19 answers

My Brother Has an Eating Disorder

This question is actually about my almost 16 yr old brother. We both come from a very good family life. Parents still married after 27 some yrs. He is the baby I am the oldest and we have a middle sister. I am normal size I guess for my age. I am a single mother of an 8 yr old daughter and 4 yr old son. And I don't look like I've ever had any kids. No stretch marks nothing!! My sister has a 3 yr old and was in very good shape before she had her.And since she had her, she still looks pregnant and huge!! She is bigger now than she was when she was pregnant. Then there is my brother. He is 15 and it all started with a flu-bug and he realized that he had lost alot of weight and liked that idea. Well it has been about 6 months since his flu went away and I know he still makes himself puke. I know this is a real problem and society wants people to look like models, but I don't know what to do. I am solely the only one who knows about this, cause I am the only one he trusts. I don't under any circumstance wanna loose his trust on the flip side I don't wanna loose him to this disorder either. PLEASE HELP

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

That kind of disorder can lead to so many secondary issues-and the end results could be something you are not prepared to deal with. I think you should try to find out why he is doing it and talk to him about how bad it is for his body. If that doesn't work, he may need professional help. People die from these kind of disorders-he needs help from someone!

More Answers

In my opinion it is important that this be brought to your parents attention ASAP.

Does your family place alot of value or importance on looks and weight? I am not being critical, it is just that your post seemed to place alot of emphasis on your sister being overweight. Do you or other members of your family make comments about how 'huge' your sister is? It is possible that if your brother is hearing these things it may fuel his desire to be skinnier.

2 moms found this helpful

I have had eating disorders off and on since age 15. Please re-read your "question" and see that you and your family put a lot of emphasis, and judgement, on size and looks. Your younger brother is already caught up in the same obsession. Not surprising. If you want to help him, open yourself to the possiblity that you are involved in his difficulties and accompany him to counseling. Eating disorders, like most issues in young people, are family issues, not one person's alone. Please help your brother, help yourself, and possibly avoid going through this again with your children when they are 15...

2 moms found this helpful

Get some literature in his hands on what happens to people that do this long term. Give him an ultimatum, "either you tell Mom and Dad or I will." If he is just trying to loose weight it should be pointed out that exercise will also give him the muscle tone that just being skinny won't give. Most people that fall into eating disorders have other issues though.

Love your brother enough to risk his anger in order to save his future. I know it is hard to do because I have confronted people in my family on things that were not right and paid a very big price, but it is still the right thing to do.

1 mom found this helpful

I think the sooner you get him help the better because right now he's young enough to be under the medical control of your parents. Don't wait until he's old enough to move away or refuse medical help, because he will.
I do think that attitude makes a big difference in people. If he's surrounded by people who make a big deal about being overweight then he'll have a hard time accepting himself if he's not thin. If he hears people commenting on your sister then he'll try hard not to get like that.
Good luck,
J.

1 mom found this helpful

J.,
I have to strongly agree with some of the other posts and point out to you that you seem to be very focused on what you and your family look like. You did not mention if your sister was happy or if she was a good mom or if she was married, or if she is at a healthy weight (is she 140 pounds and you call that huge because she's always been 110 or is she 300 pounds?). I read your post feeling like you have no respect for your sister just because she weighs more then you feel is appropriate.

You have a lot of concern about your brother not eating and wanting to help him is great but before you can do that perhaps you need to look at yourself and your family to see how you react to each other. Why did you feel the need to tell us in your post that you have no stretch marks? you should be proud of your body but you can't expect everyone to go through a pregancy or two as easily as you. Have you ever expressed concern for your sister and her weight issues? Maybe you could offer to take walks together or make family dinners together to help her with her food choices?

I'm not trying to be hard on you but I was a normal sized child (looking back at pictures I'd even say skinny) but after I "developed" I was much curvier then my sisters were and my sister's often teased me and called me fat or cow or whatever. I know now that they were just trying to push my buttons and they didn't mean it but it did affect me and my eating habits. I am VERY careful about calling me daughter skinny or fat or anything like that. We talk about building muscles and being strong but never about her size (she's very normal). She's only 4 years old but I'm extremely aware of how those kinds of comments can stay with a young person. You should look inside yourself and think about how your comments can affect your own children and your family.

As for your brother, tell him to let you know when he wants help but be very clear that what he is doing will damage him for life. He needs to want help or it won't work.

1 mom found this helpful

I applaud your efforts in helping your brother, sounds like he needs it if he is making himself throw up. However, if he hears you comment how your sister is HUGE after her daughter he could be trying to ensure that you don't make the same comment about him. Everyone doesn't shed the weight as easily after they have children.
Congratulations to you for looking like you never had children.

1 mom found this helpful

First of all, I would like to applaud you for trying to help your brother. Second, I think you should re-read your post and ask yourself "Why am I putting such an emphasis on how my family and I look?" I suspect you and your family are contributing to your brothers problem without realizing it. For example, how you and your sister look have nothing to do with your brother's problem. Why did you feel the need to put it in your post? Especially the part about no stretch marks? You said that you are at a normal weight for your age. You should be basing a healthy weight on how tall you are. Your brother needs professional help. Maybe you could convince him to make an appointment with his doctor. Ask if he would like you to go with. It would be a good idea to contact his doctor in advance and let him know what is going on. Hearing the truth about eating disorders from a doctor is likely to have a bigger impact on him. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

In most cases, people that tell their secrets actually secretly want help. I think that you should discuss it with your other sister first before going to your parents. Start the awareness of the illness and then, move to recognising it, not onlly for yourself, but for others close to him. Then, contact a few hospitals and start researching the multiple eating disorders and how you can seek help for him, such as support groups even for yourself and your family. I'd start slow and share the information because keeping your brother and saving his life is more important than his trust...which is fake at the moment because he may be in danger and you're hiding the problem with him. You know what they say, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." Help him...and talk to him about your concerns and wanting to get him help.

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