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Viewing blog posts categorized under "Eating Disorder Treatment"

Save Yourself First

posted by Julie O'Toole on August 27, 2014 at 3:18pm

It has become almost trite to advise parents struggling with the “severe pushback” of doing battle with their child’s eating disorder to remember that flight attendants caution parents travelling with small children to “first place the oxygen mask on yourself (really counter-intuitive for parents) and then place it on your child.” When I first heard this advice on a plane (astonishingly not what would have come naturally to me) I thought “of course! If I am unconscious then my…

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Making ‘em Mad

posted by Julie O'Toole on August 13, 2014 at 12:43pm

I’m sometimes not sure whom I make madder: some kids, some parents, or some insurance companies!

Making kids mad:

Me:  “Jill, help me understand why your weight would be way down this week?”

Jill (shrugging):  “I don’t know.  I actually exercised less and ate exactly what I was supposed to.”

Me:  “OK. I guess your body is just telling us you need more food.”

Jill:  “What!!?? No way!  I refuse to have more food.”

Me:  “Well…. unless you can think of something that didn’t go quite the…

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Parental Supervision

posted by Julie O'Toole on August 6, 2014 at 3:45pm

Eating disorders strike children at virtually all stages of development. Sometimes we think it’s most difficult when they strike a very young child, sometimes it seems the most difficult when a “child” is about to go off to college, or a student exchange program, or start a new school. Personally I think mid adolescence is one of the most difficult times for an eating disorder to strike a child.

Childhood and early adolescence are characterized by learning new skills, but also by…

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The Stigma of Mental Illness

posted by Julie O'Toole on July 16, 2014 at 4:28pm

Lots of ink is been spilled on the subject of the stigma associated with having an eating disorder.  And in order to discuss the subject sensibly we need to get a few terms straight. It was considered a giant step forward in our field when Dr. Thomas Insel, head of NIMH, began blogging, writing and speaking about the fact that all mental illnesses are brain disorders, and that anorexia nervosa in particular was a severe mental illness.  Prior to that it had been possible to…

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Eating Junk

posted by Julie O'Toole on June 25, 2014 at 3:12pm

Recently a patient of ours returned from a treatment setting where she had been presented with “challenge foods”.  In her case she had been given cheetos and soda pop.  Now I ask you, why on earth would someone encourage a child to eat such a thing?

A lot of ink has been spilled on teaching Americans in general and children in particular to make good food choices.  Just because you have anorexia nervosa as a child, and desperately need to gain and maintain adequate weight, does not…

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Can My Child Get Well?

posted by Julie O'Toole on May 14, 2014 at 1:52pm

I am asked this nearly every week by one parent or another, and I answer reflexively “of course”.  In order to do what we do at Kartini Clinic we have to believe our patients can get well, that our efforts and the herculean efforts of the parents can be rewarded.  There are no guarantees in life, but there needs to be hope.  Hope based on real evidence.

It is true that some patients with eating disorders never do get well.  They experience a lifetime of disability and mental illness.…

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The Semmelweis Reflex

posted by Julie O'Toole on May 2, 2014 at 9:30am

Sometimes I get discouraged by what appears to me to be the excruciating slowness with which new ideas enter the mainstream of medical and psychological teaching and practice.  In the same way that many of us dress in the style that was favored in our youth, many of us do not move far from what we were taught in college or professional school, even when the science has whipped past those teachings with the speed of light. Some professionals even spend their entire lives and careers…

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But For The Grace of God

posted by Julie O'Toole on March 12, 2014 at 2:32pm

When I was a girl, my brothers and sister and I had the usual kid-like responses to the world around us.  One of them was innocent astonishment at those less fortunate than we: the man at the bus stop without a leg, the “retarded” kid on the playground, homeless people.  If we were unwise enough to comment on them negatively in our father’s presence we felt the full force of his disapproval, the full weight of his teaching.  “When you see someone less fortunate than you, you are…

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What We Say Matters

posted by Julie O'Toole on March 5, 2014 at 4:18pm

I just returned from Tampa, Florida and the 2014 IAEDP conference of professionals involved in the treatment of eating disorders.  I was there to talk about the very young child with anorexia nervosa, and I was slated to talk for three hours. And talk I did. For three hours! That’s an unusually long presentation time, but I was surprised that the audience and I found plenty to say on the subject.  

At the beginning of my presentation I asked everyone to briefly state who they were…

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FEAST 2014 and Weight Restoration 2.0

posted by Julie O'Toole on February 5, 2014 at 2:44pm

Morgan and I just returned from the parent-founded and parent-lead F.E.A.S.T. conference, familiar to many of you as an online resource for parents whose children are struggling with an eating disorder.

The conference lasted two days, and we spoke at noon on the second day, to a group of (mainly) parents and a few activist providers.  The following comments are just some of my personal impressions, not necessarily shared by anyone else.

The keynote speaker was Laura Hill, PhD.,…

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