You have just been told your child has an eating disorder.
You go on the Internet and look up "eating disorders" at an
on-line bookstore and find that there are over 700 books written on
the topic. You begin to feel overwhelmed and confused - how can you
get the straight answers you need?
This guide is designed to be an introductory resource to help you and
your family learn what you can do when your child has been diagnosed
with an eating disorder. There is currently an overwhelming amount of
information available; some of it is scientifically sound, and some
of it is not. Parents who are interested in understanding their child's
eating problems and learning how to help are often in the difficult
position of trying to distinguish between accurate information and unfounded
theories and opinions. While we cannot answer all of your questions
in this guide, we do want to help you sift through the overflow of information
that is available. Our goal is to provide practical, concrete advice
to help you manage this difficult time in your family by translating
the latest scientific findings into understandable, useful guidelines
for you and your child to use at home.
At the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, we work with families
in which a member has been diagnosed with anorexia nervosa, bulimia
nervosa, binge eating disorder, or an eating disorder-NOS (not otherwise
specified). We are committed to the scientific study of eating disorders
and the importance of using treatments that have been evaluated and
proven to be effective. At our clinic, parents have expressed confusion
about the multitude of myths that exist regarding why eating disorders
develop and what is necessary to treat them. Meanwhile, adequate resources
to help parents learn about eating disorders have not been readily available.
This guide emerged as we began to put together resources for the families
we treat at our clinic. We hope this book will be like having your own
eating disorders expert by your side as you try to find the answers
that are right for your family.
This workbook is divided into seven chapters, each addressing a different
aspect of your child's eating disorder. Within each chapter, we debunk
common myths about the topic, highlight the latest scientific research
in the area, and respond to the questions we hear most frequently from
the families at our clinic. In addition, we include descriptions of
real clients and their families who have faced different challenges
in their struggle with disordered eating. Each chapter includes interactive
exercises so that you can apply what you have learned to your own family.
Finally, each chapter ends with a list of resources to help you learn
more about the topics most relevant for your family.