Help for parents of teens with eating disorders

Healthy reading

Healthy Reading

April 14, 2006|By MARY BETH REGAN

If Your Adolescent Has an Eating Disorder: An Essential Resource for Parents

By Timothy Walsh, M.D., and V.L. Cameron

Oxford University Press/$9.95

It is heartbreaking to have a child with an eating disorder. But it's worse if you don't feel you have support, good information or a roadmap to recovery.

This book, If Your Adolescent Has an Eating Disorder, is an excellent way to get grounded. It contains some of the best information you will find on the subject. In 2003, the nonprofit Annenberg Foundation Trust launched an Adolescent Mental Health Initiative, setting up seven commissions on mental disorders that begin between ages 10 and 22. The result: a mammoth treatise called Treating and Preventing Adolescent Mental Health Disorders (2005).

Then, the Annenberg Center teamed with Oxford University Press to write books for parents and caregivers on subjects such as eating disorders, depression and anxiety.

This volume on eating disorders is direct, frank and evenhanded.

It goes into detail about understanding a medical diagnosis, getting treatment and living with a teen suffering from an eating disorder.

The reading is not easy. And it can be heart-wrenching. One parent, with two daughters suffering from eating disorders, shares: "My husband and I have exhausted all financial resources. The average length of treatment has been 60 days at a cost of $30,000 per month. ... Our 401ks are a thing of the past, we have remortgaged our house, taken out loans and maxed out all our credit cards. But we are ready to do even more if we have to."

The book urges parents to get help. Reading this book is a good first step.

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