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akeys

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Reply with quote  #1 
Hi

I am slowly pulling my head out of the sand and suspect my 17 year son has had an eating disorder for at least 2 years.

His BMI is currently 18 but he admitted to me a few days ago he weight was lower making it 16

He is refusing to admit there is any wrong and to go the doctor.

For the last few years every time he has started restricting food I have not said a word against it and just put a huge effort into feeding him, he would slowly go back to eating again so I have managed to keep him at about the same weight.

Two things have prompted me to joining this forum; I went away for a couple of weeks (booked when he was ok) and left a relative to keep an eye on him, he was extremely thin when I got back and admitted to me that he didn't eat (the fridge was full of the food I had left him). He wants to go to Uni Sept 2019. I am very concerned about what would happen if I wasn't around to feed him when he needs it.

A few days ago I stood up to him for the first time - he said he was going to loose 3 kilos I said I wasn't going to let him do that (probably the wrong thing to say but it just came out). I sugested he go to the doctor for diagnosis after a debate about his eating. He said 'fuck that'. That day he had no meals at all just packets of crisps.

I am a single mum his dad lives abroad.

Any advice for getting him to go and get assessed and ultimately some help?
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #2 
A very warm welcome, akeys,

I am sorry you needed to find your way here and I am glad that you found this site. This is the place where you will get a lot of support and great advice.

Could you let us know where you are located? There is always someone here who has been in your shoes, literally and will have a lot of advice for you.

Please search for the videos on re-feeding here. There are many. Please look up Toothfairy's posts, there are so many great videos to help you understand and help you help your son.

Please look up CEED http://www.ceed.org.au/
There are a lot of resources for care givers. 


It is a hard road and a marathon not a sprint. I want you to know that recovery is possible. 

I do think he needs medical attention first. Is he dizzy? If he is not drinking for 24 hr please go to the emergency dept and share your concerns. If no food or very little please take him to the emergency room.
Do you have support? Grandparents, friends, relatives? 

Please ask all the questions you have, we are all ears.

XXX


akeys

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Reply with quote  #3 
Thanks for your reply.

I am on the border of Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.

He is showing no signs of being dizzy he is currently in his home gym lifting weights. He has eaten 2 slices of pizza for lunch without question and is drinking ok (often my wine!). I don't think he needs ER but if he ever did I have no idea how I would actually get him to go.

My family and friends think he is just going through a teenage phase...... I have been so anxious I think they think its me with the problem. I haven't spoken to his father, we are in the middle of a divorce. If I was to get him involved he would fly over and bully him into going to treatment do you think I should do this? Has anyone successfully forced an older male teen into going to the doctor?

akeys

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Reply with quote  #4 
Ok now I am confused.

Just found him in the kitchen weighing a glass of coke and scanning the barcode. I quizzed him thinking this was about restricting but then he said he wants to eat 1900 calories per day so he can add muscle (he added as he walked away "but it probably wont last)

He has now asked for pasta and tuna with full fat may (all weighed and scanned).

Has anyone else experienced this?

In the past he was always saying to me next week you will need to do more shopping as I am going on a high calorie diet. Next week never came as he has never done it.
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #5 

Hi akeys,
I do think he may need medical assessment. You need to get a diagnosis and treatment plan. It may be hard to get him to the doctor, I get it but no impossible. Do you have a way to use incentives ie take away phone until he sees the doctor, or have a friend or family member talk to him or even take him?

Once you have a diagnosis then you can get a plan. 

XXX

tina72

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Reply with quote  #6 
Hi akeys,
a very warm welcome from Germany and sorry that you have to be here, but you have found the best site to get help at the moment. This forum saved our life.
What you say about your son is looking like he has an ED, but we are no doctors and therefor you need a diagnosis.
What speaks for ED:
1. He is underweight.
2. He refuses to have a problem.
3. He seems to be counting calories. 1900 is way too low for a 17 year old boy.
4. He is weighing and scanning what he eats.

