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Annie’s Mailbox: Wanting to help anorexic in-law

Dear Annie: My mother-in-law has always had issues with her self-image and is borderline anorexic. Recently, Mom had surgery. As a result, she lost weight and has been unable to gain it back. She also suffers from depression, for which she takes medication.

Recently, her mind has been slipping more and more, and she seems disorganized in her thinking. My husband brought this to her attention, and she says her anorexia is making it difficult for her to eat enough to gain back the weight, and she has no idea what else could be wrong. We asked her to talk to her doctor. I believe her poor eating habits are interfering with her ability to function normally.

I am upset and frustrated because I want to help her. My husband, on the other hand, has dealt with this for most of his life and says the best he can do is bring it to her attention. He feels what she does with the information is up to her. Is there something more I could do? If not, how do I get past the frustration? – Concerned in New York

Dear N.Y.: Mom’s confusion could be linked to any number of things, including post-operative complications and various medications, as well as long-term anorexia. She should not be self-diagnosing. You cannot force her to take better care of herself, but please urge her to talk to her doctor about her confusion, and offer to go with her if you think it will help.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.