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.

Join these conversations already in progress:
• Road To Recovery - Stories of Hope
• Events for Parents and Caregivers Around the World
• Free F.E.A.S.T Conference Videos

Visit the F.E.A.S.T website for information and support.

If you need help using the forum please reach out to one of the moderators (listed below), or email us at bronwen@feast-ed.org.

Need to talk with another parent? F.E.A.S.T. parents offer peer support via:

The signs are all back that AN is raging in my son's head. 🙁

7 years ago my 12 year son was diagnosed with AN.  We weight restored him with the Maudsley approach then at 16 year of age he relapsed and was in residential treatment in Roger's Memorial Hospital for 3 months now he is 19 years old adult.

I am looking for insight on how to help him make the phone call for treatment and get help.  He is an adult and the treatment programs want to speak to him for the intake. (not me!!!)

We do communicate often and my husband/I emailed him a letter about our concerns today.

Currently, he is a sophomore living on campus about an hour away. 

During Christmas break while he was home we observed all the signs that he is in a downward spiral and this past week I received a phone call from a friend about their concerns. He does have a limited treatment team at campus but is no longer willing to see them.

An intensive treatment facility is not in our state and he will have to unenroll in classes. Which will be a reason for him not to make the call.  I can already hear all the excuses for not needing help.

Please let me know what has worked for YOU?
As a mum of an also 19 year old d I would ask myself some questions:
Who pays for his university and his living there? If you, you set the rules.
Is there a mental heath unit at University you can contact? They can probably help you to get him off for a health break.
If you have any say in his financial situation I would make very clear that I will not pay one dollar for ED any more and that he needs to come home and get treatment NOW. If he has own money to fund University that is off.

We have a contract with our d (she is 2 years in recovery) that we pay for University, living, cellphone, car etc. as long as she is going to the GP regularly, maintaining her weight and eating 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. If any of this three is not done, the money is stopped. She knows we are serious about that and she loves her car and being at University so she works together with us as a team now.
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
There is no doubt that it gets harder and harder, the older they are and the longer anorexia hangs around. I notice you posted last year about your son coming to Australia soon. Is that now off the table? 

At this stage we need to tread carefully as they can literally up and leave if they choose to do so. At the same time, I have found sharing my concerns, setting some firm boundaries as to what you expect to happen and how you think this should happen often do bear more fruit than one would expect. Often D will argue but you notice lately she is complying anyway. Those boundaries can include financial supports too. Of course never go down a path you are not 100%prepared to commit to.

I believe you are in the US. Would he consider doing something such as the TBT course at Center for Balanced living? This is looking at using their traits to help them be more successful in fighting their eating disorder, and uses family supports too. 
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13. Mostly recovered 10 years later.  Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
Dear Botswick Lake Girl,
Our d. went off to college and I brought her home before she had completed her first semester freshman year because she was too ill to be there. Then she spent a year at home and in treatment before going back. She went back before she was fully recovered. This is how we have handled it and at the moment she is doing very well.

Before she left again we let her know that she would need to remain in treatment for as long as she needed to, and that she would need to weigh enough to be able to be away at college. 

Recovery has not been a straight line. So when her weight went down we tried a few different things. 

I let her know I could help her during breaks from school and she came home and I fed her. She had to gain enough to be able to go back. She was not happy about it but let me do it.

I spent time up visiting with her eating and shopping and preparing food. At first I went up every two weeks.

At one point when things were not going well with her weight we let her know that if there wasn't a change, she would find herself at home and could take some time off from school while we helped her at home. We went to see her nutritionist with her and discussed what we could do to turn things around. I will support recovery but I will not support anorexia. She was very angry with me at the time,  but somewhat miraculously, she gained the weight back on her own after that. 
Now I usually see her once a month and she seems to be enjoying all the opportunities she has and doing well socially also. This winter break was the very first time that I didn't plan out high calorie meals in order to get her to gain, but we just ate what people would eat. She has been out of the hospital for nearly 3 years. She was determined to never have to go back again even though getting to where she is now was harder than she may have thought it would be.


I am sorry to hear your son is relapsing.  
It is good that he is not far from home.  You and you husband should drive to see him, dial the number to the treatment center and  and hand him the phone.  Just about a year ago I had to do the same thing with my daughter (she was 20 and in relapse). 

With the support of her doc and therapist (whom she trusts) we insisted she take a medical leave from school.  She was immediately admitted for 10 days in her university hospital for shockingly low heart rate and potassium levels - purging sends them downhill so fast. After being informed by her doctor that she needed to have longer term treatment out of state, her school fully refunded her paid tuition and housing costs for the semester (she left in mid-February, about 4 weeks into a 12 week term).

I am sure part of your son knows he needs to go to treatment, but his illness will not let him take the first step.  "Force" him into it.  Have him sit between you and your husband and hand him the phone - treatment centers know that ED sufferers often have little to no insight into their condition when actively ill and understand he may be reluctant to talk.

We sent our daughter to a treatment program 800 miles from home, so I understand your concerns about not having good nearby option. But at this college age, we have to be aggressive about treatment - the days of our ability to force treatment because they are still financially dependent are waning.  Best of luck to you and your family. Let us know how things are going.

Thank you all for the insight. 

Foodsupport_AUS you are correct in seeing that he was to go to Sydney from a previous post.  Last month his university's treatment team recommended him not to attend the overseas study program. So we meet with him for lunch and informed him that he was not in a good place and we could not allow him to go. Lots of tears were shed and for a few days he would not text us however he began communication again and we had a nice time together when he was home for 2 weeks during Christmas break.  While home we requested he not be running or working out until he put on 10 pounds.  We thought he was complying with our request but later found out from his friends he was running extreme miles.😩

When in residential treatment a few years ago he requested the paperwork to be released. Under state law in Wisconsin a minor could sign themselves out of treatment.  We sat on pins and needles for 3 days thinking we were going to have to pick him up but at the last minute he agreed to stay and revoked the signed documents. From this past experience I guess I am not hopeful that he will make that call or agree to sign the paperwork stating he needs treatment. My husband and I are willing to use whatever influences are possible to get him help. (As you can tell we did not allow him on the trip)

It is good to hear from you all and that your techniques worked to get your loved one into treatment. 

Oh, I forgot to ask in my last post. What is TBT? 
What would happen if you tell him you will not pay for another semester until he has started any treatment?
Keep feeding. There is light at the end of the tunnel.