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

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If it's too good to be true, it usually is....

My daughter appeared to turn things around drastically since Christmas.  She is weight restored and generally happier, no more rages or food refusal.

I always felt it was to good to be true, how can she recover so quickly?  Recently, I started suspecting she may be purging again, or maybe she never stopped, I just don't know.  She is maintaining her weight because we strictly monitor most meals, however, I think she may be binging/purging in the evenings or when we are not around. She goes out with friends a lot, so I suspect she may be purging in public bathrooms as well.  How do I stop this behaviour?  I confronted her and told her that I am not mad and just want to support her through this.  She admitted she had done it, but not often.  I think it's more often than she is admitting to.   She does it in the main powder room, right outside the family room while I'm there  and I can't hear her, but then I see the evidence, spots she has missed.  How can she do it so quickly and silently?  Is it even possible to purge with no noise at all?  I just don't know what to do.  Do I take the locks off all the doors?  I can't possible be with her 24/7.  I feel so defeated and tired.  We are in outpatient FBT, but she has been telling the therapist and psychiatrist that she hasn't purged in months.  I'm so afraid this is out of control.  I just feel that I can't help her enough.  I'm not sure she would qualify for inpatient, however if this is an option, would it help?  We're willing to do anything.

I should mention that she is on 30 mg of Prozac, but now I wondering how effective it is if she is purging?  I just started giving it to her early in the morning while she is sleeping, that way she has it in her system well before breakfast.  She takes the medicine and then goes back to sleep for an hour before it's time to get ready for school.
If you think it's ED, it's ED.

Our D is BN so we know this game.  Is your D over 18?  

In our house, our D (15 yrs) is not allowed to go anywhere with the door shut--especially the bathroom door.  We don't even let her hang out in a room by herself.  We stand outside the door and continually make her talk/check in out loud until she comes out.  She is not allowed to go to the bathroom or shower at least 1 hour after eating anything (showers are best before mealtime).  We inspect the toilets after she goes and smell around the toilet lid and seat.  You can smell the purge very easily.  Remove any type of cleaner from the bathroom.  Many parents on this forum have removed doors completely from inside their homes.

For food, we prepare everything for her.  She gets choices, but we are the only ones in the kitchen and she is not allowed to go into the pantry or refrigerator alone.

She sleeps with mom so she is never left alone.

As far as going out with friends and purging in public bathrooms, we have not experienced that as our D is not in school and really doesn't have friends around here.  For the limited times she has been out since coming home from RES, she is only allowed to go out at non meal times.  Can you be straight with her friends (or their parents) and set some rules?

Our D is on 60 mg of Prozac and 10mg of Abilify but these meds are not for BN.  The meds are for co-morbids like depression and anxiety and they might be working.  If there were meds proven to stop an eating disorder, we would be taking them!!

This may seem like a prison to you (it is to our daughter) but it is necessary to keep her safe from ED until her brain recovers and she is far away from the need to binge/purge.  How long will this be?  Who knows.


My daughter is 18 so it is difficult to monitor 24/7.  The prozac has helped her moods immensely, but obviously has not helped the urge to purge.

This is so frustrating, we've put so many measures in place, yet ED still finds ways of sneaking in.  We have the one hour rule, and sometimes it's two hours after meals.  She does comply and has been good about the rule.  However, I believe she is binging/purging between meals.  I started suspecting when boxes of cookies would go missing and my grocery bill went through the roof!  It amazes me how sneaky ED could be.  If I wasn't so aware of the eating disorder, it would be very easy to not notice.  

I've asked to her to leave the door slightly ajar when she uses the washroom, but she doesn't always do it.   I'm thinking of taking the locks off,  it feels so drastic, but I guess we have to go to drastic measures to help our children.

As far as going out with her friends, we allow it as long as she follows the one hour rule and eats all her meals.  I hate to stop her from going out, as she just recently starting seeing friends again, before Christmas she was depressed and isolated herself in her room all the time.  So it's nice to see her socializing again.
Purging is a tough ed behavior that takes extreme vigilance to break. When diagnosed d purged A LOT. After she came out of the hospital for stabilization we had the rule that the door had to be open. We didn't close all of the loophole and so she was able to purge some. When we found out we closed the loophole and prevented the purging. We locked bathroom doors, the locks we have have a key thingy that you can use to open it. It was a real pain for the rest if us trying to find a key when we needed it. We provided lots of after meal time distraction. She ended up announcing when she was going to the bathroom so we knew. Mornings before school were like a marathon for h and I because one of us would have to monitor the bathroom while the other one got ready. It was very hard but it was hell and we just kept going!
You can do this.
Close those loophole for your girl and try to take a rest when you can. Hugs and strength.
Slow and steady
Hi Disneymom, my daughter is 18 too and we have been fighting purging for 2 years now.  We have been able to stop the behavior completely a couple of times but only through complete "lockdown"  and monitoring her 24/7.  However, it seems that once we let go a little and she gets back into real life the purging begins again.  So.....I can completely relate to what you are going through.  Last week she had her blood drawn and her potassium was low from purging - it was another wake up call for her and me.  I knew she was struggling some but had no idea it was so often.  Does your D have her blood checked?  My D wants to begin having her blood checked every week as an incentive to stop purging.  She told me she needs to be held accoutable and cannot be trusted completely on her own.  Here are some things we are doing (thought it might help to share with you)

