March 26, 2012

Suggestions When Your Loved One Refuses Care

I have received a number of emails asking about friends and family who clearly have an eating disorder, even a severe one, but they continue to refuse care. While each case clearly has some different dimensions, in my experience some of the following things can help:

  • They need to be evaluated by a GP.
    • This is to ascertain their physical health and is very important. Anorexia is the most fatal per capita of psychiatric disorders. Bulimia nervosa can be extremely dangerous especially to the heart because of low potassium levels.
  • Wherever possible, the family needs to be involved.
    • Family are ultimately the most influential people in most people’s lives and therefore have the most influence in changing a person’s mind about seeking and engaging in treatment.
  • An intervention can help.
    • Interventions may start by getting all of the people who care about the person with the eating disorder to come together to persuade the person to seek treatment. Try to let them know your fears for their safety, try to reason with them, and try to encourage them in a way that they will respond to best.
    • In cases where there is extreme resistance to treatment, the mental health act can be used. This mandates the person to intensive, inpatient care for their problems.

These are just general guidelines and each case will require something slightly different to get through to your loved one how important it is that they find the treatment that they require.

Please let us know your thoughts and other suggestions for engaging people in much needed treatment.

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Recent Comments

  • carole: this makes a lot of sense to me too.I instead of asking and asking for help with my partner and kids do the...
  • Jennifer: Try looking up F.E.A.S.T. on the internet and going onto ‘Around the Dinner Table’. It is a...
  • Jenny: What about spitting? My daughter has changed from anorexia, to a habit of chewing but not swallowing food....
  • Jenny: I just showed my other daughter this (the one without an eating disorder) and she looked skeptical… Do...
  • pip: He’s just moved to CREDS today after his second sectioning. Hoping this is the break we are needing

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