Families Empowered and Supporting Treatments of Eating Disorders (F.E.A.S.T.) is a website that parents and caregivers as well as eating disorder patients can turn for information and understanding.
On their website, http://www.feast-ed.org/feast.html, they describe themselves as “… an international organization of and for parents and caregivers to help loved ones recover from eating disorders by providing information and mutual support, promoting evidence-based treatment, and advocating for research and education to reduce the suffering associated with eating disorders.”
This website is as impressive as it is comprehensive: containing a blog, recipe book, insurance advice, information on clinical trials, scientific studies, links to other ED websites, letters from clinicians, stories from parents and patients, videos, pod casts, an online forum for parent and caregivers and more.
Yet F.E.A.S.T. accepts neither sponsors nor advertising. They are supported only by individual contributions and are staffed only by volunteer parents.
And their principles are as refreshing as they are clearly presented. To cite just a few, they write, “Eating disorders are biologically based mental illness and fully treatable with a combination of nutritional, medical, and therapeutic supports.” Imagine the relief felt by the victims of eating disorders who have tortured themselves with guilt thinking, why do I behave like this and why can’t I stop?
For their second principle, FEAST states, “Parents do not cause eating disorders, and patients do not choose eating disorders.” What a relief to parents who blame themselves thinking, I caused my child’s disease by giving bad example: I expected her grades to be too good, I was too neat, or I exercised or dieted too much in front of her.
The third and fourth principles are especially wonderful for parents who were expected to stand by wringing their hands while the professionals “cured” their child. F.E.A.S.T. states that “Parents and caregivers are a powerful tool for a loved one's recovery from an eating disorder, and blaming and marginalizing parents in the eating disorder treatment process causes harm and suffering.”
In addition, therapies that have been researched and found effective are defined, such as the Maudsley Method and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but they also include a list of other treatments that may be beneficial but need further study.
F.E.A.S.T. will not only give solace to parents, caregivers and patients, but it will arm them with the information they need to find a qualified therapist and to determine the proper therapy for each eating disorder.