case she needs to want to get well and ask for the help she needs.

The problem we have is she's literally wasting away in front of our eyes & we are terrified that by the time she realises and asks for help it's too late - can anyone's suggest anything at all we can do?

2 Replies

  • Hello Elaine1975 :( While your sister doesn't take responsibility for her condition, nothing will change. Her ed voice will have her convinced that it is not in any way shape or form the "true" problem. She will absolutely not be able to be reasoned with. Your sister needs everyone now more than ever and unfortunately will not realize that, she will treat anyone who refutes what her ed voice says like the enemy. Think of it like this: Lovely sunny day, no clouds, you look up and comment on how blue the sky is - your sister will look up and comment, yes it's a lovely color red. Elaine1975 you know it is blue, she sees red, and there is no changing that fact for either of you. So what to do?? Gently ask her if she can remember when it was blue. Let her know, quietly, everyone just wants to help her remember. Don't do that to her too often. She really does need to "want to ride the horse" so to speak. Yes it is all down to her :( :( :( Keep up all your own interests - it will help her "remember". Pray. Miracles do happen. I hope that helped you to sort of understand why she is being so resistant. xo

  • Hi Elaine,

    I'm so sorry to read of your sister's struggles, it must be a difficult time for all of you. If you feel able to talk to us on the phone please give us a call so we can discuss the best options for your sister. Our number is 03000 11 12 13 and our friends and family helpline is open Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.

    I hope we can be of help to you and please get in touch,

    Kind Regards,


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