National Eating Disorders Association

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Daughter struggling in current treatment

Hello. This is my first post. My teenage daughter has been in a residential center only for a few days before they recommended she needed to go to a hospital for a feeding tube (via nose). even though she was only at that center for 4 full days, she didn't eat any of her meals and barely drank water or supplemental drinks. She's been bounced around with different therapists up to this point and residential was recommended as we tried virtual and that was not effective. I want her to go back to the residential because I feel consistency is key. right now the dr's at hospital are focusing on her meds so she can be released and those thoughts go away. You see my daughter's body image is distorted big time. I want her to eat, she's still given meals at the hospital and she has been drinking her supplements but get the feeding through the tube at night as well. I'm so worried and frustrated with doctors and the process. I'm exhausted and wish there was something I could say so she knows that she will die if she doesn't eat. She keeps saying she is okay but she isn't, I mean she's in a hospital. anyway here have experience with a child that had to have the feeding tube and how they came about removing it and finally eating? I just want to hear from another parent...I'm alone. Thank you so much.

One thing to remember about

One thing to remember about EDs is that people in your daughters position are going to be feeling that nobody really gets it about why she has to starve. Because she does feel like she has to, or else…something bad is going to happen. "She'll get fat" is her main concern, but "getting fat" is a stand-in for all sorts of other worries she has. Plus she feels in control when she restricts, and feeling in control is a huge part of eating disorders.
So go to the hospital and they're going to force you to do every single thing that feels totally wrong to you. Which is how you see recovery to be - you lose all of your sense of control, and everything that other people are going to try and force you to do feels absolutely wrong. Which who among us ever feels comfortable with that idea ? No one that I know.
The folks at the treatment center aren't set up to deal with people who may be dying because they won't eat. Imagine their legal situation if one of their clients died while they were supposedly taking care of them. So you can see why they'd want to ship someone off to the hospital in order to medically move them away from that possibility.
Having said all that, I can pretty much promise you that there's a part of your daughter that understands that she might be in trouble. Sure, she still may want to push forward with her ED, and continues to view it as a positive thing. But there's going to be another part of her that knows that it's not. For one thing, just look at all the disruption it's caused for her, and the worry and concern that it causes for others. There's no way to spin any of that in a positive direction.
What it's going to take to turn things around is hard to say. Guilt-tripping her is not going to help her feel better about herself, and the war-of-wills thing which can happen in treatment can be problematic as well.
So you'll have to see. Her own decisions about things is what will make the ultimate difference. Rather than decisions that others try and impose on her.
Having said all that, the idea that you as her parent, would be open to hearing her real feelings in a sympathetic and non-judgmental way…that may help her feel more at ease.
Which people with EDs generally don't feel at ease in the least, so anything you can do along those lines is likely to work in her favor.
In any case, wishing the best for all of you. With EDs, when things are at this stage, it's rare that anyone feels good about anything, so try and keep a level head if you can, and see what you can do to take the moment-to-moment sorts of things in stride.