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I have a close friend who I think may be facing anorexia, but she will not eat much for a few days, and then binge for a day, maybe two, without purging, then restrict her eating again. Is this normal?


Hi: I can understand why you


I can understand why you are concerned for your friend. Although it's hard to say exactly what is going on for your friend right now, her eating patterns do not appear to be normal. Our bodies do not cope well with starving and binging. This causes fluctuations in blood sugar which can result in us feeling tired and irritable; not a fun combination!

The only way to diagnose an eating disorder is through a medical doctor. However, you can play a big role in supporting your friend and encouraging her to seek some help.

There is an eating disorder called non-purging bulimia in which a person uses a combination of binging and starving to control their weight. People with non-purging bulimia suffer from the same feelings of shame and guilt as bulimics, and also struggle with poor self-esteem and unrealistic expectations about their natural weight. Left untreated, non-purging bulimia is a serious condition.

Your friend is fortunate to have you. Let her know that you are concerned about her, and offer her gentle support and encouragement regarding getting some professional help. Keeping the lines of communication open is most important. Through all of this don't forget to take care of yourself as well!