F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum

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needhelp

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Reply with quote  #1 
Please share any information/experience you might have regarding anxiety medication to help with anxiety that might have been present prior to the eating disorder, and is current during the eating disorder. I would love to know about experiences, videos, articles, anything to help with this decision. Yes, they mentioned that it can usually be tapered off with recovery. Very new area for me - am looking forward to hear from the FEAST crew with your vast knowledge of all things ED. Thanks!!
OneToughMomma

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Reply with quote  #2 
hi, needhelp,

With the support of a psychiatrist, my d was put onto anti anxiety medication during her recovery.  We couldn't tell if it made a difference to her recovery and weight gain, since that was improving already at that point.  There was a definite improvement in her other anxieties.  

Over the years d (a young adult) has decided she didn't need the medication and then tried stopping it on her on.  It has always ended with her deciding that she is better with them, and she returns to the fold independently.

I think if she were really keen, she could titrate down and get off them with no medical consequence, but stopping them suddenly is pretty traumatic.  Also, I do think she really benefits from them.  We just noticed that the medication 'chops the top off' those waves of anxiety.  She's still the same person, just a little more in control of her emotions.  

So, the Tough house would recommend.

Of course this will be a decision you'll need to make with your d's team, and it can take time to get the type and dosage right.

xoOTM

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D in and out of EDNOS since age 8. dx RAN 2013. WR Aug '14. Graduated FBT June 2015 at 18 yrs old. [thumb]
tina72

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Reply with quote  #3 
Hi needhelp,
it is so great that your d is doing better and that she could do such normal things as going out with friends again. Yes, it is a rollercoaster and you will see her doing 2 steps forward and one step backwards but the whole line is FORWARD. Slowly and not without complications, but forward. My d has no siblings and I am glad for that today, I do not know how I could have managed that as we live with grandparents in the house to care for.
So to answer your question from Eva´s thread, we are doing well and fight the rest of ED and my d is still making progress. At easter lunch (which was a big lunch) she had her first second plate, only a little bit, but counting. It will need time to see full recovery but I think we are at least at 80%. She is finishing school at the moment and I hope she can go to university an hour away in October.

To answer your question: my d was never on real anxiety meds because we feared the side effects, but we tried Bachflowers and some plant medicine like Baldrian to calm her down a bit and I think it worked. She was always an anxious kid like most AN kids are. I now understand that this might be because their brain is working different. My d has problems to seperate what is important and what not. She always thinks everything is equally important so she is afraid to miss something if she chooses to do x and not y. We now try to show her that making mistakes is no fault but a learning process and that many ways lead to Rome. We show her more often that we make mistakes, too, and how we solve that. We try to encourage her to do things her way and alone. We try to encourage her to drive her car on different routes (she would always take the same "safe" one if she could decide that). Little steps but we think we see some progress now. She is more confident than ever before ED at the moment and it seems that surviving ED has changed something in her brain. She is less perfectionistic, takes time off from learning, is doing homework in school breaks...Maybe that is because of age (she is 18 now), but maybe also because she had seen that she had the power to survive ED. She is now proud of that, too. A big difference compared to last year.

I think looking back I put her in wadding too much. She was too anxious to go to the bakery alone and so I did not ask her to do that any more. I should have done it like refeeding, in tiny steps. Walk with her to the bakery and then ask her to go in alone and order things. Like that. She was afraid of so many things and we accepted that. We should have worked on that earlier.
You do not have the right time to fight ED and anxiety at the moment, so I would try meds in your case, too. Maybe you can think to start with some plant medicine first. But after seeing light at the end of that tunnel think about what she is afraid of and how you could tackle that like fear food.

Tina72

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d off to University now 22 months after diagnose, still doing FBT and relapse prevention 
Mamaroo

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Reply with quote  #4 
Like Tina, my d wasn't on any prescription medication. I stated to suffer during refeeding and took some over the counter herbal medication, Ashwangandha, which worked very well for me, so I gave it to my d as well and her anxiety decreased a lot. That prompted me to investigate natural anti anxiety meds and led me to 5htp, which is an amino acid, which the brain converts into serotonin. I gave that to her to help her through the extinction burst. Till this day she still gets both, although in lower dosage. I still take Ashwangandha on occasion to help me sleep.
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D became obsessed with exercise at age 9. Started eating 'healthy' at age 9.5. Restricting couple of months later. IP for 2 weeks at age 10. Slowly refed for months on Ensures alone, followed by swap over with food at a snails pace. WR after a year at age 11 in March 2017. She is back to her old happy self and can eat anything put in front of her. Now working on intuitive eating.
needhelp

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Reply with quote  #5 
Thank you so much for all your responses.  I never even thought about the natural options - one of the reasons this forum is great! 

