Eating Disorders

Deadly Eating
Dr. Phil talks to two young women who are battling eating disorders.
 

Amber, 19, has been anorexic and bulimic for four years. Her disorder caused her to stop menstruating and begin having heart palpitations. She admits that she feels like she's going to die because of her disorder.

"I'm hungry, but I don't want to eat, because I'm scared," says Amber.
 

"Do you want to die?" asks Dr. Phil.

"Sometimes ... there are some days I wish I could," says Amber. She says that she feels judged when she puts on weight, and she admits that she lies to her parents. "I'd rather lie than tell them the truth, because they don't understand."
 

"When I eat food, it feels wrong to me. It doesn't feel like I should be eating. I feel like the minute I do, it puts on weight ... and then if I'm heavy, I don't get the acceptance from the world that I deserve and that I want," explains Amber.
 

"As a father, you're the protector of your children, and this is something that I've not been able to do. You try consoling ... you try ignoring it," says Amber's dad.

He wakes up at night to check on her breathing and says he is terrified Amber is going to die.
 

Amber says she equates her mom's love and affection with being thin. "I hardly ever hear her say 'I love you' unless I'm really sick," says Amber.

Amber's Mom, who dieted frequently when Amber was young, says "I kind of take the tough love approach, where if she doesn't get better, that's it, she's out on her own." She also says she thinks she's created distance between herself and Amber to avoid the pain.
 

Dr. Phil helped open the dialogue between Amber and her parents so they can support each other and work as a family to beat the disorder. "Keep an open mind and be willing to listen," advises Dr. Phil.

Dr. Phil explains that letting other people help is important because Amber's own judgment is distorted right now. He also stresses the importance of honesty. "You've got to stop hiding in guilt and shame and deception," says Dr. Phil.
 

"I look in the mirror, and all I see is fat," says Crystal, who lives alone and has been hiding her eating disorder for the last eight years.

She started starving herself and purging when a friend taught her how in high school. Crystal says it used to be a competition until her friend quit. Through the years it became routine and nothing else mattered. She has lost all her friends. "It's just me and my eating disorder," she says.
 

Amber has an eating disorder kit, which contains diet pills, laxatives, water pills, and even lipstick for after she's finished throwing up.

She even made and decorated a special "purging bowl," so she can measure the amount she purges vs. the amount she eats. "Sometimes I feel like I want to starve until I disappear."
 

Crystal goes online to pro-anorexia websites so that she can talk about her disorder. They talk about purging and how to hide it from people. Crystal says that it has become her life, and she doesn't understand how to make it better. "I feel like this eating disorder will be with me until the day I die."

Dr. Phil has arranged for a specialist in her hometown to work with Crystal until she can function normally, both physically and emotionally.