This is not your fault and a good ED team will not say that. AN is a genetic metabolism disease.
You can help him to recover from that. To say that you will not accept that he loses 3 more kilos was very good. You must show ED that you will not accept this behaviour. We can help you with that.
Is he over exercising?
Is he purging?
Does he hide food?
Is he restricting special food (meat, cheese, sweets...?)? We call that "fear food".

First thing is to get him to the doctor. If he is restricting for 2 years there can already be some physical damage. His heart, blood and bones need to be checked. AN patients often have less minerals and vitamins in blood and that can cause severe heart damage, and they often develop osteoporsis in early years.

How to get him to the doctor? Let us help you with some ideas. My d was 17 at diagnosis and I had the same problem.
Although he is 17 you have some power left. He is living in your house and you pay for everything I suppose.
So you set the rules. Make an appointment. Tell him when it is and that you will go there with him no matter what comes. AN is a life threatening disease. Tell him that he cannot refuse that without consequences. If he refuses, think about cancelling his cellphone. No TV any more (if you have netflix, cancel that). Life stops until this appointment is done. You will not drive him to x and you will not wash his clothes any more. You will not pay for anything until he is cooperative.

He cannot go to University in 2019 when he is not recovered, you are totally right. He will not do anything a normal young adult boy will do until you get ED out of the house. You can help him with that.

If you have a GP or pediatrician who knows him for longer try to talk to them seperatly before you come in with your son and tell them that you are afraid he has an ED and that you need their help. They should tell him that you are in charge for food intake now until he is better.
Try to find a FBT therapist in your region. You can find them on maudsley parents site.

Tina72
akeys

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Reply with quote  #7 
Thank you to you all for the support.

I need to get tough I can see that now. He will never agree to get help.

I will plan it all out then just do it.
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #8 
akeys,
Please look at deenl's posts and toothfairy's they have boys with ED. They have done well and would have really great advice to offer. It may be slightly different for the boys but ultimately it is the feeding that is the most important.

please keep reading and empowering yourself. Come back here for support anytime.[smile]

XXX
deenl

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Reply with quote  #9 
Hi akeys,

Wrote you a long reply on my phone earlier but somehow lost it. Anyway, the more condensed version:

A warm welcome from a mom of 3 boys.

Seeing how much my non ED 17yo eats I know 1900 is way too low. I doubt my 11 yo eats only 1900. 

EDs in boys can manifest itself in a desire for muscles and a certain physique. Many with ED obsessively lift weights. And as you have seen there is no weight that is low enough for ED, it always moves lower and lower.

In your shoes, I would fill in the form on this website. It is a list that you can print out for your doctor of the particular worrying symptoms your son is showing. As many GPs are unfamiliar with EDs esp. in boys, I would be inclinded to meet with your GP alone for the first discussion. We brought our son to the first appt and the bleedin'eejit said son was fine even though he had lanugo [confused] and it set us back hugely. If the GP is helpful you can consider the next steps together, if not, find someone else.

The printout may also be useful when disucssing the issue with your son's father. It may also be helpful to direct him to our learning centre.

The most helpful book in detailing the 'but how' of refeeding is Eva Musby's book (also her website) And I loved reading about the personal story combined with the science in Carrie Arnold's Decoding Anorexia.

Please feel free to post often with any and all questions. Our journey turned a corner when we discovered this forum and the power of parents.

Warm wishes,

D

__________________
2015 12yo son restricting but no body image issues, no fat phobia; lost weight IP! Oct 2015 home, stable but no progress. Medical hosp to kick start recovery Feb 2016. Slowly and cautiously gaining weight at home and seeing signs of our real kid.

May 2017 Hovering around WR. Mood great, mostly. Building up hour by hour at school after 18 months at home. Summer 2017 Happy, first trip away in years, tons of variety in food, stepping back into social life. Sept 2017, back to school full time for the first time in 2 years. Happy and relaxed, just usual non ED hassles. 

