Friday, April 24, 2015

Dear ICED: Getting Family Based Treatment for Eating Disorders Early Can Save Lives!

Eating Disorders are brain-based, biological illnesses with a strong genetic component and a psychosocial influence. They are not disorders of choice, vanity or family dysfunction. As with autism and schizophrenia, we don't know everything, but we do know we were wrong about a lot for a very long time. Help us challenge stigma and fight for resource parity for these deadly disorders!
Nell Justice
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Getting Family Based Treatment for Eating Disorders Early Can Save Lives!

In 2012 my youngest child was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa.  She was 16. She was a competitive
soccer player, top of her game. She quit soccer, couldn't eat. I thought she was just depressed because of quitting. She complained of feeling bloated and she started having anxiety attacks and couldn't eat. She had lost 17 pounds in a very short time. She was small to begin with.

I had no idea what was happening, she was losing weight and couldn't eat. I took her to the
pediatrician where he diagnosed her with Anorexia Nervosa. He explained that he did not handle
patients with AN but gave me the name of a psychiatrist, told me to read the book, Eating With Your
Anorexic by Laura Collins. I was also advised to go to UCSD if the psychiatrist didn't work out.
On my own I found, Around the Dinner Table (FEAST).  Here I learned about family based therapy. We found the only therapist that did FBT in our state of Nevada and took her there.

With this evidence-based approach FBT, group therapy and DBT skills, my daughter is now in
recovery. She continues to go to therapy every 2 months just to stay on top of things.  My daughter remembers feeling fat at age 4. She remembers restricting at age 11. I never knew any symptoms of eating disorders. I knew that she was a perfectionist and had OCD. I didn't know those were personality traits that are common in a person who has a brain wired to develop an ED. Watching a child roll around in a fetal position calling themselves a fat pig and shaking to put a fork of food to their mouths is horrible! Watching them starve because they just can't eat is beyond painful.

Eating Disorders are a mental illness! A Brain disorder!

More can and should be done to help those who suffer! More research, more education, more evidence-based treatment and more insurance coverage! Families should not have to go bankrupt to get medical care for their dying loved one!  I will never stop trying to educate others, it could save a life!

Nell Justice, Las Vegas Nevada

PS. The psychiatrists knew NOTHING about eating disorders and she didn't accept insurance. First

visit was $500 dollars and then $300 dollars an hour! Parents are desperate to get help and often go

broke trying to find it!

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