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alan6

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi

My 16 yr old son lost more than 30Kg (66 Lb) over the last 6 months.  in the beginning, He had above average weight.  In just a few weeks he started a strict diet, obsessively couning calories. That degenerated rapidly to purging or not eating at all (he stopped doing that or became better at hiding it).   While he is fully aware of the mechanics and symptoms of an ED,  he was reinforced by getting positive feedback from his peer (and initially us, before we caught on )  about his losing fat which I guess cheered him on in this destructive path. 

It took us three months to recognize the problem as an eating disorder but kept running into a brick wall every time we tried to convince him we need to do something about this.  He believes being thin makes him appear more attractive.   He occasionally walks around the house shirtless (something he was always too embarrassed to do) and more than once I've seen him stop in front of a mirror, checking himself out from all sides.

We tried sending him to therapy,  after the second session he did not make an appointment for a third meeting claiming he is too busy to continue this process. The law in Canada prevents the therapist from speaking with us without his explicit consent.  So we can't even tell if he explored the issue during the sessions. 

In an appointment with a GP, he flat out lied about how much weight he lost and over how much time he lost it.   Causing the doctor to largely ignore our concern.

He did agree to see a dietician,  he saw her three times,  last week she called us after his appointment reporting that he lost  2.5 Kg (4.4 lb) in one week.  If he will lose more weight by the time he sees her next week (a likely outcome)  she will no longer be able to see him and suggested we refer him to an ED professional.

My wife and I are extremely worried,  he does seem concerned about possible health issues,   but,  at the same time either unable or unwilling to stop starving himself and going for a jog nearly every day.

Being 16 he feels like an adult and dismisses our concerns,  how can we make him see the danger and get him to let us and others help him?
Kali

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Reply with quote  #2 
Dear Alan6,

So very sorry you have had to join us here at ATDT but I hope you will find support and information.
You do have serious reasons to be concerned, from your description of what has happened to your son.
You can read more about eating disorders at the Eating Disorder Learning Center
http://www.feast-ed.org/?page=LearningCenter

It sounds as though you are trying to point him in the direction of resources but have not found the right situation yet.
There are some other Canadian families on the board and perhaps they can weigh in. There is also a part of the board where you can read some feedback about different providers.

Quote:
The law in Canada prevents the therapist from speaking with us without his explicit consent.  So we can't even tell if he explored the issue during the sessions. 


In this situation, could you make an appointment with a therapist and go as a family? Here is a link to the Maudsley parents site which lists some FBT trained therapists in Canada.

http://www.maudsleyparents.org/findtreatment.htmlI don't know where you are located or if any of them are in your area, but with this type of

I don't know where you are located or if any of them are in your area, but with this type of therapy, you would attend as a family and then have some guidance from the therapist to help restore your son's weight at home. Your son is unlikely to be able to do that himself and will need a lot of support from his family.

My advice is, don't ask him if he "wants" to go, just let him know that you have made an appointment and you are all going and then go. Unfortunately, he is most likely not going to able to understand much about the danger he is in because of the illness and you most likely will not be able to convince him to do something about it on his own. But this is a treatable illness and with your help as a loving parent and with weight restoration, he can make progress against the illness.

66 lbs is a tremendous weight loss and he is still losing. It sounds as though he needs ongoing and regular medical monitoring at the moment to make sure his heart and electrolytes are ok. Can you make an appointment with another GP and take your concerns there? Go with your son. You could phone the GP before the appointment and describe what you are seeing at home before you meet with him/her and your son. It is best to see if you might be able to find a GP who is knowledgeable about eating disorders.

Keep asking questions and I'm sure other parents will be along soon to welcome you and help you with any information they might be able to share. 

He will need to start eating more. I can recommend a book that many parents here have found helpful, with practical suggestions about how to support people with eating disorders at mealtimes, by Eva Musby. Also, take a look at her website, she has some helpful videos posted. He will need his meals prepared for him and eaten with him.

https://www.amazon.com/Anorexia-other-Eating-Disorders-compassionate/dp/0993059805

http://anorexiafamily.com/videos-eating-disorder-anxiety-child/

Here is a link to another book which can give you an overview of how to help your son:
https://www.amazon.com/Help-Teenager-Eating-Disorder-Second/dp/146251748X/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_14_img_0/135-0736382-9816435?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=Q041QR81M114SNX2VG48

Also, you can try visiting the high-calorie recipe thread on this site for some ideas about foods which you can make which have the highest calories in the smallest footprints.

https://www.aroundthedinnertable.org/post/high-calorie-suggestions-696425#gsc.tab=0\

I hope these resources can be of help to you and your family.

