Thursday 19 January 2012

CAMHS sessions going from strength to strength...

... Just as we are about to lose our psychiatrist who is on maternity leave from March... So we have a heck of a lot of loose ends to tie up before then. This morning, in response to Ben's remark that - although he was well aware that his "mind was screwed up" at the height of the anorexia - he wasn't entirely convinced his body was in danger. The psychiatrist immediately put him right about that...

Although it's far easier to pinpoint when girls may be starting to damage their bodies through lack of nutrition, because their periods stop, it's not so easy with boys. However she pointed out to Ben that, with him, there were other factors which were shouting loud and clear that all was not right with his body.

He was terribly thin and underweight, for a start. Twice he developed a dangerously low pulse rate (29bpm) and was admitted to the local cardio unit for observation. His blood pressure was also very low. She explained why, with anorexics, both of these can be indications that the heart as a muscle is suffering and, in some cases, it can kill.

"This is why I took it so very seriously when you were admitted for the second time," she said, referring to the time in October 2010 when she came down on Ben like a tonne of bricks and threatened him with possible hospital admission if his weight dropped any further. "Basically your body had begun to 'eat itself'". Other internal organs can be suffering, too.

As a result of this 'kick up the you-know-what' in October 2010 Ben turned a corner and started on the long road to recovery.

She explained how there can be long term effects of anorexia like osteoporosis and how there can be early indications that all is not right with someone's bones; she's already had patients who suffer more broken bones than most. Girls can go on to have fertility problems, and so on...

In other words the anorexia certainly was damaging Ben physically as well as mentally.

He seemed happy with this explanation, so he wasn't overly bothered that he had put on another 0.5kg after reaching what he considered to be his optimum weight last time.

But, thankfully, she never brought up the Weight Restored subject. At our private meeting last Friday I'd asked her not to do this for obvious reasons.

Anyway, at the next session we're going to be looking at Ben's perception of the way he looked before and during the anorexia - and now - using my photo timeline.

It will be interesting to see what he has to say about that.

Well I know what he will say about that. He will say that, back in 2008, he used to play Rugby and umpteen other sports seven days a week and so that's why he had an athletic body like that.

Now, according to him, he just "sits around most days doing nothing".



  1. hey
    I was just wondering, with ben during his recivery has he ever been taking any supplements such as ensure plus, resource, benecalorie etc? And what have his portion sizes been like for meals? Has he ever been eating large portions e.g large portions of meat, large plates full at dinner etc?

  2. Have you thought about sending Ben for a DXA (bone density) scan? It may be worth doing.. Hopefully his bone density won't be too low, but it's worth getting this checked out...


  3. Hey Batty,
    First, I love you and you're my hero! I want to let you know that I concur with you about the obvious 'girl signs' vs the not so obvious 'boy signs', if you will. When things were bad with Vale, he was constantly dizzy, had headaches, was wearied by the day by 11:00 AM and had very low energy. He couldn't play, do his chores, keep up with school, think clearly etc. It troubled him greatly to see his 10 year old brother shoveling the neighbor's walk (which was Vale's paying job) and Vale could not do it. He simply didn't have the energy.

    It's so wonderful to see Vale outside running about with his brothers. Amazing what a little food can do.

    1. Indeed it is wonderful what food can do, Vale's Mom! :)