Monday, July 28, 2014

Meet and March

F.E.A.S.T. Coffee Break at the M.O.M March in D.C.

Are you planning for the March on Washington in September?  If you are: Hurry and register.....September is fast approaching!

Travelling may be a challenge for many reasons-  however, for those of you attending (or considering) a F.E.A.S.T. Coffee Break is planned for Tuesday before the start of the day's events.

When:  10:00 am Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Where:  Starbucks, Lobby of Marriot Hotel, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, D.C.
Registration information:

For those of you on the fence or just beginning to contemplate coming.....please do.  Putting real faces (and families) to the statistics goes a long way in helping dispel the myths around this illness.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Victim, Villain, Hero

I am in a trial. No worries- am not on trial. Along with feeding and watching  (the ED version of 'Eat, Pray, Love') I also do some law.  This has been a crazy summer of trials and they tend to suck everything into them like a black hole.  So, have had little time to sit and get a blog post out (extra energy is directed to above noted feeding and watching) but litigation has me thinking about conflict and stories and eating disorders (like, I said....everything gets sucked into the black hole...even eating disorders).

There is a classic conflict story with 3 characters:

1. The Victim
2. The Villain
3. The Hero

Actually, you could argue that these 3 characters are in every classic story full stop.  The conflict triad is the basis for a primal narrative script that all (not just conflict) stories use (think of your favourite fairy tale or any soap opera or every Hollywood blockbuster you have seen):    Victim (damsel in distress/underdog/orphan who lives under the stairs);   Villain;  Hero (Hollywood especially loves when the Victim becomes the Hero).

Our brains know and love this script.  It feels written into our subconscious and we respond.  Ok- here is my ED leap-

I have been seeing stories of Kesha in my news feed for the last few weeks and they all follow that script:  Kesha is the victim; the Villain is either the "big bad Media" or the "Music Industry"; and, the Hero is rehab/Insight/self-acceptance empowerment (Keshia has the power to love herself no matter what the pressures of the industry).

Same story over and over.  Writers write this story; readers respond to this story. So, I do we reframe? Can we use the same script but recast the players?

Here is my recast:
Victim: Kesha or...Any of our kids
Villain: how about "the perfect storm" or "biological brain disorder" or "precipitating weight loss" or "severe symptomology"
Hero:  "Proper Treatment" or "access to experienced evidence based support" or, maybe even just plain straight up 'Science'.

Let's use the script to our advantage.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Information, Support and HOPE

Project Hope Exchange

This is a really neat project:  A data base of easily accessible messages of hope.

Please consider taking just few minutes of time and leaving a 30 second message on Project Hope Exchange.  It is simple, really.  You can do over the phone or online. 30 seconds.

Information, support and hope got many of us through the worse of it.  Pass some of that on for another family.  The video below gives direction and a template.  Think back to the early days and what gave you hope.....and then tell a stranger-friend on the phone.

Let's make sure families caring for children diagnosed with eating disorders hear that they are not alone and that there is reason to hope.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Round Up and a Birthday Celebration

A few interesting recently published studies:

1. Assessing eating disorder symptoms in adolescence: Is there a role for multiple informants?
Findings: Epidemiologic eating disorder studies should consider the potential value added from incorporating parental reports, particularly in studies of males. 

Interesting....Yes!  Ask Parents what they see.  Wouldn't you think?! (especially with an illness where patient may be anosognosic).

2. Mandating weekly weight gain in a day treatment program for eating disorders.

Findings: Post-treatment weight was significantly higher in patients treated in the required weight gain protocol compared to those treated in the recommended weight gain protocol. All patients, regardless of which program they completed, showed improvements in the measures of eating-disorder and comorbid-psychiatric symptoms.

Interesting.....'required' weight gain protocol yielded significant higher results than 'recommended' weight gain protocol.  I guess that is why LSUYE (Life Stops Until You Eat) yields higher results than "Please, finish if you can".

3. Rank perception and self-evaluation in eating disorders.

Findings:  People with EDs showed vigilance toward social rank-related stimuli and lower implicit positive self-evaluation than HCs. Self-report data confirmed the behavioral findings and showed that people with EDs had higher levels of unfavorable social comparison, submissive behaviors, and external and internal shame than HCs. People who had recovered from an ED showed an intermediate profile between the two groups.

Interesting.....that low self-evaluation is a 'symptom' not  necessarily pre-existing.  I quite hate the term 'low self-esteem'  (never sure what the heck it means)  and I absolutely hate the prevailing pop-culture notion that eating disorders are the providence of 'girls with 'low self-esteem'.  The plummet in self-esteem (self-evaluation) often comes after onset.

and, finally....

The Helix committee in the UK has announced the "I choose to give" campaign to commemorate Charlotte's birthday.  Charlotte's birthday is this week.  It is the first birthday since her death and we all still miss her madly.  Laura has written a wonderful blog piece today about how we can channel the missing and do our bit to continue Charlotte's work.  Find it here:  Laura's Soap Box: Celebrating Charlotte's Birthday.

Happy Weekend!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Barriers to Treatment: Anosognosia

I still mispronunciation this one every so often.  For some reason I always want to put the 'g' at the beginning.  Given the amount of times I have said this term over the past 3 years I really have no excuse for still messing it up.  It is etched in my brain and should just roll off my tongue:  Anosognosia. Anosognosia. Anosognosia.  

What is it?  
It is:
- the medical term for when individuals are unable to understand that they are sick.
- often a symptom of eating disorders
- related to changes in the anatomical structure of the brain 

It is NOT:

-'denial' or a matter of being 'unwilling' to accept the illness.

It can also be one of the most confounding barriers to treatment: It can render our kids unable to acknowledge that the behaviour they are engaged in or the thoughts they experience are anything other than ordinary; it can make for active resistance and non-compliance; and, it can be a mountain we have to scale with those who talk to us about 'insight' and 'readiness'.   Insight or awareness should never be preconditions for treatment.  In fact, it is the reverse: treatment first, insight later.  

The Treatment for Advocacy Centre's links to resources on Anosognosia can be found here and FAQ's are here.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness' Fact Sheet on Anosognosia can be found here.
2010 Anosognosia in Eating Disorders piece by L. C. can be found here.