Warmly,

Kali




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Torie

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Reply with quote  #3 
Welcome, alan6.  So sorry you needed to join us here.  This is a cruel illness and a tough one to beat, but it is possible.

You asked, "How can we make him see the danger?"

The short answer is: You can't get him to be rational about this.  Almost by definition, they are completely irrational about everything related to this illness, and you can't get an irrational person to think rationally.  You CAN, however, drag him back to health anyway..

It took me a while to realize that the good folks here who explained to me that reasoning with them is pointless (or worse) were right.  I had to try it for myself to see that my d - bright and rational about everything else - was completely, utterly irrational about all things ED.

So, what to do?  The first thing is to be clear in your own mind that your son is a boy - not a man, not an adult - so that you have a lot of leverage.  He is dependent on you for the roof over his head, his transportation, his phone, etc.  Your parental authority will never again be stronger than it is now, and he needs you to wield it on his behalf.

So, what to do with this parental authority?  You will need to require him to eat fully and to sign the release forms so that the rest of the treatment team can communicate with you.  Most likely, it will be the battle of your life, so you will want to read, read, read and ask lots and lots of questions.

Help Your Teenager Beat an Eating Disorder by Lock and LeGrange is a great place to start.  And this video by forum member Eva Musby is fabulous:



Please feel free to ask all the questions you like. 

Best,

-Torie

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"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Foodsupport_AUS

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Reply with quote  #4 
Welcome to the forum. Sorry that you have had to find your way here. It does sound very worrying what you have reported. Some parents here have found their children needed admission to hospital for heart related consequences in this circumstance. If he is not having regular ECG monitoring and assessment of blood pressure pulse and bloods he should be. I would also urge you to do anything you can to stop him from going out for a run. 

As others have said, at this point in his illness he has no ability to see Torie has said, you need to make use of any vestige of parental authority you have to get started, he can't do it for himself. I also would ask for an immediate referral to an ED specialist, rather than waiting till next time he sees the dietitian. There is no time to waste. 

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D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
sk8r31

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Reply with quote  #5 
Chiming in to say that what you describe with your son sounds very concerning, and from a health standpoint, must be dealt with immediately.

My d at 14 came to us saying she wanted to 'eat more healthfully', which sounded great at the time....however, as with your situation, the weight loss was very precipitous, 30 lb in 4 months, and necessitated a stay in hospital for medical stabilization.  Our d was also never below what was a 'normal range' for her height, but the very quick weight loss was extremely dangerous and tipped over into an ED quite quickly.

As others have mentioned, you need to have your son evaluated medically right away.  Here is a link to the Academy of Eating Disorders pamphlet on Eating Disorders and Guide to Medical Care.  It can be downloaded & printed & taken with you to medical appointments.

It is imperative that you seek medical attention for your s right away.  He is still a minor, and you can contact your physician with your concerns, and with the AED guide to confirm the tests needed.

I think it is worth underscoring part of the AED pamphlet which states:


 1. Patients with EDs may not acknowledge that they are ill, and/or they may be ambivalent about accepting treatment. This is a symptom of their illness. Patients may minimize, rationalize, or hide ED symptoms and/or behaviors. Their persuasive rationality and competence in other areas of life can disguise the severity of their illness. Outside support and assistance with decision-making will likely be necessary regardless of age.

2. Parents/guardians are the frontline help-seekers for children, adolescents, and young adults with EDs. Trust their concerns. Even a single consultation about a child’s eating behavior or weight/shape concerns is a strong predictor of the presence or potential development of an ED.

3. Diffuse blame. Help families understand that they did not cause the illness; neither did their child/family member choose to have it. This recognition facilitates acceptance of the diagnosis, referral, treatment, and minimizes undue stigma associated with having the illness.

