Eating Disorders Are a Family Affair

The eating disorders anorexia and bulimia nervosa can be grave without early and appropriate intervention. Complications can include a range of symptoms–from cardiac arrhythmias to depression and suicide–so immediate treatment is crucial.

Parents who try to “correct” their child’s eating disorder on their own can end up frustrated, and rightly so. It requires a great deal of persistence and patience, plus a delicate balance of firmness and empathy.

To overcome eating disorders, there is strength in numbers. That is why involvement of family members–including siblings, grandparents, close aunts/uncles and cousins–with the assistance of a comprehensive program are so helpful. After all, eating disorders don’t only affect the patient, but also the whole family.

Multiple studies and trials show that family-based therapy (FBT) is the most helpful for patients with anorexia or bulimia. FBT works best for those less than 18 years old, who have had the illness less than three years and have supportive parents. It is typically most beneficial when it lasts between 6 and 12 months. Family commitment to being involved is vital, because the ultimate goal is for the child to enact healthier eating behaviors at home.

Team Approach to Eating Disorders

Parents are a child’s best advocate to help in recovery from an eating disorder. While a family’s participation is the first step, the involvement of a psychiatrist, psychologist, pediatrician/adolescent medicine physician, nurse, social worker and registered dietician can all help. The Eating Disorders Center offers all of these professionals in one place. And since FBT may not work for everyone, the center can tailor treatment for each patient.

Please contact the Eating Disorders Center to find out about our comprehensive program, family-based therapy and other treatment modalities.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)