Caught 19 year old daughter throwing up after binging on junk food. Told her to go therapy but she refuse. What to do? I stopped buying all junk food.


3 Answers 3


I think your question, as worded, is too broad and will likely get closed. However, I will give my 2 cents as kindly as possible.

First, your daughter is now an adult. You cannot force her to go to therapy. And the more you try to force her, the less likely she is to be willing to go and the less likely therapy will be effective if she does unwillingly go.

One of the suspected causes of bulimia and other eating disorders is a feeling of lack of control.

Your post was only four sentences long, but in two of those four sentences, you displayed controlling behavior. I suggest that if you want to help your daughter and get her to go to therapy willingly, that you start by going to therapy yourself. And possibly family counseling as well.

  • +1 for the suggestion that OP go to therapy herself. If nothing else it sends the message that this is something that is ok, reasonable and normal. Depending on where the OP is from that might be first hurdle to clear anyway.
    – DRF
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 6:20

I would like to spread out Kevin's answer a little bit more. Yes your daughter is an adult now and forcing her to go to therapy will only make her feel like she is more right than you, and yes, you going to therapy will help as well, however I would leave her alone and let her do her own thing. She is an adult now and she will make her own decisions whether you like it or not, and she will learn the consequences, both negative and positive, of doing things, hopefully forcing her to stop doing the negative things.


Kevin's answer is great. (I don't have enough 'points' to upvote or comment.)

I would vote for family therapy, starting with the writer (because you can only control your OWN behavior. You can't make anyone else go.)

When there's a desperate problem in the family, like alcoholism, abuse, violent fighting or untreated mental illness, kids often act out, and produce a behavior that forces the parent to "DO something!".

The kid with the symptom may be the healthiest one in the family. They're making a cry for help.

Don't ignore it. When you start with the therapist, start with the bulimia, but your focus should be on "What can I do to make the family healthier?", not on "How can I make Mary stop throwing up?"

What else is going on? Congratulations for recognizing there's a problem and asking for help. That's a great start. I assume you're in the US. We have poor access to mental health.

If money is a problem for therapy, go to AL-Anon. Many family problems involve alcohol, and they do good free therapy. Many areas will have social services funded by the state. Some clergy do good therapy, though not all. Your local Federally Qualified Health Center will have a connection to therapy. Look through Employee Assistance plans too.

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