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22 Nov 2005

Sister with anorexia
My sister is now 32 years old, and has been anorexic since she was about 18 or 19 years old. The problem started when she had already left home, and the family has been reluctant to confront her, as she threatens to cut us off, and will refuse to communicate with us if we try to talk to her about her eating disorder. She goes through phases of not eating at all, and loses large amounts of weight, and will then start eating again (but refuses to eat cooked food or eat when anyone is watching her). She also smokes a lot, drinks large amounts of coffee (sometimes over 10 cups a day) and engages in bouts of extreme exercise. Recently she became very ill, and her doctor says that she has malabsorbtion and symptoms similar to irritable bowel syndrome. He has done numerous tests and cannot find the cause of the illness. Could it be related to the anorexia? She has lost a large amount of weight and now looks skeletal. She lives in Cape Town with her boyfriend, and the rest of the family lives in Gauteng. What can we do to help her?
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Expert
CyberShrink
cybershrink

01 Jan 0001

So your family is allowing this deeply m,isguided woman to blackmail them into allowing her to continue to damage her and to leave a major psychiatric disorder untreated ? ALL her symptoms could and probably are, due to anorexia / bulimia. PHysicians who are not experienced with the deceptiveness of anorexics are often fooled into assuming there must be some serious physical disorder to explain the symptoms. She needs to be persuaded to see a good psychiatrist, especially one with a special interest in eating disorders ( and there are several in Cape Town and Joburg ).
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