  • Swedish proverb: Love me when I least deserve it because that's when I need it most.
  • We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence Recovery, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle.
  • If the plan doesn't work, change the plan but never the goal. (but don't give up on the plan too soon, maybe it just needs a tweak or a bit more time and determination [wink] )
  • We cannot control the wind but we can direct the sail.
akeys

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Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks everyone it has made me feel so much better to get support and advice here I was feeling so alone. I feel stronger already.
Torie

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by deenl
In your shoes, I would fill in the form on this website. It is a list that you can print out for your doctor of the particular worrying symptoms your son is showing. As many GPs are unfamiliar with EDs esp. in boys, I would be inclinded to meet with your GP alone for the first discussion. We brought our son to the first appt and the bleedin'eejit said son was fine even though he had lanugo [confused] and it set us back hugely. If the GP is helpful you can consider the next steps together, if not, find someone else.


I wasn't familiar with this term, but my d's doc was also a bleedin'eedjit who set us back badly.  (My d is doing really well now.)  So I love deenl's suggestion to speak privately with the doc first, even if you have to pay out of pocket for the visit because the actual patient is not in attendance.

It's an interesting option to have your son's dad escort him to treatment.  I wouldn't rule the idea out, but first, you need to find out what kinds of treatment options you have there.  Also, is his dad in the US by chance?  There are sometimes more treatment options here.  xx

-Torie

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

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Reply with quote  #12 
Hi Torrie thanks for your reply.

I have booked an appointment at my local doctors with a male doctor I have met before they can't get me in until next week.. I also have an appointment booked for my son for the next day so I hope it goes ok. I plan to go well armed for the 1st appointment with info I noticed there are things to print off and take on the Beat website.

I have some time to research local treatment but I have seen there is somewhere called Eating Disorder Service which is NHS and has family therapy listed on it's website. It's half an hour away but in a different county.

His dad is in Cyprus we are right in the middle of a ling divorce. I have decided I need to get him involved so we are on the same page. I will need to throw everything at my son to get him to the doctor. No tv. No driving lessons. No internet. It could be a massive challenge. Planning to not tell him day and time (otherwise he will not come home).

I have read Evas book which led me to this site so I kind of feel a little prepared but I hate confrontation so its going to be a struggle but I am determined to help him.
teecee

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi akeys
I wrote a reply but think it got lost so here I go again (I’m new to this!)
Firstly you are an amazing mum having already taken action and put your son first.
We live in Yorkshire and found the 111 telephone service fantastic. They gave me confidence to present at A&E and instruct them to request the Crisis Team, having already had the telephone assessment.
Don’t be put off if they fail to recognise symptoms. My 16 yr D was checked by nurse, GP and A&E staff desperately and they were non concerned initially. Physical symptoms put down to a virus. 111 were very supportive and made me present at A&E again (when we requested Crisis Team). This led to CAMHS appointment the same week and diagnosis almost immediately.
CAMHS have been a great support even with lack of funding (which can be frustrating waiting for appointments).
My D became extremely open when the ‘cat was out of the bag’. She said she felt immense relief at not having to lie and was relieved when we ‘found her out’. She knew she had to be completely honest to recover. Having said that some of the honesty was hard to hear so please be prepared if you do get the ED diagnosis.
Keep doing the best for your son. You’re an amazing mum!!
tina72

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hi akeys,
you are doing exactly the right things and I hope you will get help soon.
Evas book is a great help because you find nearly every situation you might get in there.

"No tv. No driving lessons. No internet." You have found great incentives there. Try to use them not as blame and punishment, say it always positivly: "If you finish your meal you can watch TV" "If you are in a healthy state you can get on with driving lessons."

Think about a contract:
We offered our d to buy a car if she keeps WR for 6 months and we did and it is a great joy for her today.
Some here had a piggy bank on the table and put in for example 5 dollars/euros/pounds for every meal finished or another amount for a hole day to save this money for a car. You can write down in this contract what YOU will do for HIM and what HE needs to do for that (to eat 3 meals 3 snacks, to get weighed every week, to see a doctor when YOU decide it is necessary for example).

