Archive for the “Eating Disorders” Category

Posted on 05 Jul 2011
Eating Disorders

Red Flags Signaling Possible Anorexia Relapse

One of the things that frighten parents is possible relapse when their child is recovered. The best way to prevent or catch relapse quickly is to use what you learned about her eating disorder thoughts and behavior when she was ill.

When your child was ill with an eating disorder she said and did things that signaled to you this was the illness and not your daughter. All girls have eating disorder thoughts and behaviors in common. Your child, however, probably exhibited things that were unique to her and her illness.

Part of the reason your child got better from anorexia is because over time you got to know the ED. You learned the kinds of things that your daughter would say when under the influence of the eating disorder.

Things like, “I’m not eating that! I’ll eat half of it but that’s it! You can’t make me eat this! What did you put in this muffin? Did you make it with butter? That has too much fat in it.” I know these statements sound familiar to you.

You began to recognize the things she would do when the ED was raising its ugly head. You knew whether or not the ED was at the dinner table with you by her body posture, facial expression, and her reactions when you put the plate in front of her.

Perhaps she came to the table and sat looking down at her lap. She may have looked sad or depressed. Maybe you saw her throw her muffin across the room and storm toward her bedroom; followed by a slammed door.

You also learned to identify her emotions. The anger was the easy one to see; but anxiety might have been harder to recognize. The reason is the anger covers the anxiety. Depression and sadness can cover anxiety too. Her tears, accusations, or complete silence can all disguise the overwhelming fear she is feeling.

How does all this relate to relapse? Often you will see these same thought patterns, behaviors and emotions again. Only this time you know what they are and you can act quickly to take back control if necessary.

There is one thing to keep in mind. The eating disorder is sneaky and slippery. It may show itself with subtle differences. Variations of the same symptoms but it can make you question and not trust what you are seeing.

Note to self: Trust what have you learned, what you know about eating disorders and what you have learned about your child. Trust your gut feelings and instincts if you start to see subtle changes. It doesn’t mean hit the panic button; but it does mean be alert and ready to respond.

If you believe you need to take back the reins in terms of serving food, make a doctor appointment for a weight check; do it. How many parents say, “I wish I would have listened to myself earlier.”

You are her parent and you know her. It is because of you she got better and it will be because of you that she does not slip into full relapse. Catch it early and act. You know what to do. You’ve done it already.