4. Monitor physical health including vital signs and laboratory tests. Patients with an ED should be regularly monitored for acute and chronic medical complications. Assessments should be interpreted in the context of physiological adaptation to malnutrition and purging behavior. Clinicians need to remember that physical exam and laboratory tests may be normal even in the presence of a life-threatening ED.

Sending you strength and support as you navigate the road to health and recovery with your s.

Warmly,
sk8r31

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It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
alan6

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Reply with quote  #6 
Thank you for all of your responses,  It feel us with hope to find some advice after long months (was it really just a few months, it feels like much much longer)  of  stumbling alone in the dark,  

I got  Eva Musby's  book   and started pouring through on in my way to work.  I have also started looking for a professional  we can work with via www.nedic.ca  (the Canadian ED information center) 

reflecting back, on the last few months I realized we never  had a discussion with our son about having an ED. Thant it we never said to him "you have and RD"   We  called  it   not eating enough   or  getting into a bad and dangerous habit,  but never actually named the enemy.  
Do we need to have this conversation  explicitly ?  will naming the problem  make the problem worse  , making him feel we are on to him and about to take away his  "control" over  eating.

If it is be better to talk  with him about ED  What form should this conversation takes ?   The book mentioned the ED as associated with  deep anxiety  we fear he will  shut down completely  or will got into full panic mode.  We have no idea what expect. 




HateEDwithApassion

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hi,
I'm so sorry that you are here. It sounds like your son, like many of our kids, started off with good intentions, but has a genetic glitch (like all our kids do) that when he is in a negative energy balance of eating less than what he burns off, the ED was jumpstarted. Once that happens, it can go south very quickly.

Great thing is you are here. This forum is the gold standard as far as I'm concerned. You'll get lots of wisdom from experienced parents, some truth when you need to hear it, and lots of hope as you battle this.

I'm not sure labeling this as an ED will do anything good or bad. He may shut down and likely will go into full panic mode when the ED is threatened, and you should be ready for that. As we learned last week at family days, the ED may start for innocent reasons, but your child keeps it because it serves him in some way. What does he get from the ED? It may sooth his anxiety, it may boost his self-esteem that he has power and willpower not to eat when friends do not, it may make him feel more accepted because he's getting accolades from peers for his weight loss.  In any case, the reasons it serves him are the reasons it is difficult to give it up. Also, his brain is literally psychotic when it comes to the illness. It can't be reasoned with and no amount of logic will change what he feels and sees in the mirror because this is a mental illness, with similar delusions to schizophrenia. 

I echo the other parents. Don't wait. Find an evidence-based FBT ED doctor right away. Don't give your son a choice. Does he drive? Does he play sports? Enjoy video games? Use any leverage you have. He's only 16 and he certainly doesn't have the means to live on his own, so you do have power to force him to go to the doctor. My D, who hasn't lost anywhere near that amount of weight and actually is in close to a normal weight area, already shows signs of stressed heart function, so I would be very serious about having him examined well. Anorexia does horrible things to the body, and since our bodies are amazingly created, it finds ways to keep the vital things working while sacrificing other things. Those other things can cause serious problems, particularly if he's still running. 

You are in the right place. 

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17 yo D. Diagnosed in July 2013. W/R in Sept. 2013 and has remained so. Roller coaster on and off since, mainly with ED under control but co-morbid depression and other negative coping mechanisms making our life hell. Trusting in God for daily strength and wisdom.
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #8 

alan6
I echo all the great advice you have so far. Are you and your wife "requiring" him to eat. It is a distinction between forcing him to eat vs him needing to eat. It is a very powerful statement. My D is only 12 and my H and i still have her young age and that she has  a healthy fear of parents. You  may not have this,  given his age. But I would suggest that if you require him to eat and if he does so then he get his "reward" ie phone, computer time, time with friends etc...
If he does not eat what you have plated then he does NOT get these things he wants. be prepared for a lot of emotions and even physical aggression. That is what I wish someone told me at the beginning. I was not prepared for some of the violence we endured.

