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Anorexics and Bulimics: For Family-Based-Treatment See the Maudsley Parents Website

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In 2006, a group of parents banded together to spread the word about treating eating disorders, specifically anorexia and bulimia, with the family-based treatment (FBT) that helped save their own children’s lives. They call themselves the Maudsley Parents and can be found at http://www.maudsleyparents.org.

The family-based treatment (FBT) recommended is the Maudsley approach, and it’s for adolescents under eighteen. Treatment begins when the entire family is trained by an eating disorder specialist to re-feed the affected family member, and this specialist supports the family throughout the re-feeding process.

Parents must draw on their intuitive knowledge of their children and use reason rather than force to get them to eat. Siblings may only encourage- not tease or criticize. Maudsley works best if the eating disorder is caught early and treated uncompromisingly. This means many long hours at the kitchen table in front of a plate of food. Re-feeding the body to help the brain function properly, is the main tenet of the Maudsley approach.

Maudsleyparents.org has much to offer parents. To quote their site “We offer information on eating disorders and family-based treatment, family stories of recovery, supportive parent-to-parent advice, and treatment information for families who opt for family-based Maudsley treatment.”

They also offer a section on misconceptions about the Maudsley method.

The number one Maudsley misconception is that it is a form of force feeding. But Dr. Celio Doyle PhD, one of website’s specialists, denies this accusation. Doyle writes, “Describing what we do in the Maudsley approach as "force feeding" is very misleading…The treatment involves compassionate, yet persistent and firm expectations that your adolescent eats an amount of food that can reverse the state of starvation…”

This website is as elegant as it is easy. There is a video section full of information: videos in relation to anorexia and bulimia, the role of siblings in re-feeding process and the results of research done on the Maudsley approach. There is a section that shows parents how to find a true Maudsley specialist and how to work with a non-Maudsley team. One section has family stories and another has articles written about Maudsley and FBT in major newspapers such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune.

In addition, they have a link to the Academy for Eating Disorders position paper on the role families play in eating disorder recovery. There is also a section in Spanish.


Add a Comment2 Comments

Thanks so much for the nice write up, Mary!

Fiona, I couldn't agree with you more. When professionals and parents work together they can make a really strong team to defeat anorexia nervosa.

February 19, 2010 - 6:26pm
EmpowHER Guest

It is wonderful to see professionals and parents working hand in hand. It has been a long time coming.
Fiona Place
Author of Cardboard: A woman left for dead

February 19, 2010 - 3:37pm
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