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

Welcome to F.E.A.S.T's Around The Dinner Table forum. This is a free service provided for parents of those suffering from eating disorders. It is moderated by kind, experienced, parent caregivers trained to guide you in how to use the forum and how to find resources to help you support your family member. This forum is for parents of patients with all eating disorder diagnoses, all ages, around the world.

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SpiritedPossibility
Hello Parents and Caregivers,

This site is such a remarkable place - I am so incredibly grateful for it and for the support and information I have found here.  Thank you for this :  )

My 17 year old D (along with her Dad and I) have now been in Maudsley treatment at a nearby hospital for one month for her bingeing and purging disorder.  Our D is working very hard at eating 3 meals + 2 snacks a day without bingeing and purging and has not purged for 8 days in a row....the longest period since her ED manifested almost 1 1/2 years ago.  We know that this past summer, due to the crowd she was hanging with at the time, she began to smoke weed every once in a while and was drinking with these friends as well...we were very troubled by this, but also know that we cannot track her activities every second of the day.  She has not had a boyfriend since the end of the summer, but we noticed in the last week and a half (same time frame during which she has been doing really well with her recovery plan) that she has come home stoned once and has also come home on a different day with a hickey on her neck.  Have any of you experienced your teens ramping up other behaviours at the same time that their ED behaviours are beginning to decrease?  We are wondering if this is a typical pattern for older teens and whether she is replacing her purging (which she has said reduced her anxiety) with other numbing choices like weed and sexual behaviours.  Sigh....it seems like 1 step forward, 1 step back.....but we try to remain hopeful as her commitment to recovery does seem to be genuine.  Thanks for any stories or insight you may be able to share.

(((hugs))
SP
17 year old D - diagnosed with bulimia at beginning of December, 2018.  Has been bingeing and purging for a little over a year without our knowledge. Beginning outpatient hospital ED clinic which uses Maudsley Approach in January of 2019.
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debra18
I read that these behaviors are more typical in kids with binge/purge than Anorexia. The therapist should work with your daughter to explore appropriate ways to cope and help her get engaged in healthy activities. You can help her with that too.  Does she have any interests like music, art, pets? Can she volunteer somewhere?
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Foodsupport_AUS
There are definitely parents  on here who have reported this as an issue. As debra18 has mentioned most studies do associate this more strongly with those with binge purge behaviours. You are right in that it is likely she is relieving her anxiety/ distress another way so does not need to rely on those behaviours. Clearly it is not a good path to go down, and I don't think should be considered normal teen behaviour as such. Risk taking as a teen is common behaviour, along with drugs, alcohol and sex. It is a fine line between them exploring their young adultness and veering into this is dangerous territory. 
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.
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SpiritedPossibility
Thank you for your perspective, Debra18...I appreciate it.SP
17 year old D - diagnosed with bulimia at beginning of December, 2018.  Has been bingeing and purging for a little over a year without our knowledge. Beginning outpatient hospital ED clinic which uses Maudsley Approach in January of 2019.
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SpiritedPossibility
Thank you, Foodsupport_AUS.  I appreciate your response - it is so helpful to hear from others.SP
17 year old D - diagnosed with bulimia at beginning of December, 2018.  Has been bingeing and purging for a little over a year without our knowledge. Beginning outpatient hospital ED clinic which uses Maudsley Approach in January of 2019.
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melstevUK
Hi Spirited Possibility,

Sometimes these illnesses are like octopus legs - you manage to tie one leg in with the rest but then another pops out!

I am sorry for what you are going through - does d have to hang out with this crowd and is part of her behaviour about wanting to fit in with everyone around with her, or is it just about alleviating anxiety?
Are there other people she can find to do things with or is it impossible to avoid them?  If the latter, then she needs to develop the skills to learn not to go along with the crowd.  If it is about alleviating anxiety -is she on any medication and if not, would that help?

There is something about a lack of impulsivity control with individuals with an ed who have b/p symptoms, which would fit in with the slightly 'wild' behaviour at the moment.  Part of moving through adolescence is about self-regulation - on all levels, and that takes time.  The temptation to have a good time and get 'high' might seem like a great idea at the moment but later there will be a corresponding low.