My D is not a particularly anxious gal. She has one fear food (rice) - and is eager to have it today at an Asian restaurant, for lunch.  She easily joins social groups, and she's a performer.  Yet, she has demonstrated signs of anxiety during ED, as she has faced the stresses of weight regain and dealing with the ED voice that will fight her along the way. it seems to be paired with emotional lability - which made me think of One Tough Mama's  "chop the crest off" comment.  There was some of this prior to ED, but now it is rather evident - to the point where she is on board with the idea of trying meds for a short term.  That part scares me a bit - the getting off the drugs. I do like the idea of slowly decreasing the dose.  Is there an addition factor? She has never taken anything stronger than an antibiotic (and only either once or twice) - so definitely new territory. I am going to call the psychiatrist today.  If anyone knows of any specific questions I should ask - please let me know. I will definitely inquire about the naturals (probably won't get much on that topic - but I never shy away from a question) - and I will continue to research on my own.

As always - thank you for your help with this matter.
scaredmom

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Reply with quote  #6 

Hi I will add in about our experience. D had some perfectionistic qualities prior to ED ie anxiety and it got really bad with ED. We started with olanzapine and it did nothing. Then she was put on Zoloft(sertraline) I don't know if it helped as I did not really see her calmer, but when she had gained a significant amount of weight I see her anxiety is so much better. She is only on a low dose of 50mg once per day and I want to start weaning soon.
As for specific questions:

1) does this drug increase or decrease weight sertraline can decrease weight in 7% of children who use it , so I was very worried when she started taking it as we were not even close to WR and olanzapine can increase weight in some and cause sleepiness.
2) Any daytime sleepiness
3) with or without food
4) Suicidal side effects
5) Gi side effects ie nausea, vomiting

Good luck!


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Food+more food+time+love+good professional help+ATDT+no exercise+ state not just weight+/- the "right" medicine= healing---> recovery(--->life without ED)
tina72

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Reply with quote  #7 
What mamaroo describes is very important:
AN patients often have a high serotonin level (from birth). You can read that all in Carrie Arnolds book "Decoding anorexia" which is great.
The natural high serotonin level causes anxiety if it gets down a bit and serotonin is missing. So if possible, think about adding something to increase that.

Our GP tested another stress hormon in her blood which is called Cortisol here. It was high with the first blood test in October (more than 18, should be 3-19). After adding zinc and vitamin B12 for 4 months on high dosis (this was missing, too), her Cortisol level was nearly half in February although she was preparing for final school exams at that time (and therefor had in fact a lot of stress). Maybe worth to have a look on that?

With naturals there is no risk to get addict if you use it like prescripted I think. If it is the "normal" AN anxiety about food and getting fat and ED voice and the normal emotional lability (crying without cause, up and down like a rollercoaster caused by hormons coming back, no compassion for others etc) I would definitively try some natural meds first and leave the heavy meds for heavy cases.

Tina72

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d off to University now 22 months after diagnose, still doing FBT and relapse prevention 
doris

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Reply with quote  #8 
My D was prescribed 2.5mg olanzapine by the psychiatrist whilst she was in hospital, it made her incredibly tired to start with but did take the edge of the anxious thoughts so she was able to eat. She was on it for about 4 months but a couple of weeks ago forgot to take it before she went to bed (she is now in her target weight range so much better in lots of other respects) she woke up the next morning and told me she'd forgotten to take it but she felt amazing..it felt like a fog had lifted, she felt brighter and could see more clearly. I spoke to the psychiatrist and GP who both said if she continues to feel ok then fine.. if she dips I still have some she can take. She is getting more and more like her old self everyday. Fingers crossed we keep heading in the right direction. x
needhelp

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Reply with quote  #9 
Thank you so much for all your stories and insights.  I truly find this extremely valuable.  After reading about your daughters dispositions pre-ED, and the various paths you have each taken with your families - I think I would like to read that book that was mentioned, and look into the hormones in her blood, and possibly tap into some natural items.  D was never particularly anxious, unless she procrastinated or felt ill-prepared for something. She had no social anxieties - anything from which she became anxious was about 75% self caused.  I think there are some areas that could be addressed through therapy.  She did (and may still - never know when things might come back) have anxiety about weight gain - it lasts a few hours (this typically arises if constipated) - but it is not regular.  I am not sure if she presents with enough reason to attempt to add these types of drugs to her life. I am not against medications for her, if they are warranted, but as I read about your daughters, and various articles - I question that as a direction (but ask me again if the roller coaster takes a plunge!!). I think there is no crime in trying a more natural route - no now doesn't mean no forever. Nevertheless, I am an info gatherer by nature, and would love to hear anything related to this topic that anyone has to share. Again, thank you.
deenl

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Reply with quote  #10 
Hi needhelp,

My son refused all medication. I do believe a quick acting, short term medication like olanzipine would have taken the edge off the refeeding struggles and rituals. I, howver, did need meds for a period. It helped enormously as I didn't have the emotional energy for therapy myself and just needed some quick acting meds for a couple of weeks to get me over a difficult hump. 

Warm wishes,

D

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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.
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