Ask an expert

19 Dec 2002

Child stopped eating - help!
My Daughter of 9 stopped eating suddenly after she experienced a choking sensation whilst eating her cereal. It happend twice after that and then she stopped eating completely. She did drink cooldrink etc but refused any kind of food, sweet or fruit. I took her to 2 Doctors for a check up. They couldn't find anything wrong. This carried on for 5 days and then my Husband sat with her at the table until she finished her food. He threathened her that she would not get up from the table until she finished everything. It took nearly an hour to get her to eat. It has been 5 days since then and she is still not eating properly. We have to threaten her all the time and it can take up to 2 hours for her to finish her food. I have noticed that she puts food in her mouth and the hold it there for quite a while. We have tried to re-assure her and even tried rewarding her when she eats but the only thing that seems to work a little is to force her to sit at the table until she finishes. What should we do?
Answer 420 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Gina
Take your daughter to see a clinical psychologist ASAP. She is manifesting signs of anorexia which may be due to the bad experience she had with the cereal, but it could also be a sign of underlying psychological problems. Please don't threaten her as this may make things worse. Get professional help as soon as you can before she develops into a full-blown anorexic. I know this is most distressing, but she needs professional help which none of you can give her. She may well be doing this out of fear, anxiety, depression, etc, so get help fast. If you live in the Cape Town area phone (021) 797-1400 (Kenilworth Clinic), in Gauteng phone (011) 489-1111 (Netcare), or in KwaZuluNatal phone (033) 701-1911 (Riverview) - all these centres are expert clinics to deal with Eating Disorders which is what your child is probably suffering from.
Take great care
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
34% - 9270 votes
66% - 17922 votes