monitoring her eating to make sure she is getting three meals and two snacks (so she doesn't get hungry enough to trigger a binge)
No flushing toilets or running water in the bathroom
No showers after meals
No sleepovers for now
She gives me her cash from work and I give her what she needs for the night and she has to show me a receipt on how it was spent
Not leaving her alone for long periods of time (this is hard!)

She is also in counseling two times a week to help with anxiety

It is really hard with an 18 year old....a constant battle....

Good luck

Thank you Bernadette for sharing your strategies.  I am going to have to get tighter with the rules and as previously mentioned by others, close all the loopholes.  I never I imagined this is how my life was going to be.  This is so hard, especially when you hold down a full time job.  My daughter stays up very late, midnight watch is tough.

D sees a nurse regularly, I will ask for frequent blood work.

DMom, it is so so so hard. 
Please remember yourself in it all, lack of sleep isn't a great start. I know as parents we do what we need to do. Please do ask for help when you need it.

This might sound stupid, but I wrote "You are amazing" on the inside of the toilet lid.  You need all the other supervisions, but I did find that made D stop and think
I know teens generally prefer staying up later than the rest of us "grown-ups" (sorry, I'm only 32 and thus I'm sure many of you moms are laughing at me calling myself a grown-up...), but getting your daughter to sleep earlier might have a very beneficial effect on her mood and eating patterns. Staying up too late can disrupt your biological cycle, and cause increased irritability and food cravings. Of course, ED stuff causes sleep difficulties, so in people with binge eating and purging issues, it can create a vicious cycle.

Perhaps some relaxation before bed, melatonin supplements or something could help your daughter settle down to sleep better (and earlier!) that will help both her and you.
Carrie Arnold Blogger and author at http://www.edbites.com
Disneymom - sending you the best thoughts I can.  No great advice from me but just know none of us thought our lives would become this but it's not permanent.  It will get better as you close the loopholes.

Onemoremum - that made me tear up.  Obviously, you're amazing, too. 

We are all AMAZING.
DisneyMom, I also have an 18 year old.  Last night she binged/purged for the first time in many, many months, so this is (thankfully) not an ongoing occurrence for us, but it is something that we thought we were finally done with.  We try not to ever leave D at night, the most likely time for binging/purging and have been doing that forever it seems.  We go out when we know she is out, but, otherwise, we are home with her.  Last night, my 3rd grader had a school event and H is traveling - I left for an hour and BAM!!!  ED came out with a vengeance.  I don't get it and I'm sad for her and can't imagine what triggered it to begin with, but it happened.

Our T (not the FBT, but the T that helps H and me) says not to be held hostage by ED - we have an appointment with her tomorrow night and now we are worried about being out of the house and having this happen again (although I think D is disgusted with herself, her face is splotchy, she is worn out), so I hear you on "babysitting" an 18 yo.  That being said, I do think that D is either hungry or craving foods that she deprives herself of.  Her binges are on things like bananas and bread - she wants to feel fuller and she won't allow herself to eat anything "extra" so it comes out in a binge when she just can't hold back anymore.

You have good advice here on tips to prevent, but I'm just looking at what may be the cause?
Mom to D 21 in November, behaviors started at 15, hospitalized at 16, IP at 17, FBT at almost 18. Finished second year in college; now abroad in treatment program to deal with co-morbids.
Onemoremum_UK wrote:
This might sound stupid, but I wrote "You are amazing" on the inside of the toilet lid.  You need all the other supervisions, but I did find that made D stop and think

What a good idea - thanks for sharing.
I'm just an outside party here. My girlfriend is the one with an ED. she is Bulimic and has been for 5 years.. I've tried so many things on my own and all I can do is encourage since I don't live with her but I can't get her parents involved anymore than just fighting with her about it and they've known the whole time.. I want to help her.. She is starting and Intensive OutPatient therapy soon that if it doesn't work will be stepped up to inpatient.. that's all her parents have done to help with this.. what can I do?
My daughter is 20 and when I found out she had ED about 6 months ago she was purging daily - could have been several times a day.  I found evidence she was purging about a month ago.  She lies about so much.  She is in college.  I have set a contract with her for twice monthly potassium and weight levels and weekly therapy and an appointment with a nutritionist.  I want to set some boundaries that if she won't comply and help herself I want to discontinue the thousands of dollars per year for tuition, etc.  I feel powerless and I've offered financial help and other support.  I want "her" back but I feel my options are quite limited.