Monday 21 August 2017

The approach to eating disorder treatment in UK is changing - Good News!

Of course many CAMHS services here in the UK have changed the way they treat eating disorders in adolescents. My local CAMHS services is one of these. Outdated treatment models for eating disorders are being replaced with the latest evidence-based treatment with other treatment models available for young people for whom the Maudsley-inspired Family Based Treatment turns out to be unsuitable. This is fantastic news and whenever I hear about this I find myself wanting to shout: "See? I was right?!"

I guess we were amongst the last, in our city, to be treated using older models of eating disorder treatment (although I never did find out which particular model our CAMHS team was practising).

Kind of like the last few buildings and paintings being produced before a huge art renaissance.

I expect that what our treatment team did back then was what they considered to be right at the time. And professionals must be sick to the back teeth of critical parents who appear to be upsetting the apple cart.

I don't doubt that our triangulation was damaging for my son, but what came across was the need for me to keep quiet. What I was advocating for 'wasn't helpful' to my son. Certainly my silence and complete cooperation with the CAMHS team would have avoided conflict and triangulation. We would have presented a unified front which is what should happen when treating eating disorders.

But I simply couldn't sit there and see my son getting thinner, lighter and more 'crazy' in front of my eyes.

Having my gut instinct proved right isn't an arrogant thing. It's not a 'two fingers up at the old school of eating disorders treatment models' kind of thing or even 'two fingers up at CAMHS'. It's more of a 'I wish they'd listened to me and been open to what I was saying and wanting to do' thing. I wish I had been valued as a key member of the treatment team and seen as part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Those fortnightly 'parenting sessions' where I saw the nurse while my son saw the psychiatrist separately made me feel like a terrible mother.

However the Good News fact is that, here in the UK, treatment models for eating disorders in adolescents are changing.

Slowly but surely.

Which, I truly hope and pray, is Good News for families who are undergoing or are about to start treatment for their son's or daughter's eating disorder.

I often wonder whether our now FBT-trained CAMHS team look back on past years and think, yes, there was some truth in what that annoying parent was saying...

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