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Arundhati, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed psychotherapist, Published Wellness Author
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My niece is 16 years old. I saw her in September 2010 in Florida.

Customer Question

My niece is 16 years old. I saw her in September 2010 in Florida. She was with her family. I had not seen her since she was 12. She was fine when she was 12, very healthy looking and she seemed happy. That was in 2006. This September, 2010, however, she was extremely thin. She is the oldest of four children and the younger siblings are all boys, two years apart. Her parents are educators. Her father is an elementary school principal and her mother teaches sixth grade. Her mother is getting ready to study for a Ph.D. in education and counseling. My anorexic niece, Alison, weighs about 104 and is 5'8". She is not menstruating and has been diagnosed with bone loss. She has been officially diagnosed anorexic. She has been in inpatient once. Her parents took her out early, apparently complications with insurance or some lame excuse like that. As I said earlier I saw them for the first time in four years. We were talking in the kitchen while Alison was making herself an elaborate meal of about 200 calories. She counts her calories diligently, exercises and obsesses over food. Her parents do not get along. About four years ago my sister said she was leaving her husband. Hum, any connection between that and her daughter developing an eating disorder. In the kitchen as Alison was voraciously eating her paltry meal she started telling me how much she hates her father. She became very agitated and started crying. Neither of her parents got up to comfort her. She said aunt Deborah I am dying and I cannot help myself. Dear God, I was so shaken. It is obvious to me this fight is between the parents. The more Alison went on the more her parents closed themselves off. I live in Seattle with my husband of 32 years. We have one grown daughter no longer living at home. I want to "SAVE" my niece. I can cook for her, eat with her, make her food her medicine. I know, however, I cannot save my niece. My husband and I asked my sister to send Alison here to Seattle to enter a program their insurance would pay for. The parents have a much to contentious relationship and will not seek family counseling. My sister threatens Alison that if she doesn't eat she will put her inpatient?? What's that about. In fact, the school had to tell the parents their daughter was not eating. They had not noticed. So here we are. What can the aunt and uncle do when we live in Seattle and they live in Georgia. Alison doesn't know us very well and my sister said she would not send her here anyway. I told my sister I may call the school Alison attends. Of course you can imagine her response. I have a mother who is a diagnosed bulimic who has abused laxatives her whole life, now 78 years old, having had three mitral valve replacements and still using laxatives while in heart failure. My father was alcoholic and my younger brother who is 53 and a lawyer is also an alcoholic treated once inpatient, still in denial. I have not been diagnosed with any of the above and was an army wife for 25 years. We have lived many places never close to family. We are stabe and have lived in one location now for 13 1/2 years. I love them all, but I think Alison is young enough to be helped. Both my husband and I have no illusions about how serious this eating disorder is and want to help constructively. Any suggestions would be so much appreciated. Thank you so much. Deborah Abington
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Walt-mod replied 5 years ago.
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Expert:  Arundhati replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for writing in to Just Answer. I believe I have already posted an answer to this question.

Please let me know if you have questions or clarifications from what I answered.

Thank you,


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