Thursday 14 September 2017

What is FBT (Family Based Treatment) for eating disorders? What is the Maudsley Approach? Here's an excellent guide...

One of my fellow Around The Dinner Table parents has put together this excellent guide which explains what FBT (Family Based Treatment for eating disorders otherwise known as 'the Maudsley Approach') is all about. Many families have found this evidence-based eating disorders treatment model to be extremely effective. This parent has kindly allowed me to reproduce her guide here.

Tuesday 12 September 2017

"Me too!" - comments from parents, for parents, on F.E.A.S.T.'s 'Nourishing Words' blog

When a family finds itself facing a devastating eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia,it can be so reassuring to know that you're not in this alone: to read about other families' experiences, to discover what did and didn't work for them and, most important of all, to discover that young people can recover and go on to lead normal and fulfilled lives.

Friday 8 September 2017

University with an eating disorder? To take a gap year, or not?

It's that time of year again when young people are heading off to university. If you remember, my son headed off to Sheffield University in September 2012, six months after being discharged from eating disorder treatment. The CAMHS nurse said she "couldn't see any reason why he wouldn't be ready to go to university in September". Me, well I was a bit less sure. And in the event, as  you may remember if you've been following my blog, Ben lasted two or three days before he was back home for an impromptu 'gap' year. Here's an edited version of something I wrote on the Around The Dinner Table forum (for parents of young people with eating disorders) about that gap year and why it was a Good Decision for my son.

Wednesday 6 September 2017

Are you a parent or carer? Are you new to the world of eating disorders?

Whether it happens suddenly or gradually, realising that your son or daughter has an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia is devastating. At a time when you're desperately seeking help for your child and wondering how you can help as a parent, you're also faced with a massive learning curve - because, unless you've experienced an eating disorder before, the world of eating disorders is probably about as far off your radar as you can get. Just like it was for us.

Monday 4 September 2017

And on a lighter note... What's Ben up to at the moment?

Well, one thing my son Ben ISN'T up to at the moment is starting the post-graduate teacher training course (PGCE) which he was to have begun this week. Basically, he's spend the entire summer working on his Master's Degree dissertation which has to be submitted on Wednesday. He's put a heck of a lot of work into this and, to be honest, the poor guy needs a bit of a breather. Also, because of the dissertation, he's not been able to prepare for the PGCE in any way. So it made sense to postpone it.

To exercise or not to exercise? The dangers are real...

Having posted two posts about the problems we had with compulsive exercising when my son was suffering from anorexia - and having read through Dr Julie O'Toole's excellent article about the dangers of exercising with anorexia - I must add that, yes, there is a real danger that exercising can kill. There is no easy way to say this: eating disorders do kill and one of the biggest killers is heart failure. And we should know... My son ended up in hospital not once but twice with Bradycardia (abnormally slow pulse). So, knowing the potential dangers, why did we allow him to continue to exercise?

I've just been reminded of this wonderful poem my son wrote following his recovery from the eating disorder

On the Around The Dinner Table forum (for parents of young people with eating disorders), some of us have been thinking about the way the eating disorder is like a separate entity to our sons or daughters. In our house we used to refer to the eating disorder as 'the anorexia demon', 'the demon ED [eating disorder]' or 'the ED voice'. It reminded me of this poem which my son wrote following his recovery from anorexia; the poem is aimed at 'the ED voice'...

An extract from my book about my son's addiction to exercise

While I'm on the subject of controlling an exercise addiction as part of an eating disorder, here's an extract from my book Please eat...: A mother's struggle to free her teenage son from anorexia which describes the extent of my son's addiction to exercise (during his struggle with an eating disorder).

Controlling an exercise addiction as part of an eating disorder

Eating disorders in boys (and girls) aren't just about cutting back on food; there can also be a host of other issues - and one of the big issues that many families face is an addiction to exercise which can be punishingly difficult to fix.

With my son, Ben, exercise acted as a kind of purge - not unlike Bulimia with its vomiting / laxative purging. He felt the need to micro-manage input and output: whatever went in (food and drink) had to come out in the form of exercise. Often entire days (and nights) could be centred upon input, output, without any room inside his head for anything else.

Sunday 3 September 2017

Eating disorder recovery? Is your child 'stuck'? Do they need something to nudge them forward? This solution worked for us, so it might just work for you...

Recently a mother emailed to ask if I had any tips for what to do when your child is 'stuck'. Your child has got 'so far' in their eating disorder recovery but - for some reason - have found themselves 'treading water', unable to move forward. Here's an edited version of my reply, in case your son or daughter is 'stuck' and needs encouragement to continue to move in the right direction towards eating disorder recovery.