When you practice as long as I have in the field of childhood eating disorders, one thing becomes abundantly clear: there are cycles to the frequency with which patients appear on our doorstep for treatment -- and on the doorsteps of all the other treatment centers as well. The trouble is, it has proven difficult to understand the peaks and troughs of these cycles and correlate them to much of anything. But there do seem to be a few tentatively recognizable patterns. And these…Read More
Viewing blog posts categorized under "Anorexia Nervosa"
Is anorexia nervosa (AN) a chronic illness? What do we mean when we say that AN, or any other eating disorder, is a chronic illness?
Wikipedia says: “The term chronic is often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. Common chronic diseases include arthritis, asthma, cancer, COPD, diabetes and viral diseases such as hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. In medicine, the opposite of chronic is acute.”
Lasts for more than three months? Oh yes. By that metric AN is…Read More
On Friday, Netflix released "To the Bone," a film about a young woman struggling with anorexia nervosa. The film has received a great deal of publicity, raising some questions and concerns among parents of children and adolescents with eating disorders.
Here are five questions you may have about the film.
My child is recovering from an eating disorder; should they watch this movie?
The question we would ask is why? If it is to gain “insight” into a complex brain illness in…Read More
This post was originally published on December 16, 2015.
Possibly nothing has changed so much over the last ten years as the acceptance of parents’ role in the treatment of children and adolescents with eating disorders.
When I founded Kartini Clinic in 1998, “dysfunctional” parents were widely considered to cause eating disorders in general and anorexia nervosa in particular. Toxic and enmeshed mothers were commonly cited by therapists, doctors and lay people as the common…Read More
This post was originally published on February 13, 2012.
I (among others) have recently been challenged by Laura Collins to get the message out that weight restoration is critical to psychological recovery in anorexia nervosa. Some authority, Laura says, must declare definitively that psychological recovery is tied to weight restoration.
Some authority… okay… but who?
Since the late 1990’s the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) has issued guidelines for hospitalization (after…
This post was originally published on November 13, 2013.
Until I lived in the world of therapists and mental health professionals as part of the Kartini multidisciplinary team treating children with eating disorders, I had never actually heard the phrase “tolerating distress”, particularly as it pertained to parents. Like most parents, I have a very difficult time tolerating pain in my own children, either physical or emotional and, when put in that situation, I immediately get…Read More
This post was originally published on June 12, 2013.
We’ve all heard from parents whose child had (or has) an eating disorder and who re-feed them at home, single-handedly and successfully. The Around the Dinner Table forum is full of such stories from parents who help other parents trying to do the same. But not all children’s illnesses can be so managed. At Kartini Clinic we practice a day treatment model of family-based care (as well as inpatient medical stabilization and…Read More
The canny ability of eating disorders to twist even the most kindly meant words is something that is experienced by almost all our patients. We originally published this post back in the summer of 2011 and have decided to share it again because an awareness of of this facet of ED is so valuable to patients, families and care providers at every stage of recovery.
I find myself explaining this many times to parents and friends of our patients: there is a secret language to eating…Read More
When I was first introduced to the Minnesota Semi-Starvation Study (MSSS), published in 1950 by Ancel Keys and his team, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data they were able to accumulate about the physical and psychological ramifications of semi-starvation in humans.
It was mind-blowing. Then I came across the graph on page 106 of the hardbound edition called “Over-all Changes in Body Weight in the Minnesota Experiment” with the subtitle: “Expressed as a percentage of the…Read More
The literature on lifetime mortality (the death rate) from anorexia nervosa has been cited as 20%, 10% and 5%, but I think whichever turns out to be the real number, we can all agree that it is too high.
When a young person dies, for any reason, we feel a terrible sense of loss if we are close to them, and a terrible sense of waste if we are not. To die because your brain commands you to refuse food, to fear your own body, to resist your family’s attempts to feed you is sad indeed.…Read More