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Eating Disorders

What could be wrong with my friend?

04/02/2009

Question:

My overweight friend stopped eating mid-january and since then has only eaten once every week and lives on green beans and she lost 53 pounds in 7 weeks from this. What could be wrong with her?

Answer:

Many things could contribute to this, all of which should be monitored by a physician. To lose that much weight that quickly can be very detrimental to one's body and mind. The mind can alter from such severe starvation and begin to develop severe obsessive fears of food, preventing the body from being able to eat. Weight loss this quickly can contribute to various organs in the body to begin to lose function.

I strongly encourage you to recommend to your friend that he/she have a physical with labs to assure he/she is medically stable. If he/she is, then encourage your friend to visit a high-quality weight loss clinic such as at OSU to assure the weight loss occurs without physical or mental harm to him/herself.

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Response by:

Laura  L Hill, PhD Laura L Hill, PhD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University