Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

Family strained by eating disorder

Fiona Caine is here to help if you have a relationship, sexual, marriage or family problem.

Published 18/07/2012

I am very worried about my sister, who is a devoted mother, and her daughter, who is trying to overcome anorexia and bulimia.

It has been a heart-wrenching time for all the family and as I live several miles away, I don’t get to see them often, although we speak on the phone regularly.

My niece is 29 and a teacher. She’s very bright but is consumed with this illness that took hold following a diet that got out of control.

Her employers have been supportive and she is under the care of her GP and a psychiatrist. She’s been ill for about four years now and my sister is near breaking point.

What else can she explore to help her daughter and how can I help? JA


It’s desperately hard to live with someone who has a condition like this.

Has your sister been in touch with Beat (, the eating disorders charity? It has a carers’ forum and support groups that she could become involved with — their helpline, tel: 0845 631 1414, will point her in the right direction.

Like alcoholism, this is an illness where the person affected has to want to be helped.

Your niece probably believes herself to be coping as she is holding down a very responsible job, so all your sister can do is be supportive until she is ready.

As for your role, your sister needs support — someone she can turn to who understands what she is going through.

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