Thursday, April 23, 2015

Dear ICED: Ongoing support is needed to sustain recovery!

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!
Eating Disorders:  Ongoing support is needed to sustain recovery!  

My 16 yr old daughter was officially diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa in November 2014 with the help of her dietitian she had been seeing since July. The seriousness of her illness came to light when I discovered she had been wearing weights for her weekly weigh-ins. Due to the seriousness of her illness, her dietitian advocated for residential treatment center over going through PHP or IOP for her best chance of recovery.
With a broken heart, we started the process. There were only two options in-network in our state (neither of which I felt good about); so we went out of state which was thankfully only a short drive away. We got through the intake, got all the blood labs, tests needed done; and got our admit date. I thought everything was a go. I was wrong.
We showed up for our admission appointment and had to go through more intake process, only to find out insurance had not officially authorized treatment. After 6 hours of waiting, insurance denied authorization. They denied because my daughter had not ‘stepped up’ through the process with Partial inpatient (PHP) or Intensive outpatient (IOP) programs. The treatment center fought for us. Two days, only two days, were finally approved – AND ONLY because after looking our insurance saw that we had no options for PHP or IOP in our immediate area. I remember I thought “two days? Why bother? I don’t want her to go through this and then be sent home”, this just wasn’t right. Four days later she was sent to the ER for some medical stabilization. Get the message now insurance?? She went back to the residential treatment center after the hospital discharge. My daughter ended up being there for 47 days, approval coming in 3-5 day increments. I understand the reason for approval coming in short increments, but it is extremely hard on parents who are fighting for the life of their child. She received extra time there due to the fact we had no treatment options in our area.  My daughter’s stay there was successful.  She left weight restored, happy, and motivated for recovery.
Fast forward a few months through PHP and IOP at one of few options for treatment as I said, an hour away from home. The treatment center that we were able to go to was not a good step down program for my daughter. In addition to focus on regularizing eating she also needed psychodynamic therapy.  Her time there ended up being traumatic for her, leaving her with a lot of anger, and leading her to the beginning of relapse. Now we are facing the same difficulties finding an outpatient ED therapist. I never knew getting treatment for such a devastating illness would be so hard and complicated.
The author prefers to remain anonymous.

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