The exercise has to stop PERIOD!! He will not get better if he is running. I know how hard that was for us as my D would stand all the time So we had to reward the sitting with phone and computer time. We timed how long she would sit. We started with half hour then increased and after one month of really hard work she has no issues. Sitting activities like music lessons, boating, video games, board games etc.. helped to distract her form the anxiety of NOT exercising. We pulled her out of gym altogether. Now I know he may counter argue that the running is healthy, but you ,as the parent ,could let him know that as the parents, you know best what is good for his health! it is that "extra " strong parenting that I have found to be the most effective. Took us a while to find our groove with that. It is hard to be so strong in the moment of the emotions that may arise, but you have to stay grounded in what you and your wife need to do. Stick to your guns together and  you will get through. But do not wait DO IT NOW. You as the parents are now the therapists. I did not know that for quite a while, thinking the "team" would do the work, Well I was wrong. YOU and you WIFE are the team that will bring your child through this!

Keep going strong we are all here for you!!



momupnorth

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Reply with quote  #9 
I am thinking if your son has lost that much weight so quickly, his health may be in danger.  I would be inclined to take him to the er to get him assessed.  From there, if he is deemed a danger to himself for not eating, he can be kept in hospital against his will for a period of time.  This may be enough to kick start his eating.  If he is at a very low weight, he may not be well enough to see it as a problem.
I, too having been fighting the consent rules in Canada.  Though the doctors/therapists can't tell you anything without his consent, you are free to tell them anything you want.  I would call the doctor and tell him what you have been seeing at home and exactly how much weight your son has lost.  I actually started keeping a log book recording what my child ate every day and (if I knew it) what their weight was.  This helped me know when big issues popped up as we were feeding, when a visit to the doctor was required, when to increase intake or even when I needed to back off a bit.
You are the best advocate you have for your child, even if they don't think they need help!  Keep fighting the good fight!! 

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toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi there,
I saw your other post first and replied, so now I see the background.

OK. Here is my twopence worth.

Just like you I hadnt a clue at the start of this really horrible journey. The advice above is excellent. My son lost 10kg and was medically unstable, and was hospitalised for 4 months. He was at risk of cardiac arrest. That was just the start of the treatment, this is a very long road. 

I had brought him to our Doctor 4 times, and still the doc said he was fine, until I researched and diagnosed him myself and arrived at the doc's with the paperwork for referral....Most doctors have no clue about ED and I wasted 4 months as my kid was getting sicker and sicker.

So regarding your son and understanding... It is a symptom of the illness that he will not agree and not understand, so no amount of talking to him will work, only it may make things worse....
It is important to separate the eating disorder from your Son... Your Son has no control of this, and does not understand this ,it is fully controlling him... so you must take control.

The very first part of the puzzle is getting him re-fed, no amount of therapy is going to help him until he is re-fed.



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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #11 
https://www.mirror-mirror.org/anosognosia.htm
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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #12 
http://tabithafarrar.com/2016/12/anosognosia-eating-disorders-dont-know-sick/
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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
toothfairy

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Reply with quote  #13 
You also need top stop him from exercising, his heart and organs could already be seriously compromised..
Many of us discovered when our kids entered treatment that they were much more seriously ill that we thought.

http://www.something-fishy.org/dangers/dangers.php

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Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery, (Phase 3 ) and Living life to the full, like a "normal"[biggrin] teen. This is with thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time. Getting him to a much higher weight, and with a much higher calorie plan than his clinicians gave him as a target, was instrumental to getting him to the strong recovery that he is in now. Food is the medicine.
BattyMatty_UK

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Reply with quote  #14 
Alan, it might be worth reading the PDFs I've compiled of my blog archive posts, from 2011. We have a son who fell sick with anorexia in 2009, aged 15, and my blog describes just about everything we went through plus how we got him through to recovery. Today he is 23 and fully recovered. I know my blog has helped a lot of parents of sons with eating disorders which is why i write it. You can download the PDFs by clicking the link on the right on the desktop version of my blog: https://anorexiaboyrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/

You can also read about our story on this page from my blog (based on a talk I did for parents a few years ago - it's a verbatim transcript) https://anorexiaboyrecovery.blogspot.co.uk/p/in-november-2013-i-gave-talk-at.html

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Bev Mattocks, mother of 23-year old male DX with RAN 2009, now recovered. Joined this forum in 2010 - it was a lifesaver.
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