Eating disorders are also family problems. Dr. Bertha Tavarez, Clinical Director at Clementine South Miami, advises not forcing adolescents to eat, because they become more willful.
She says it’s important to get support away of the relationship. She recommends having a team of specialists in the field of eating disorders (physicians, nutritionists, therapists, psychologists), who help the entire family in this situation.
What are some do’s and don’ts that families should do because like you said don’t blame them because it’s not a choice yes so what are some things that families should then do and not do to help in this process yes so what you don’t want to do while they’re still in the home with you is very aggressive forcing them to eat exactly right we’ve seen a lot of tension in the home when they’re just you know putting the gun to the head you know symbolically to the to their daughter yeah I’ve seen that and what happens with that is that the adolescent becomes more willful and so they dig their heels in a lot more and it just becomes a battle royal that no one wins and so I would say to not do that the other thing is to not discharge your own pain with your daughter you’re gonna be frustrated you’re gonna feel hopeless you’re gonna question and it might be natural to just lash out in the presence of your child or to your child get support away from that relationship so that you can discharge some of that pain and process that and be more more clear-headed when you’re approaching your daughter and when someone wants to help and needs to help do you suggest they get a psychologist or a medical director first so what we recommend is to have a full and I meant a medical doctor my apologies yes a full team and so you want a physician who is able to assess all of the medical issues that are going on preferably a physician that has a good understanding of eating disorders certainly a dietician a therapist and again if if it’s possible because I know it’s not possible because of access to get individuals that are specialized in the field of eating disorders a psychologist might be a great psychologist they might do amazing job with depression or anxiety but if they’ve only treated one or two cases and eating disorders that’s a problem so when you’re vetting some of these providers ask how many cases have you worked with with someone with a diagnosable eating disorder because it’s really important to get people that are trained because they’ll need to respond quickly if there’s a regression or relapse happening you