F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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Hi, my daughter has been struggling with an eating disorder for approximately 10 years. Over the years she has also misused alcohol, to the extent now, she is admittedly an alcoholic. Her life has spiraled recently resulting in the breakdown of her relationship, moving out of her home, a serious car accident which has impacted on her ability to work, needing to defer from university, losing friends, putting strain on her relationships with family, not to mention major health related issues. 
She is on her second admission in a detox and rehabilitation hospital unit and is due to be discharged next week. Her weight and health are not good. 
To support her I'm taking some time off so I can support her. I often wonder how much more can go wrong and where she is going with her life.
I'd appreciate any words of wisdom or shared experiences. 
D (26) diagnosed AN (BP) in 2010. After trying a multitude of treatments D is making progress, is rebuilding her life and is a source of great inspiration.
I am sorry that your D is still suffering. I get the impression looking at some of your old posts that your D may now be 26 or so? 

It must be heart breaking to watch the self destructive behaviours and lack of self care. I have no true words of advice to offer, but please as questions as they turn up. It is great that you have been able to take off some time to support her and help to keep her hopefully on a more positive track. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Initially weight restored 2012. Relapse and continuously edging towards recovery. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
I am so sorry to hear that. Substance abuse is a problem with EDs that is documented quite often.
It is great that you could take some time off work to help her. First step would be to have her monitored and get her to eat regularly and get her weight back. Once her weight is normal and her brain recovery starts it can be better time to work on the alcoholism. She needs to learn to cope with all problems in a way that is not destryoing her body and her life. Does she have a therapist when she is going to be discharged? Does she see a GP regularly? Can you ask the team there what will be needed to monitor her?

It is more difficult with young adults but in your case you d seems to be financially depended from you at the moment. If that is the case you have some power left and can set rules.

How can we help you? Do you need ideas how to get the weight on?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Really sorry to hear how challenging things are, though glad that you are able to take time off to support your d.  I truly hope that you are prioritizing your own physical and mental health, in order to help as best you can.  
Will your d be living with you, and will you be preparing all meals?  What does support for your d look like at present?  Is there professional support in place for her as well?
If your d is able to engage with peer support, Project HEAL is a good resource.
Thinking of you & sending warm support.
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou

What a heartbreak for you. I am so sorry for what you and your d have been through .
My question is, how old is she right now? With both ed and mental health problems in general, structure is needed .
There are clearly a lot of things going on for your d but right now I would be asking her what she would like to do with her life and where does she want to go? 
In order to recover from the ed she needs regular eating and weight gain, but she also needs a period of calm to rethink what she wants to do and where she wants to go. What are her strengths and interests? How can she move into a happy and full future from a self destructive life? 
Try and help her envision a future worth living all while guiding her to see that a future is not possible without physical health and letting go of an. 
She needs you to express your confidence that she can come through this.

Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
Is there any way you can help her start to rebuild her life, so she has something to focus on other than eating? My daughter (18, diagnosed at age 11) started to turn things around when she began to work on getting caught up with all the school she had missed so she could graduate on time. Over the next year she took community college courses online, since she wasn't well enough to attend school, and she did manage to graduate. This was bittersweet for her, since she knew she had missed out on a normal high school experience, but it really helped her to feel that she was starting to pull her life together. 

Tabitha Farrar had a podcast on this issue a while back. It was called "Eating disorders and substance abuse: avoiding the whack-a-mole game in treatment."
Hi.  May I suggest that you look into attending an Al-Anon group in your area.  I am suggesting this for _you_ because you will gain insight re how you can move forward with your daughter and help to keep the peace since you will be around each other quite a bit while you take time off from work to help her.  While you may not be directly addressing _her alcoholism_, you will be learning from others.  Just remember that you did not cause the alcoholism, you cannot cure it, and you cannot control it (known as the 3 C’s).