Special families, specialists

Parents, when you are told that research shows Family-Based Maudsley treatment "only works for a small number of patients" or "only small studies have been done," remember this: there is no research basis AT ALL for the alternatives. And that YOU are very likely "the small number" and "special" circumstances: a family willing to step up and stick it out.

If we wanted to be blunt we could, considering the dismal recovery rates, ask whether successful treatment only works for a "small number of clinicians."


  1. it's wonderful that there's a treatment that seems to work. still, i can't imagine my mother planning my meals (the first stage of treatment for anorexics.) she was the one who restricted me in the first place -- heck, i'd probably lose weight in that phase. i'm sure therapists work with the families. that was just the first thought that went through my mind. hooray for help!

  2. Seems that the warnings "do not try this at home" abound everywhere. They under estimate us when they ought to be applauding such attempts and offering to support anyone willing to get their hands dirty. I happen to believe that even "bad" parents or those who made mistakes, possibly your mom Melissa, are TEACHABLE.I am sure of this. Parents are often the ones to walk through fire if it's what gets their kids back.
    Are the medical teams teachable? Are they willing to bend if it means helping some get back to health in a timely manner? Perhaps not soon enough which is why I am so thankful you built a forum Laura.

  3. Too true, Mary. We all arrive at Eating Disorder World with different skills and weaknesses. Ignoring the weaknesses won't help - we need to build the skills and support from what exists.

    Too often, the family is just cut out of the picture - but that just leaves the patient even worse off than before.

    We're "teachable!"

  4. Melissa,

    I never would have imagined my mom plating my food, either! But she did and she helped me recover.

    I'm sorry your mom restricted your food- that's (obviously) neither healthy nor helpful. But the right sort of treatment would have helped her help you the best she could. And perhaps helped her address her underlying eating/weight issues.


    Oh, would I have loved to say that to some clinicians! I only called one clinician stupid to his face, though he did deserve it. ;)

  5. My understanding is that the clinical trials at the Maudsley hospital in London were done on families randomly selected, not on ones considered special. These average families had a high rate of success.
    By the way, Drs. Lock and le Grange will lead a 2-day workshop on manualized, family-based treatment for adolescent anorexia and bulimia on February 27--28, 2009, at Stanford University. Contact judybreen@stanford.edu for information.

  6. My daughter is a recovering anorexic. While inpatient, we as a family learned the Maudsley approach. It is a wonderful technique and although she has relapsed a couple of times (this is normal unfortunately) having the skills that we learned, we were able to get her back on track. Is she cured? No...... she is not. But, we as a family have learned how to deal with her ED, how to cope as a family and how to find that silver lining around this HUGE cloud.

  7. Anon,

    What a fantastic point! I would like to see the initial selection criteria for the study, although "is your family special?" was probably not one of the questions.

  8. i would love to know the techniques they use to get parents to understand and to help in...well, helpful ways.


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