For parents of a child with an eating disorder, the most crucial question is "What do we do now?" In this poignant, informative book, Laura Collins shares how she and her husband discovered the answer for themselves - and most significantly - for their anorexic fourteen-year-old-daughter. It is a chronicle of how they applied a home-based treatment method known as 'the Maudsley approach', a nontraditional but highly effective way to treat a disease that is well known but largely misunderstood.When, in the summer of 2002, Collins' smart, athletic, well-adjusted daughter stopped eating, she did what every parent is advised to do: get specialized help. So began her journey through a health care system that is rife with theories and that almost always 'treats' the illness through hospitalization or treatment centers that isolate the child from the family - a family that is presumed harmful and made suspect by a range of unsavory stereotypes, from sexual abuse to excessive control to neglect.With their daughter's health steadily declining, the Collins family came to reject theories that claimed their daughter had chosen her disease and was responsible for giving it up, as well as those that said it was caused by bad parenting - theories that are now largely being discredited. Ultimately, they adopted the principles of the Maudsley approach.This innovative method avoids hospitalization by employing family-based treatment that presumes parents can help their child recover. With the support and guidance of experts, the Maudsley approach: equips parents to take charge of refeeding their underweight child; recognizes that patients who eat and gain weight are more likely to progress toward ultimate recovery; disregards the common assumption that parental or familial pathology is at the root of the disease; and, delivers high success rates: researchers who followed up on their young subjects five years after treatment found that 90 per cent had fully recovered - significantly more than those who receive individual therapy.By questioning the health care orthodoxy and learning about their daughter's disease, the Collinses helped her recover. This inspiring book tells you how they succeeded and offers a new approach to dealing with this deadly illness. 'Defeating anorexia nervosa is like climbing a sand hill: you can't rest until you get to the top or you will slide right back down again. Collins' book will inspire you on the climb and ...increase the likelihood you will reach the top' - from the Foreword, by James Lock, M. D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, and Director of the Eating Disorders Program at Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.This deeply moving, extraordinarily personal, and - most of all - helpful book chronicles one mother's journey alongside her teenage daughter's recovery from anorexia nervosa. A true story of pain, healing, and discovery, "Eating with Your Anorexic" is also the first book to introduce the Maudsley approach, the treatment method that restored her daughter's life.This nontraditional but highly effective home-based approach: focuses on enabling parents to refeed their underweight child at home, while they receive therapy as outpatients; begins with getting eating and weight normalized before focusing on alleged causes and psychological issues; and, rejects the once-popular theory that parental or familial pathology is at the root of the illness, and utilizes parents as a resource for recovery. Unwilling to turn their child over to strangers, and unable to accept the stereotypes that blamed either her or both of them for this deadly illness, the Collins family turned to the innovative, family-based Maudsley approach. Their story offers inspiration, information, and hope for others facing this ordeal.
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Laura Collins is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a number of magazines, including iParenting.com, Skirt!, Adoptive Families, Potomac Review and others.
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