You need to play out your cards with young adults, but it is possible. You need to use time until he is 18 and can excluse you from therapy. We tried to have our d WR for some months before she got 18 and that was a very good tip we got from other parents here. When she got 18 she was in good recovery and we could talk about everything and she told the doctors herself that we are in charge and they should tell us everything that is important.
You get it! Keep swimming! You are on the right path!
Tina72
Torie

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Reply with quote  #15 
I think you are in the US (?) so I will mention there are a couple of really great one-week intensive family treatments - one in San Diego (UCSD) and the other in Ohio.  In your shoes, I think I might give them a call and see if they think you are a good fit.  If not, perhaps they can suggest someone more suitable.  There is a HUGE difference between good (lifesaving) treatment and the bleedin'eedjits, who are abundant in number and can be difficult to identify at first meeting.

One week is not enough to set everything straight (not close!) but many here have found that it gets things moving and on the right track.  UCSD is nice because you might be able to wrap in a vacation as an incentive.

Just a thought. xx

-Torie

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

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Reply with quote  #16 
Hi and Welcome,
I am also a boys mum!
My S is 16 and is in strong recovery, so recovery is possible.

I live just across the pond from you in Ireland. If I had known then what I know now, the first thing I would have done, is whisked my S and my family to UCSD in San Diego, to the one week family intensive.
The reason being, that the treatment in our countries can be so out of date, and can really be poor treatment for this potentially life threatening illness.
The other reason is that I would pull out all stops to get there is that this illness takes a very long time to treat, and already your S has been ill for some time , so it will be entrenched, and this could be like a kick start boot camp to get you all on board for recovery if at all possible. 
Here is the link

http://eatingdisorders.ucsd.edu/treatment/oneweek-intensive-treatment-programs.html

If that is not possible, My advice to you is immediately see your GP without him, tell the doc your concerns and that you need him immediately referred to CAMHS for treatment .From what you said above it looks like you are in UK .

You have a very short time to turn things around before he is 18 and can refuse treatment.
This is a very long road and I would advise an immediate intervention, getting your ducks in a row asap.

The other thing is that if his bmi is 16 that is a serious situation and he may be medically unstable.
He will need a complete work up with lots of tests, and may possibly need inpatient. I really would act fast, this illness can be very dangerous, particularly with the exercise purging element.

The home gym needs to go immediately.

 He is not going to agree to treatment as a symptom of this illness is that he does not know he is ill.
Link on anosognosia below.
You will need to " require "him to get treatment and it is not a choice.
https://www.mirror-mirror.org/anosognosia.htm

__________________
Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery,  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  #17 
Re the wine, he is only 17 and has a bmi of 16, I would seriously advise you to not allow him drink alcohol.
Eating disorders, alcohol abuse and substance abuse often go hand in hand making a bad situation worse.

When you go to the GP I would advise the GP of the entire situation.
Often GP'S are not trained in eating disorders so I would bring this with me.
I advise you to read this, print it and mark out all the tests he should get , bring it with you, and don't take no for an answer.

https://higherlogicdownload.s3.amazonaws.com/AEDWEB/05656ea0-59c9-4dd4-b832-07a3fea58f4c/UploadedImages/Learn/AED-Medical-Care-Guidelines_English_02_28_17_NEW.pdf

__________________
Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery,  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  #18 
Deenl posted a link to this above, I would definitely do this as well and bring it to GP  printed.
http://www.feedyourinstinct.com.au/


Best wishes

__________________
Son,DX with AN, (purging type) in 2015 ,had 4 months immediate inpatient,then FBT at home since. He is now in strong recovery,  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.
akeys

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Reply with quote  #19 
Hi thanks for your replies.

