Wednesday, 16 January 2013

What would have happened if...?

At least Ben is almost recovered so it's not a complete disaster that he is refusing further treatment. But imagine if I'd been the parent of a 19 year old who desperately needed help, but refused? I wonder what would have happened?

Would we still have been "discharged" like we were today? Would the assessor still have insisted that "If X doesn't want treatment then we can't force him / her to have it"? While I, the parent, sat there in fear and despair?

As we all know, eating disorder sufferers are notorious for claiming that there is nothing wrong, that they've got it all under control and don't need help.

Also, back at the start, Ben put on an Oscar-winning performance at CAMHS, convincing them that he was doing just fine when, in reality, he was disappearing down the rabbit hole like lightning.

CAMHS fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Then one day he broke down and confessed that it was all an act.

So I am so very thankful that Ben's situation isn't critical, or anywhere near critical (unless the suicide threats rear their ugly head again...).

Another parent might not have been so fortunate.

They, and their 18+ child, might have been discharged there and then.

Simply because, according to the law and many clinicians, these young people have to "want" treatment before it's given to them.


  1. Arrggghhh - those "A" words
    Anosognosia - the inability to recognise the illness because of the illness
    Alexithymia - the inability to articulate what the problem is
    Ambivalence - the inability to "choose" recovery
    WHY don't the clinical services recognise that these are very often factors in eating disorders and that if the patient could accept treatment and go along with it with no wobbles then he or she probably wouldn't need it.

    I can only speak for our own story but when my then very young adult daughter was very sick and getting sicker (very low BMI and intake but "functioning" at college and work ) I was told to "put the ball in her court" and let her choose whether to approach the (very illusive) services herself. The resultant delay in accessing treatment bl**dy nearly killed her. The ONLY advantage of this is that the GP (who has something in common with the family in that the responsibility for the patient remains whether the patient wants to "engage" or not) knows that if it happens again there will be no "nearly" about whether I kill someone!

    1. Thank you, Marcella, I can never remember those long "A" words!

      Yes, after writing the post below it suddenly struck me that we were bl**dy fortunate, all things considered.

      Of course this kind of approach just reinforces to the ED patient that they are right in insisting they don't need help and there is nothing seriously wrong.

  2. I'm a new reader of your blog - and a fellow mother of a son with anorexia ( I've thought about how different things would have been for us had my son been older at the onset of the anorexia. We're fortunate that he was so young. I'm sure we'd be telling a completely different story if we hadn't been able to insist upon treatment. I'm grateful that your son is doing well enough that this isn't completely panic-causing for you.