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There are few individuals who truly rise to a level of integrity, experience, commitment and compassion when it comes to researching and treating eating disorders that I can honestly say are worthy of note, let alone far too few dedicated and wisely seasoned clinicians available for sufferers and families assisting and caring for loved ones to have equal and affordable access to. Dr Daniel le Grange at the University of Chicago is most certainly one of those individuals.
For parents who have younger children or adolescents suffering with an eating disorder you are probably already aware how vital early diagnosis and intervention are to restoring your child’s health. Many families and parents are unfortunately still treated as the “problem” or blamed/shamed into believing that they “caused” their child’s eating disorder, and sometimes, worse yet, doctors don’t even take seriously the early warning signs of eating disordered behaviors as well as weight loss in younger patients and dismiss the parents concerns despite the “highest concentration of most sufferers of Anorexia Nervosa being in the adolescent female population”– time is not on anyone’s side when you delay diagnosis and immediate treatment.
And treatment programs along with many clinicians still leave the family aside and ignored vs being utilized as a vital resource in assisiting and collaborating within helping their child recover, and working with as well as healing the entire family unit. This makes many of us parents quite irate since we know our children best and were the first to have noticed the drastic changes in our child’s behavior, took initiative in researching treatment options/providers, and then continue to take action, resources and advocate for our children while waiting for many in the medical community and insurance industry to finally wake up and begin implementing true evidence-based treatment strategies that work instead of constantly reinventing the wheel, over and over…
Parents, Families/Partners and Caregivers of Children and Adolescents suffering with this illness please take heart, find continued reassurance, and be re inspired by reading Dr le Grange and Dr Loeb’s Early Intervention in Eating Disorders as well as Dr le Grange’s Treatment Model for Eating Disorders in Children & Adolescents :
- Parents are a RESOURCE in helping the adolescent
- Most parents CAN help the adolescent
- Parents have SKILLS to bring to treatment
- Therapist leverages parental skills and relationships to bring about change
- FBT-Family Based Therapy is the only evidence-based treatment shown to be efficacious and cost effective
On the Centre for Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED) website, where if you are an Australian native they are also providing FBT and eating disorder treatment study for families free for participants, which they did here in the states at the University of Chicago a few years back.
Some day Eating Disorder Treatment will be this good everywhere — until then, keep fighting the good fight and don’t give up!
It’s encouraging to know that some incredible clinicians are furthering the research and support of the efficacy of Family-Based Therapy within treatment of adolescents who suffer from eating disorders.
As parents of eating disordered children we know how painful it is to watch our children succumb to this deadly disease. And what makes things even worse is not having treatment incorporate the entire family to best help, educate, empower and support not only our loved ones, but ourselves as well; and also to help heal and guide the family through the journey we take on the road towards our child achieving full recovery.
Dr Walter Kaye with the University of California, San Diego is heading probably one of the largest research studies jointly with Stanford School of Medicine to find the most effective FBT, BFT, and placebo controlled trials including more studies into the use and efficacy of fluoxetine (Prozac) in the treatment of adolescents who suffer from Anorexia Nervosa.
Dr Kaye is certainly not the only clinician to take the lead in pioneering this momentum, Dr Daniel leGrange from the University of Chicago, Eating Disorders Program also has conducted a 5yr NIMH study of similar worth, and at this time the data that has been collected is being sent for publication.
Too many today still adhere to a very outdated, erroneous and unproductive notion that dysfunctional families/parents are the sole cause of eating disorders. Yes, this is the 21st century, and when our daughter was diagnosed with AN last year, not only were we carrying very limited Karen Carpenter knowledge of ED’s, but to our complete shock and dismay, the hospital where our daughter spent the next 20days- along with the next year of hit&miss follow-up outpatient treatment- had Dr’s, nurses and staff who seemed to be practicing a very draconian and almost at times inhumane form of ED treatment/care with even less experience and knowledge, and horrifyingly no real training and background in ED’s, and how to help sufferers and their families/carers beyond the basic “medical stabalization”. I never would have imagined through our experience, how backwards and utterly frustrating this road to finding quality, intelligent, evidenced-based and compassionate care would be.
So there is continued reasons to be hopeful and remain optimistic that at some point ED treatment and standards of care will indeed get better, and our voices will be heard, blame will take a vaporizing exit, and efforts and focus will stay centered towards much more rational, ethical, affordable, and compassionate care for ED’s.