Do brain surgery unsupervised!
Thank you, Charlotte: sometimes someone just puts it *perfectly*:
"Asking a totally inexperienced parent to notice and stop an ED is a bit like asking a first year medical student to do brain surgery unsupervised."
But coached, supported, and bolstered: parents can!
love this, its very true, and the anorexic child will oft not realize how challenging the situation is for their parents. Sometimes anorexia will cause the child to go so inwards they cannot see the love pouring from their parents.ReplyDelete
I agree Laura. Given that I was a very 'fussy eater' as a small child, with many food phobias, my AN (at age 12 yrs) appeared to be an extension of my longstanding eating difficulties. My mother had taken me to see doctors in the past because of my eating difficulties, so differentiating AN from these prior difficulties was a challenge - even for the doctors.ReplyDelete
The signs my parents needed to recognise for my AN included:
*Making food charts and obsessively counting calories.
*Developing rituals around eating and exercise that were always practiced at specific times of the day.
*Rapid weight loss.
*Loss of interest in things I had previously enjoyed.
I know to this day that my mother feels (unnecessarily) guilty about my AN. I keep telling her that she was not to blame. I have described to her the biological research evidence surrounding the aetiology of AN - and although this has helped, she still feels she could/should have done something different. The only thing she could have done differently was to spot the onset of my AN sooner. However, she hadn't heard of AN in 1977 when I developed the illness, and I didn't know what was happening to me either. I was actually frightened (at times) of the thoughts in my head that were 'instructing' me to 'self-destruct'.
I echo the comment I made on one of your previous posts:
Forget all the 'love your body' programmes for schoolchildren targeted at ED prevention. There's little evidence to support these programme's efficacy. Instead, focus on educating parents on recognising EDs and how to deal with them - i.e. something you, Laura, and others are doing.
And, asking an untrained professional (physician, psychologist, dietician) is in my opinion the same thing. I would not assume that I could train someone in brain surgery but I'm expected educate professionals who have no ED experience. I'm willing to provide information to these individuals but I'm not willling expose my d to these professionals. I am willing, though, to seek out professionals who have a background in ED and are keeping up with the research.ReplyDelete
"Forget all the 'love your body' programmes for schoolchildren targeted at ED prevention. There's little evidence to support these programme's efficacy. Instead, focus on educating parents on recognising EDs and how to deal with them - i.e. something you, Laura, and others are doing"ReplyDelete
I agree 100% but unfortunately the only funding for "education" seems to come from cosmetic firms with a vested interest in looking ethical. More funding needed for alternatives I say.
@Marcella - yes, I agree... But Dove also has the support of (e.g.) Susie Orbach and others who view EDs as being socially constructed, rather than being maladaptations in brain metabolism/function. This adds to the general public confusion around EDs - as well as the risk of parents misunderstanding these illnesses.ReplyDelete
I'm not sure who/what would fund education programmes for parents in the UK - and how relevant info could be disseminated... Leaflets could be placed in GP surgeries perhaps?
It's true that there's a lot of back up for the Dove type stuff and that many clinicians and organisations actually believe sincerely in it. Personally I think that's in part because of the confusion between eating disorders and disordered eating and in that disordered eating is bad for individuals per se and can lead to eating disorders in the genetically vulnerable then I suppose it's a good idea to campaign against it, as long as that isn't all that's done. There has been funding for research (not enough and I fear about to be cut) in the ARIADNE programme including work with families http://www.iop.kcl.ac.uk/sites/edu/?id=116 and the ideal would be a) more of it and b) the funding to apply the results in education programmes and campaigning.ReplyDelete
BEAT are constantly designing new leaflets (too many of which don't get seen because of information overload in libraries and doctors' surgeries) and by getting involved it is possible to try to influence the content but as yet it's drops in the bucket of "eating disorders are about image" swill