Friday 15 January 2016

Why is Leeds swapping the old treatment models for FBT? I can't wait to find out!

I'm meeting with the psychiatrist guy from Leeds NHS a week on Wednesday and I can't wait to find out what prompted Leeds to make the changes and move from multi-disciplinary CAMHS treatment for teenage eating disorders to a specialist eating disorders service for adolescents - and to adopt the evidence-based FBT (Family Based Therapy / Treatment) instead of the methods they were using when my son, Ben, was sick with anorexia.

Just think... All those months when I was pushing for FBT-style treatment as I read up about it on the FEAST website and the Around the Dinner Table forum, but felt as if I was banging my head against a brick wall as Ben was whisked off for yet another individual therapy session with his psychiatrist.

All those months when I was pushing for weight gain, the balanced diet and weight restoration while they were pushing for the "talking treatment", feeling that Ben's illness wasn't that serious. I remember the day that one of them said, "It's not as if he's going to drop down dead tomorrow". And meanwhile Ben's weight went down and down.

All those months when I was trying to convince them that Ben had lost a tremendous amount of weight. After all, he'd been a big rugby player, so it wasn't surprising that his BMI was still "okay". Unfortunately they took this to mean that Ben was pretty much OK, too. And of course Ben took this to mean that he didn't need to eat more or put on any weight. Worse, that he'd been right in thinking that his pre-eating disorder physique was "fat".

I'm not saying that none of this would have happened if we'd had access to FBT. I'm not saying that FBT would have been like the magic bullet that got Ben fully weight-restored and recovered from his anorexia. I'm not even saying that FBT would definitely have worked for Ben; it doesn't work for everyone.

But it would have meant that I probably wouldn't have been fighting CAMHS all those months at the same time as fighting the highly-resistant eating disorder. That in itself took enough energy without the extra conflict on top.

It would definitely have meant that we were working together as a team, on the same side. Which is how it should be.

And, hopefully, I would have had more support in my drive to get Ben to eat and put on weight.

Quite simply I would have liked to have given FBT a go.

It might just have worked.

So I'll be interested to find out what made Leeds NHS change its mind and swap the old methods for the new ones.

All that fighting for what I believed was right - and I was probably right all along!

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