His BMI is 18 (I think, I haven't weighed him since Jan). He is currently eating okish he is having no breakfast (he has refused breakfast since he was about 12) instant noodles for lunch (his latest fad) and then a full dinner with snacks like crisps and chocolate after dinner but is still counting calories I think. The fact he is eating snacks and chocolate etc is what has thrown me and made me think he doesn't have an eating disorder up to now. He has no problem with junk food he had a big burger last night. It is fruit and vegetable he refuses to eat. He had piles recently which I thought was probably related to his diet.

The doctor appointment for S is Friday the closer it gets the most stressed I feel. It is going to be sooooo hard to do this alone. What if threats don't work he is an extremely strong willed person (he has been since a baby)? I saw my soon to be ex mother in law the other day for the first time in years and she was very pleasant to me (it is not a acrimonious divorce). She is a very strong assertive person I wondered if I should ask her to help me on 'doctor' day......but if I get her involved I will have to tell sons dad who is highly unpredictable and could side with S against me........

Saw him in shorts on Friday for the first time and he has absolutely no calves or thigh muscles. It was quite a shock.

Thanks again for all the support I wouldn't be able to to this without this site.
akeys

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Reply with quote  #20 
Oh just when you think things couldn't get more stressful just intercepted a package of 4 green pills being delivered. by courier ....obvs drugs.....
Sotired

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Reply with quote  #21 
I’ve read through your thread and I just have some thoughts,potential problems and ideas for you.
Currently your son is eating once a day.no breakfast, instant noodles which have negligible calories but are high in salt and then dinner.
If dinner is unsupervised then you are only seeing what he puts on his plate-no guarantee that any of that is going in his mouth.solution:you need to sit with him for that meal and every other.
If you can’t get him to eat breakfast,he can have morning tea at 10am,a nutrious meal with a lot of calories by preference.
Then a proper lunch.
Then afternoon tea.then dinner.then supper.
Everything he eats needs calories in it.he needs sandwiches with chicken,cheese and a tiny bit of salad.,milkshakes with ice cream and cream and full fat milk in.cheese on toast for a snack.
You don’t say how long it is til he turns 18, but at that point he’s going into the adult system and that has a lot less help available often.
You don’t have a lot of time to get an inpatient stay done if he needs it under the child system.
So don’t delay anything.
At the doctors please insist on his heart rate being taken orthostatically.so this means they first take it lying down,then standing up.what they are looking for is the difference in heart rate between the two.my d has had such marked differences in the past that she has been admitted to hospital.it has meant that she is so dehydrated that she is secretly fainting all the time.
Get bloods done,even if they don’t show much,they are a starting point.insist his potassium level is checked.
The reason for this is if they are low, it is a very good indicator of purging(vomiting on purpose).
When my d was at the stage your son is at ,he ate one meal a day,like him and exercised it off-also like him.whenever she was left unsupervised she exercised.
Gather your support team,family,friends,a good doctor who isn’t afraid to admit your son to hospital if that is what’s needed.
DONT TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER.your son is very sick.you are the one who will be fighting for him the hardest and that means sometimes he is going to say things to you that hurt.underneath your boy loves you,but when anorexia is backed into a corner,challenged and thwarted it fights back.
Be aware of water loading,purging,secret exercising and pro Ana sites.
ASK ALL THE QUESTIONS.all of them.
Be prepared to fight.
Good luck,

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Sotired42
tina72

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Reply with quote  #22 
Some more ideas:
GP: I like the idea of getting MIL for help. How is her realtionship to your sons father? Maybe she can tell him what is happening and that it is very serious and he will listen to her? If s refuses to go there and says he is healthy and GP not needed, just say "o.k., then we easily can go in and proof that."
Breakfast: You really need some calories for breakfast and he needs at least to eat every 4-5 hours to keep his blood sugar level constant. So what about making a smoothie (if he doesn´t like fruits, make a  heavy milk shake with ice cream or cream in it) and bringing it to his bed when he gets up? Just say "here, drink that". AN is often tired in the morning and it is worth a try. If you can try some fruity shakes, you can add canola oil to them (it dissappears in the blender and has no taste) and just say "here, drink that, you need some vitamins".
Is he purging? Try to find out.
Drugs: be aware that patients with ED are often susceptible for drugs, alcohol etc. It makes everything worse so try to stop that.

