Monday, July 30, 2012
Extraconfused makes a good point to have medical professionals rule out any other possible physical problems (although, once you mention eating problems, it becomes instantly psychological to the mainstream medical community). Adriennels, you should find a good gastroenterologist and get an appointment to rule out any physical problems. Keep structured, high nutrition going while you wait for your appointment.
The symptoms Adriennels describes--depression, weight loss, difficulty eating & chewing & swallowing, the vomiting, and the fact that the parent thinks this might be an eating disorder--are pretty much all that anyone uses to diagnose. As mentioned, if every meal is difficult, that's disordered eating, and all the parenting strategies we advocate for here still apply. It's unfortunate, but there's not much involved in diagnosing an eating disorder. As Laura Collins says, no one has got this figured out.
Adriennels, you ask about vomiting unintentionally. First, I have always advocated that all symptoms of eating disorders (including purging) be labeled as involuntary--using the term "voluntary" tends to keep the illness purely in the psychological field. Vomiting or gagging while eating, at the table, while with others, in my opinion, is anxiety-related, food-related. Just to make this more complicated, I read on the Mayo Clinic website that 70% of gastrointestinal problems are anxiety-related.
Adriennels, you can help your daughter eat (and not gag or vomit) by creating a calm atmosphere around the anxiety-ridden eating. During meals and snacks, use distractions like radio or TV or games at the table. Stay at the table after eating, go sit together and do a hobby, or go for a slow walk together. It's so very frustrating to care for someone with disordered eating--keep calm and take care of yourself.
sarahbandeUSA from the Help! Vomiting, college in fall, new to forum thread