I Am Worried That My 18 Year Old Daughter Is Anorexic.

Updated on December 15, 2010
A.F. asks from Ottawa, KS
16 answers

My daughter has skipped meals all through high school. She claims she is not hungry. Last year she passed out a couple of times and then found out that she was pregnant. She was a size 2 before pregnancy and gained 60 pounds while pregnant because we made her eat right through her pregnancy and she stopped smoking during that time too. Her baby is 6 months old now and she is a size 0 now. She has started smoking again, this is not allowed around her baby or in the house or cars. She is back to only eatting when she is "hungry" (probably once a day) She is always tired also. We think she is anorexic but what can we do about it? She starts college in the fall and will live at home, her boyfriend is in the military so he isn't be close by. I try to help as much as possible to make up for the fact that he can't be there to help with the baby.

My daughter is being treated for post pardum depression also. Right now her boyfriend is visiting and helping with the baby and let me know that he is also worried about her not eatting. His leave ends in 2 weeks and will go back over seas(not a war zone, thank God). I would worry about depression if it wasn't for the fact that this is how she ate before the pregnancy also.

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answers from Honolulu on

Could she possibly be depressed? Maybe she was before and, still.... and it was unrecognized.
This also causes lack of appetite....
But as you said, she has a 'history' of skipping meals...
Her overall well-being/health... is not on par.... and its good her BF also recognizes that... and is cognizant/caring enough.

Take her to the Doctor.
She needs to see a Doctor... Anorexia or not.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Los Angeles on

Anorexia is an extremely difficult problem to address and treat- usually has more to do with control issues than anything else. I recommend a counselor/therapist even though it is expensive. Your doctor may be able to recommend someone.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

If it were my daughter I would try to have a non-critical, judgemental, scrutinizing or nagging conversation about how I felt and what I have noticed. I would not acuse her off the bat of being anorexic or even mention the word but try to ask some questions to pry deeper into what is going on in her head.
My sister is a little like this; she was tiny before her two kids and now that she done having kids she is back to teeny tiny, not eating, and smoking. When I ask her about it she gets defensive and assures me eats at night which is about her only meal all day. I worry about her but it is a very sensitive subject.
There may be a deeper issue going on with your daughter especially when you factor in that she was pregnant at a very young age, out of wedlock, and is involved with a boy who is now in the military. A LOT TO DEAL WITH AT THAT AGE. There could be some depression or emotional underlying issue as well that is leading to the desire to not want to eat. Unfortunately you won't know until you ask.
I have managed to have some heart to hearts with my sister where she has broken down into tears and confided in me that being a stay at home mom is driving her crazy and she feels lost and that she is lacking her identity and drive etc. and that sounded like depression to me and her not wanting to eat or only eating what her kids do not sounds like some sub-serviant thing she has in her mind that she is not worth it or good enough.
All I can do is talk to her and go out to eat with her or invite her over to eat where I know she does. Unfortunatley she will have to have the epiphany in order to change.
Depending on what you find out from your daughter, a therapist, nutritionist, or doctor intervention may in order to make sure she is healthy and okay. I feel for you as this is a horrible subject to have to deal with and hope you can find some answers through talking to her.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

I don't know if this will help you A. or not, but all through high school and even up until I had my son (24yrs old) I was anorexic. I was 5'7" and barely weighed 102 lbs. I only ate a few bites in the morning, a couple of bits at lunch and I hate an afterschool job so I could get away at eating. I hide my for years and the only person who saw it was my mother. Unfortunately for us she wasn't concerned but cause most of the women in our family are REALLY thin. But I had hollowed out eyes, my skin was paler than normal (im very pale) I had no energy (I did not smoke) I wasn't depressed I had lots of friends and I had a LOT more reasons of why ppl didn't see me eating (work, school, hanging out with friends and parents worked alot). I barely gained 23lbs with my son and it came down to the doctor telling me to either eat on my own or be put on a feeding tube..

I don't know your daughter and I haven't seen what she looks like, but from the sounds of it, you are correct to be concerned. She needs help and quickly I just lost my best friends in from high school (also anorexic). She had a heart attack cause by complications from labor. She is the only reason I went and got help..I didn't want to end up like her. And now her baby girl doesn't have her mother or her father (he was killed in iraq, 4 months before she was born)!

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answers from Phoenix on

My daughter was younger when she wouldn't eat. She saw herself as fat even though she was losing weight. We talked to her over and over about the dangers of not eating, encouraged and loved on her, made her eat and grounded her when she gave us a hard time about eating... We were going to put her into counseling but it cleared up. This happened two years ago for about 2 months. She is totally fine now. She is active and happy and confident. She is younger and doesn't have the stress that your daughter has but it's scary no matter how old your child is. Good luck to you!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sioux Falls on

If you are concerned, go with her to her next doctor's appt and discuss it. Bring it out in the open, and deal with it. An acquaintance of mine just lost her 16 year old daughter to a heart attack, caused by anorexia. She was in therapy and beginning to eat, but still exercised regularly and died while jogging. Please check it out and try to get her help. Nobody should have to go through that pain.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boise on

There are actually physical reasons why people do not eat. Some may say it's a control issue, but I have seen infants and very young children with this problem! So that proves that it is, at least in some individuals- a physiological issue. Prescription or street drugs can cause it, and many times it is caused by a nutritional deficiency. Toxins can cause it as well.