"What if threats don't work he is an extremely strong willed person (he has been since a baby)?"
Most AN patients are, seems to be part of their character. Do not see it as threat. You don´t ask something unnormal from him, you just ask him to eat normal meals and keep himself healthy. Try to work with rewards with a young adult. Think of a piggy bank for a car or something like that. If he ate a normal meal, you put 5 dollars/euros/pounds into the piggy bank. Positive behaviour should have positive results. If he refuses a meal you can put down his internet or cut off driving lessons. You can tell him his is not allowed to go to school without breakfast.
Parenting a young adult with AN is no normal parenting for a while, it is more like parenting a toddler.

Tina72
akeys

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Reply with quote  #23 
Thanks Tina and Sotired.

Yes I think will try MIL. She is nearly 80 but a tough old bird. So she could stand with me on doctor day and break it to ex.

I will make a note of all the tests to ask for.

No point in threatening school he is missing a lot. I think it's because he is tired. Most of his friends have gone to college and he doesn't seem to be able to make new ones.

I am sitting with him for dinner and he is eating all of it apart from the veges.

I have searched his room twice for laxatives and found none, also listened at the toilet door and not seen or heard signs of vomiting but he does seem to go to his room/and or toilet after most dinners.

Going to check all internet safety settings.

I have reduced my hours of work to 25 but I can't afford to work less so can't be around for all meals at the moment but I realise I may have to sort something out.
tina72

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Reply with quote  #24 
Go and listen at his room, too and check it for bags and containers. Some don´t purge into the toilet but in their room. Check the bin, too. If he stands up quickly after meals and wants to be alone then, that might ring my alarm bells. Try to watch him at least one hour after meals.

Threatening with school was not possible here, too, because she would have loved not to be able to go to school. Then think about anything else. Is there something he is really fond of/interested in? Can you get him with cinema, video games, ...?

Be aware that the GP might not know much about ED and especially ED with boys. Bring some information about that, too. And don´t leave without the blood and heart check, no matter what happens. Insist in that. Don´t let yourself be handled as a overprotecting mum and let him tell you its only puberty and will fade away soon, as I did.

"She is nearly 80 but a tough old bird." I never heard that before but I LOVE it. Does he love her? That could help you a lot.

Work: Maybe you can take some medical leave for some weeks? I think it would be important to monitor all meals and snacks for the first weeks to get started. What you did not see him eating will not count.

Tina72
Torie

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by akeys
I have searched his room twice for laxatives and found none, also listened at the toilet door and not seen or heard signs of vomiting but he does seem to go to his room/and or toilet after most dinners.


Big red flag, that.  Early on, a wise forum member suggested that I require my d to use the restroom before each meal so that she would be able to stay with me for at least an hour after every meal / snack.  She really hated that, but oh well. So worth it.  WHether he is currently purging or not, there is a danger that he will feel the urge to do so when the weight starts to go on.

Like your son, my ED-kid stopped eating breakfast at a fairly young age, well before the onset of ED.  Since ED, she eats breakfast every. single. day.  I think this is the kind of thing a week at UCSD can help kick start.   

"I saw my soon to be ex mother in law the other day " ... I don't know if this is true, but my sister told me that husbands may come and go, but a mother in law is forever.

Please keep us posted. xx

-Torie

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"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
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P.O. Box 1281 | Warrenton, VA 20188 USA

US +1 855-50-FEAST | Canada +1 647-247-1339 | Australia +61 731886675 | UK +443308280031 

This forum is sponsored by F.E.A.S.T., an organization of parents serving parents and caregivers of patients of all ages with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. Information and advice given on this forum does not necessarily represent the policy or opinion of F.E.A.S.T. or its volunteers and is meant to support, not replace, professional consultation.

F.E.A.S.T. is registered as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

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