Have you spoken openly to your d about what is going on and expressed your concerns?  If you can do that while reinforcing how well she is doing with fighting the ed and maintaining regular eating, maybe you will get to the bottom of what is going on, and a find a way to support her.  There are lots of reasons for her behaviour - but I support FoodSupport above in that I would not consider it a normal  or essential part of teenage life and development.  
Believe you can and you're halfway there.
Theodore Roosevelt.
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Kali

Hi Spirited Possibility,

Having parented 2 kids through their teens (one with ED one who didn't have ED) our experience was that yes they both experimented with weed and drinking and both were sexually active at 17. So we made sure to talk to them about appropriate birth control and protecting themselves against STDs. I also kept an eye out for any signs that they were drinking or smoking to excess.  I do think that, at least where we live, some experimenting is part of normal teen behavior. But making sure their behavior is not too risky or dangerous is also part of the balancing act with older teens. We also discussed how you should not smoke and drink to excess or too often or get in cars with someone who has been drinking or let your friends drive if they have been drinking or smoking, and established some limits. And we tried to keep the relationship such that an open dialogue about what was going on could happen. For example I always let them know that I was available to come and pick them and any of their friends up if they had been  drinking or smoking so that none of them had to drive and there were times they did ask me to pick them up.

Getting the bulimia under control seems like the highest priority. Are you making sure she does not visit the bathroom after eating at home for a couple of hours? 

warmly, 
Kali

 

Food=Love
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tina72
When I learned something with ED is that "my home, my money, my rules" is not a very bad strategy in dealing with teens...
sometimes boundaries are needed and especially with drugs because their brains are very much damaged by ED and you do not need more damage by drugs in addition. A friend of my d (he has no ED) had a very serious brain issue after smoking 2 joints in a holiday camp at age 16. He was IP for 6 months and lost a year in school because of that. Still needing meds 2 years later. Nothing you need in addition.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Kali
Tina I'm sorry about your friends son. There is a genetic mutation which can increase the likelihood of psychosis due to smoking marijuana. I happen to have it and one of my kids had an adverse reaction. I didn't actually know I carried it until recently and many people can smoke with no dangerous effects, but now we are all aware. So that is also something to take into consideration. It is a little scary when so many states are legalizing weed and there is this risk factor.

Kali
Food=Love
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tina72
That is exactly what happened, Kali, I just did not know what the translation is. Was a good learning factor to all his friends that they should think about what they are doing even if it is "only" one joint. His mom did not know that this could happen (me either) so we could not have warned our kids before. They have an anti drug camp in school in 7th grade every year here and even there they were not told anything about psychosis with marijuana. That is no harmless drug.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Francie
Hi SpiritedPossibility, Welcome to the forum, I'm sorry you have to be here but I am certain you will receive the support you need, so you are in a good place in that regard.

My d has 'experimented' with drugs and alcohol, and now I'm afraid we're moving into the realm of dependency on them. So at least in my case I know it goes hand in hand. Especially sufferers with the b/p tendencies, which describes my d.

The only advice I have to share is to know what your boundaries are, let your d know what they are, and stick to them. Take care of yourself. Remember that your sufferer is someone you love, and she likely does not want to be engaging in these behaviors, especially if they get in the way of living a good, productive life, which eventually is what happens. Having compassion and separating the illness from the person might help you cope with the pain of seeing your d engage in self-destructive behaviors. Keep communication open so she always has you to come to. Validate your d's feelings and thoughts, even if it is hard to do so. Look toward the future and imagine a future that is ED and drug and alcohol free and talk with her about it, because it can and will happen.

My d calls herself a failure if she doesn't complete her meal plan, or has a b/p incident, or misses work/school/homework because of ED symptom use or drug/alcohol abuse. I try to remind her that every day is a new opportunity to succeed. That even if the morning goes bad, she can restart her day and her recovery at any time of the day. 

I wish you the best and I hope this has been hepful. Again, you are in the right place to have come here. XO

Francie

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SpiritedPossibility
Francie - thank you so much for your response.  It is heartbreaking to watch our children go through this.  I will reflect on your advice and am thankful for it.  Your D is lucky to have you as a mom!
(((hugs)))SP
17 year old D - diagnosed with bulimia at beginning of December, 2018.  Has been bingeing and purging for a little over a year without our knowledge. Beginning outpatient hospital ED clinic which uses Maudsley Approach in January of 2019.
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Francie
One more thing, SpriritedPossibility, I go to Al Anon meetings. Have been doing so for 2 years and it helps with my anxiety over the situation, and it helps me to find appropriate responses and to identify boundaries for myself. Maybe you are someone who doesn't have problems with getting too emotional, but I have always had that problem so Al Anon has definitely helped with that. I hope today is a better day for you. XO

Francie

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SpiritedPossibility
Thank you, Francie.  I hadn't thought of Al Anon, but will consider it.  I hope you and your family are having an okay day as well.
(((hugs)))SP
17 year old D - diagnosed with bulimia at beginning of December, 2018.  Has been bingeing and purging for a little over a year without our knowledge. Beginning outpatient hospital ED clinic which uses Maudsley Approach in January of 2019.
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