Sunday, March 15, 2015

Canada: Where Treatment Protocols Don't Make Fiscal Sense

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!

Canada: Where Treatment Protocols Don't Even Make Fiscal Sense

I was diagnosed at 16 years old by a psychiatrist I was referred to at a hospital in Ottawa. The meeting lasted no longer than 12 minutes and I was out the door unsure of what step to take next. I had to tell my family doctor the diagnosis myself and explain what little I knew since the psychiatrist did not follow up or contact my GP.

Then on began my battle with the system and multiple eating disorders. As things got worse and my parents were kept in the dark I stopped going to school and demanded to be homeschooled. Meanwhile I slept all day, rarely ate dinner and exercised all day. I had been waiting for a referral to CHEO for 8 months now and I was to be turning 18 five months after my set assessment date. That would be enough time to tackle the disorder right? Wrong because I would not get that chance.

My family and I arrived at CHEO and were told my appointment had been canceled but we had no idea. I was told that the doctors felt that I had more of a mood disorder and that they would not be helping me. Devastated, embarrassed and confused I strived to become more sick. To fit the mold in order to receive proper care.

Things only got worse and my mental and physical health continued to deteriorate and I was barely getting through the average day of grade 12. My Mom ended up contacting Dr. Spettigue from CHEO and explained to her the neglect that went on with my so called referral. By the time I finally met Dr. Spettigue I was ambivalent towards life and recovery. I did not feel I deserved or need recovery.

Thankfully she was able to see and understand that I needed intensive care immediately. Unfortunately for me the program at CHEO was full and to no surprise I had no interest in going into a program that did not think I had an eating disorder. So Avalon Hills in Logan Utah was brought up and she made the referral with my psychologist to have me leave for residential treatment as soon as possible.

It only took a month or so and OHIP came back confirming they would pay for my treatment. I was overwhelmed, excited and unsure. I dove into the program and was there from November 19th 2012 until January 30th 2013. I discharged 2 days before my 18th birthday. I had an option to continue treatment at the adult home or go home and finish grade 12 on time. So of course I was ready to get the heck out. Too bad for me because I came home to a new and final semester of high school and I had no support outside of my home from processionals and I relapsed 2 1/2 months later and wound back at the same state I was before treatment.

There are two ways to look at this. If I had of stayed in treatment for a few more months I might of been in a better state and if I didn't and came home to the system with a proper team then maybe I wouldn't be 20 years old and still dealing with all of this. What would have been best is if I could have done recovery at home so my tradition was not so tough.

I live with a lot of regret and guilt but is it my fault that I have not received the care I need for the correct amount of time? When I left treatment I was still into my disorder but was high on the fact that I had freedom as an 18 year old. If I could go back to that day and did things differently I would.
I hope that our system will finally offer better long-term care here and that when treatment is through recovery isn't. I want men and women to have a different path than me.

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