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Teen Unsure of What to Do to Help Her Bulimic Friend

DEAR ABBY: I am a 16-year-old girl. Each day at lunch, my friend, "Lily," runs to the bathroom right after she eats. I'm pretty sure she's throwing up. Lily's other friends agree with me, because one of them heard puking noises coming from a bathroom stall Lily went into.

I don't know what the word is for making yourself throw up, but I do know it can ruin your health and could even kill you. My sister says that Lily needs to understand her behavior is dangerous to her health, but I'm afraid she'll feel betrayed if I tell. What should I do? -- ANONYMOUS IN SANTA ROSA, CALIF.

DEAR ANONYMOUS: Lily is fortunate to have such a caring friend as you. The name for her problem is bulimia, and you are correct that it is very serious. Once people get into the habit of vomiting their food after eating, it may take professional intervention and therapy to stop.

I urge you to tell a trusted teacher or counselor at school what you have written to me. Lily's parents must be told that she has a serious problem. Her health and possibly her life could depend upon it. You should also tell your mother. I'm sure she'll be proud she has such an intelligent and proactive daughter.

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