September 23, 2015

Why monitoring a child's weight and height DO matter

I applaud this article!

How Monitoring Your Child's Pediatric Growth Could Help Prevent An Eating Disorder by Dr. Lauren Muhlheim.

This is thorny: parents need to know that they can't tell by looking at someone whether they have an eating disorder. But you DO need to know your child's normal growth pattern.

It isn't that weight is the only symptom, but parents you do need to know your child's growth trajectory. You can not tell by looking if your child is failing to gain height or weight due to subtle restriction. That restriction could be from a number of reasons, as the article states, but it is not normal and may be an early sign of mental illness.

The best time to intervene is as soon as possible. For those predisposed to these deadly mental illnesses you may be able to intervene early enough to stop it in its tracks.

Believe me, you do not want to wait until you can see it. And this is not just anorexia nervosa, this is all eating disorders: restriction is the beginning of bulimic and binge eating patterns as well.

Monitoring growth isn't everything, but it is REALLY important!

September 18, 2015

Caring for an adult in the US with mental illness? Please participate in this NAMI survey!

It is hard to care for a child with mental illness. But for those supporting an adult child suffering from mental illness the task is exponentially more difficult: there are administrative and privacy and legal hassles, there is the wear and tear of chronicity, and the world is likely to be telling you to "let go."

Parents with adult patients in their care are stuck in a limbo of parenting without the rights of a parent, locked in perennial negotiation with an illness that is not likely to respond logically or in the person's best interests.

As a longtime mental health advocate I have seen the larger mental health world pretty much ignore eating disorders, and ED advocacy has until recently opted out of the larger mental health advocacy picture.

So, it is with enthusiasm and hope that I share this survey out of NAMI, a leading US mental health advocacy organization, looking for responses from US caregivers of adults.

If we want change, and we want to be considered in the mental health arena, we as families need to step up whereever we can to be counted and to be heard. This survey is one of those opportunities, and passed on to me by another wonderful parent advocate, Joan Riederer of the Erin Riederer Foundation.

September 16, 2015

new video describing the family experience of anorexia nervosa

There's a new video out there for parents facing an anorexia nervosa diagnosis:


I love seeing content being created by parents for parents. These parents have done a wonderful job describing their experience and what they have learned. It is a compassionate, respectful, and meaningful view of their daughters as well.

There is much here to learn from these parents that applies to ALL eating disorders, and of course to male patients as well. Although they are not addressing adult patients in the film I also see this as in principle a grounding view of all eating disorders.

Congratulations to Parents to Parents!