brother is making himself sick

Hello, I am writing to share the concern that I've been having recently for my younger brother.

He is 18, a high-achiever, about to attend a good university and has been on a fitness mission the past year. He's always been 'overweight' (I hate this term but I am using it for lack of a better one).

Recently I have noticed that he is adding 'fast days' to his fitness routine and is exercising excessively, sometimes to the extent that he is in some physical pain.

Tonight I noticed that there was vomit in the bathroom sink. After dinner he usually goes straight to his room so I can only imagine he made himself sick. I've noticed this a few times in the past, but I am away at university a lot so it's difficult to figure out how regularly this happens.

Things aren't (and haven't been) so great in our household for a few years now. We are both young carers and have had to deal w a lot of health-related responsibility early on.

My final point is a question: where do I go from here? Our mum is incredibly supportive, but I am afraid that if I share these concerns with her behind my brothers back this could alienate him further, leading him to hide it more.

TLDR: brother is making himself sick, unsure how to address my concern sensitively & encourage him to seek professional help

Thanks,

3 Replies

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  • I think you might be able to address noticing vomit without even mentioning EDs. E.g. you could say "I noticed someone had been sick last night. Were you feeling OK, Fred?"

    This will alert him that someone is aware that he has purged yet won't necessarily lead to a confrontation about all your worries. If the vomiting isn't self-induced, he would be able to explain what happened.

    Going forward, I wonder if you could ring a carer's helpline, either ABC or B-eat, to get professional advice. B-eat have a lot of downloadable leaflets on their website too, aimed at supporting people who are supporting individuals with ED.

  • I can understand your concerns - my sister was in your position with me - she spoke to my mum who in turn approached me - and although it was extremely painful it was the break through I needed - I was in despair and couldn't see a way out - although it was an extremely shameful time for me - it was this intervention that started me towards getting help. You could try calling the ABC (anorexia and bulimia care) or BEAT helpline - or view their websites - they are very supportive and can offer help and advice to family. Hope you find a way of approaching your brother.

  • ** update **

    Thank you all for your replies, they made me feel a lot more comfortable with approaching him about it.

    I was with my mum and brother this morning and mentioned I noticed the sick in the sink last night. My brother vehemently denied it, and sort of laughed it off ('maybe it was the dog').

    Idk what to do because he was rly convincing, to the extent that I think I might even be wrong?? But I know something is up so the next question is:

    How do I pursue this conversation again/talk about ED's but actually engage him to open up?

    x

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