The News Herald (Willoughby, OH) - - Your Daily Break -

DEAR AMY » “Char­lotte,” my dear lady friend of many years, looks more like a string bean than a hu­man be­ing, be­cause she has been purg­ing. Char­lotte has re­cently over­come ad­dic­tions to smok­ing and al­co­hol, con­cur­rently. She has a dis­torted im­age of her fig­ure and ex­er­cises to ex­treme in or­der to main­tain that ap­pear­ance.I re­al­ize that she needs to con­vince her­self to turn the tide and take ac­tion in or­der to tackle this lat­est prob­lem, and I’ve let her know that she’s at a great risk of in­creased ill­ness, if she stays so thin.She has yet to seek pro­fes­sional ad­vice.I’m won­der­ing if it would work if I got some trusted fam­ily mem­bers and close friends to­gether in or­der

DEAR CON­CERNED » Ac­cord­ing to a pa­per pub­lished by the Na­tional In­sti­tute on Al­co­hol Abuse and Al­co­holism (ni­aaa.nih. gov), many stud­ies show that al­co­holism and eat­ing dis­or­ders fre­quently “cooc­cur,” but as yet, no de­fin­i­tive link be­tween the two ad­dic­tive dis­or­ders has been iden­ti­fied. All of this is to say that your friend’s other ad­dic­tions are likely re­lated to her cur­rent bu­limia, that this is com­pli­cated and that she needs pro­fes­sional help to deal with her un­der­ly­ing is­sues be­fore she can get healthy. In­ter­ven­tions — by fam­ily and friends — seem easy. You just get to­gether and go around the ta­ble and tell the af­fected party that you are wor­ried about her and that you want her to get help. And then the sub­ject of the in­ter­ven­tion rages, or cries or sits sul­lenly, or tells you all to go to hell, leaves the ta­ble and stops com­mu­ni­cat­ing with you be­cause, even though your in­ten­tions were great and you were all gen­tle and lov­ing, she feels at­tacked and mis­un­der­stood. If this hap­pens, then “Char­lotte” will be without the thing she needs the most, which is con­tact with loyal and lov­ing friends. This is why in­ter­ven­tions are best led by pro­fes­sion­als. A ther­a­pist or other spe­cial­ist can de­liver con­struc­tive and con­crete ideas, as well as the in­spi­ra­tion and in­cen­tive to be­gin treat­ment. By all means, share your con­cerns with your friend: “You’ve been through so much lately. I’m wor­ried be­cause you’ve got­ten so thin. Are you see­ing a ther­a­pist?” Of­fer to help her find one. And also con­tinue to ac­cept her as she is. She has a se­ri­ous ill­ness.The Na­tional Eat­ing Dis­or­ders As­so­ci­a­tion of­fers a “find treat­ment” tool (na­tionaleat­ingdis­or­ders. org), as well as a helpline that she (or you) could call: (800) 931-2237.

DEAR AMY » I won­der if other read­ers were shocked by the ques­tion from “Still Shocked,” whose mother had car­ried on a long­time af­fair with the fam­ily’s high school for­eign ex­change stu­dent. I don’t know if I could re­cover from that knowl­edge.

— Also Shocked

DEAR ALSO » I agree. Mom wanted to sweep this af­fair un­der the rug, but I agree that it was ob­vi­ously wrong in so many ways, and she should an­swer for it.

Con­tact Amy Dick­in­son via email at [email protected] amy­dick­in­

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