Monday, February 12, 2007

Why do we settle for treatment that doesn't work?

This morning I'm feeling so grateful for the Maudsley approach of treating anorexia, which I am sure saved my daughter's life. While there may be a better treatment out there yet to be discovered someday, for now Maudsley is so much better for teens than traditional treatment that it's hard for me to understand how and why professionals could recommend anything else.

Especially pediatricians. They're the ones on the front lines. They're the ones who presumably know a child, watch his or her growth from infancy on. Who have a chance to see the growth curve and know when a child is "just thin" or "too thin." When thinness becomes pathological.

Often pediatricians wait far too long to flag a problem--very likely because they're watching for the opposite problem, overweight in teens. Our society has such a strong fat phobia that all of us, myself included, have to struggle to take off our "thin-is-always-good" glasses and see reality sometimes.

Some pediatricians will notice a drop in weight or off the child's growth curve, but then stall when it comes to treatment, letting months or even years go by while a child starves and anorexia becomes more entrenched. Why? Could it be that many pediatricians--especially women--have eating or body or weight issues themselves?

If your intuition tells you that your child might have a problem, get another opinion. Follow your gut. The treatment you pursue might save your child's life. And you don't have to settle for treatment that doesn't work. There is hope for anorexia. The vast majority of teens treated with the Maudsley approach are weight restored, fully recovered, and back to normal life--and stay that way five years down the line.

Don't settle for anything less than your child's best life.