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I'm worried about a friend. She is in her 20s and is suffering from a lot of stress at work. She's 8 stone down from 10. She isn't trying to lose weight, but feels upset when presented with food. Is this an eating disorder? What can we do?


Hi: It's not possible to say


It's not possible to say whether or not your friend has an eating disorder based on weight alone. Your friend's weight loss from 10 stone (140 lbs) to 8 stone (112 lbs) is considerable, although you don't mention how long it took her to lose this weight.

A number of factors can contribute to a person having difficulties with issues around food. As you say, your friend is suffering from stress at work which can certainly create a lot of psychological and emotional strain. Without healthy strategies to process this stress (such as exercise, meditation, talking to a counselor, etc.)a person may reach out for less healthy coping mechanisms including controling their food intake in order to manage their level of stress.

You mention that your friend is not trying to reduce her weight. It might be helpful for her to see her family doctor in order to rule out any physical problems which could be causing her to lose weight.

Your friend is fortunate to have a concerned friend who cares about her. The best way to reach out to her right now is to be there for her, and to offer support and a listening ear. Don't forget to look after yourself as well!

Wishing you well.