Families must Start with Understanding, not Action

Someone savvier about blogs than me suggested I forgo a longer biweekly post for shorter, more frequent updates. That will start with today's post. 

The last post explored possible ways for powerless parents to approach an adult child with a chronic eating disorder. There is one central reason these approaches won't work that I will explain in this post. 

The logic families rely on to understand an eating disorder has one fatal misstep. It assumes that eating and health are the top priorities of the child. Either pulling back from the child or forcing her into treatment will not affect the underlying thought process, something crucial to start a path to recovery.

The driving force of the eating disorder is the use of symptoms to manage the trials of daily life. Starving, binging, overeating and any other symptom serve a powerful purpose as one's central coping mechanism. Any repercussions from the eating disorder pale in comparison. 

The first step for any family to understand the challenge of recovery lies with this crucial piece of knowledge. 

I often suggest that loved ones imagine what it would feel like if their most useful coping skill were suddenly ripped away. For those who can empathize even slightly with that scenario, the mental challenge of recovery becomes much clearer. 

The next post will start to review other options families can consider. 

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