National Eating Disorders Association

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dittoditto
The ED Group

It was an interesting meeting. I had thought it would be more like an Al-anon group but it was more a few women coming together every so often to share their stories. All of them were mothers of children with ED and all the children were now grown and in recovery. The mothers told stories about how their kids were doing, and we all made encouraging noises, but their wasn't really any sharing of solutions, or even advice for self-help and setting boundaries.

It was interesting that even years later the mothers were so traumatized by the whole experience that they continued to worry that a relapse might be caused by common life experiences and they analyzed everything their offspring ate. It's amazing how whole lives revolve around food with this illness.

I don't believe I will go to it again as I was looking more for a program where people share solutions on how to live with this and emotional support. I would have liked an ED-anon :-)

BobJ48
Group.

"It was interesting that even years later the mothers were so traumatized by the whole experience that they continued to worry that a relapse might be caused by common life experiences …"

No kidding, it is interesting how traumatizing experiences like this can be. Also it sounds like they've figured out that new stressful situations are what can bring EDs on once again for their kids.

"...they analyzed everything their offspring ate. It's amazing how whole lives revolve around food with this illness…"

Yeah, the food part. While EDs are "about" so much more than just food, that's often where the red flags will show up.

My sense is that these associations between eating and being in control really etch themselves into the sufferers brain. If you look at the posts on some of the "evil" forums, you can see just how obsessive and 24/7 that sort of thinking can be. When their brains are soaking in those thoughts day in and day out, wiring patterns in the brain are probably physical. Like hard-wiring or something, to an extent where changing the established neurological wiring that's involved in the food/control association is a really really difficult thing.

And yes, strategies and boundaries. My sense is these things aren't always hard and fast, and can depend on whatever the current situation may be. If they are too severe, they aren't going to be effective. and if they are too easy to ignore, then not effective either.

My sense is that it has to do with whether the person has acknowledged that they have a problem, and once they do, whether they are trying to recover or not.

So the boundaries and strategies thing does tend to depend on what stage of their ED the person is in.