I have been studying nutrition and the effects of malnutrition on the body for 10 years. These more common deficiencies come to mind:

Vit A: Low vitamin A will cause a lack of appetite. Children NEED to eat animal fat to get their A because they cannot make the conversion from beta carotene. So children with an aversion to animal protiens could have a vitamin A deficiency. Protien, fat, and zinc are required for vitamin A binding...again protien is an important key. I see children who have very high grain diets tend to have aversions to protiens, and aversion to eating in general. So a key for these children is to try to cut down all those grains.
Protien deficiency leads to vit a deficiency/anorexia.
Chronic fatigue can be a symptom of thyroid malfunction, and the thyroid requires more vit A than any other organ.

B vitamin (Thiamine, B9, B1(benfotiamine) ,b12) deficiency causes anorexia, and fatigue. B vit deficiency is VERY common. Liquid b complex drops under the tounge (to help with absorption) daily will help. Vit E is needed to convert b12 to it's active form. So eat someting high in vit E (raw red palm oil is very high) or take some E with it .

Iron deficiency can cause anemia, which will cause chronic fatigue, and it will also causes anorexia/ loss of appetite. Iron is a heavy metal which does not leave tissue easily, therefore overdose/iron poisoning can easily occur in those taking supplements. People should not take Iron without a doctor doing a blood test and showing a clear deficiency.

Magnesium deficiency is a leading factor in depression. Anorexics can have very very low magnesium, and magnesium is needed for heart function. When magnesium is low, it means that blood calcium is high, and that causes low appetite. Magnesium is also crucial for metal detox. Magnesium is one of those minerals that probably MOST people are very deficient in.

Hypervitaminosis D (overdose of vit D from supplements) causes anorexia.

Zinc deficicency can cause loss of taste,smell and appetite and can help anorexia. Zinc is needed for Vit A uptake.

Heavy metal poisoning can cause anorexia and depression. Aluminum is one that I remember. NCD zeolite is a chelator of metals.

Strep bacterial overgrowth can cause anorexia.

I would , no matter what, start giving her fulvic acid. She is likely to have several trace mineral deficiencies at once. Fulvics typically has 60+ trace minerals . It is a quick drink of a rather tasteless liquid but it feeds down to
the cellular level. Giving at the same time as other vitamins will help them get absorbed. I would avoid muti vitamins because some of the ingredients can cause further defciencies. Vit B, and magnesium are very
safe and are basics.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albany on

I hope you can talk to her about your worries in a loving way. The things you describe do not nessecarily mean anorexia. My sister passed out a number of times in her first trimester as well, she was not a thin, but she WAS only 18 at the time. You say she is always tired but what new mom isn't? Especially considering the extra stress of being a teenage mom, school, going to college, baby's Dad not always there to help, in the military...jeez, the poor kid has a LOT on her plate. You say you 'made' her eat while pregnant, but Mom, no one can MAKE another person eat except through intrvenious...also she quit smoking while pregnant, both really good mature choices...clearly she is mentallt healthy enough to want her baby to be healthy as well...is she still covered by health insurance, will she agree to go to a consult? Talk to her, be on her side, try to get her into food a little more by watching cooking shows, planning menus, cooking together...suggest a supplement...it's ok for her to be thin as long as she's healthy!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fresno on

Depression can account for a lack of appetite as well as fatigue. Even if it's a combination of depression AND anorexia, it seems like she'll have a better shot at fighting the anorexia once she is no longer depressed. What does her doctor think?



answers from St. Louis on

I would not be too quick to jump to that conclusion until you speak with your daughter. Sometimes the anxiety of motherhood can speed up your metabolism. I was a size 2 before I became pregnant with my son. He is now almost 3 years old and I have been a size 0 since he was less than 6 months old. I do not diet and I do not work out very often. I do constantly worry about my son though and he has me constantly on my toes. She may be the same way. Talk to her.



answers from Providence on

talk to her
best thing

~~M. K~~



answers from Cleveland on

when i was on medication i wasnt hungry at all, but my meds caused it, i would talk to her and make her eat three meals a day, or atleast try to



answers from Houston on

I know not everyone needs it, but, all the folks I've known who were anorexic could only be fixed by being admitted into one of those special homes for anorexia. They monitor them 24/7 there, as well as council them for depression, (which is usually the underlying reason for anorexia. Eating is something they can "control" on their own.)

I do hope that she gets better. That is a lot at her young age to be going through. But, her baby needs her momma to get a grip on whatever it is that is the root of all of this so that she will be there. I WOULD recommend her not going to college until she is in a good state of mine. That would be the worst thing for her to do right now. That will just be more added pressure to her on top of what she is already going through. (Going to class, studying, tests, etc.)

Good luck. :) She is lucky to have a mom who loves her and cares so much about her well-being.


answers from Kansas City on

I can tell you how sad it is to watch a friend slowly die with anorexia. It takes time, the body loses fat, they are tired, sometimes other things are involved like drugs and then the hair falls out and teeth get bad and it's just a slow death. I get so upset with TV, magazines, everywhere taking about how we should all look. Who says we should all be thin, skinny and have dark skin causing cancer? Who sets these standards? I hope you can get help for your daughter if she is anorexic but from my experience they usually deny it.



answers from Topeka on

I agree with the recommendation for treatment specific to anorexia. My sister is a psychiatric nurse and we have talked about this problem many times. The only effective programs with long-lasting success seem to be inpatient programs, where food intake is monitored and there is a lot of group and individual counseling. Good luck with this - and don't wait too long.



answers from Kansas City on

if she's not eating much, she could be anemic, which might be why she's so tired all the time. if that helps.

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