Start here: find the information you need NOW

I've produced tons of help for you. Use this guide to jump straight to the bits you need.

If you're not sure your child has an eating disorder

  • You are the expert on your child. If you are concerned, you're probably right.
  • Experts recommend early diagnosis and intervention — a 'wait and see' attitude is as wrong as waiting for cancer to progress to a later stage.
  • Ask for an urgent appointment with your family doctor or directly with an eating disorder specialist service. Chapter 3 of my book, which is here in its entirety, will help you prepare.
  • If you are made to wait (services are struggling), read what follows. The more educated you get about the very effective ways you can support your child, the easier it will be.

If your child is restricting food, over-exercising or purging

Your child should have access to specialist eating-disorder treatment as early as possible (days, not months).

If you're on a waiting list, keep updating the clinicians about any worsening symptoms or behaviours, and use Accident and Emergency if in doubt. Because of their waiting lists, many clinicians are instructing parents to get started as follows:

  • Support your child to succeed with 3 meals and 3 snacks every day
  • Support your child to regain lost weight
  • Support your child to refreain from (excessive or compulsive) exercise and from purging

Yes, but how?!

If you're hunting for an excellent treatment provider

In most countries you need to choose your treatment providers carefully, as many have not sufficiently updated themselves. For most youngsters the most effective treatment is a "family-based" approach, where parents are guided to actively support their child. I explain treatments in Chapter 12 of my book.

In the UK, the NHS has standards and there are NICE guidelines, meaning your child should get up-to-date, evidence-based treatment without you having to shop around.

If your child still can't eat

Keep your courage and keep educating yourself. This journey has its ups and downs.

Inform the treatment team of symptoms and behaviours (meals, exercise, any purging or self-harm). Your child may need a higher level of care. The specialists may alter or add to the treatment approach (e.g. changing the focus with regard to psychotherapy, treatment for OCD, autism).

My 'Get started and help your child to eat' workshop, my YouTubes, book and Bitesize audio collection, all mentioned above, may get you unstuck.

If your child can eat but is mentally 'stuck'

Well done for supporting your child through 'Phase 1'. Now educate yourself about the much-neglected 'Phase 2':

A. Your child needs your support to work through the foods and situations that remain fearful:

  • for a quick read: page 3 of my free helpsheets
  • I guide you through the 'exposure and desensitisation' process in Chapter 9 of my book (extracts here)

B. Your child needs your coaching to get back to their old 'normal': you are easing them into age-appropriate autonomy:

If you are longing for emotional help

Every person involved with a loved one in the grip of an eating disorder needs help with the intense emotions that come up. What can you do?

  • Tackle your helplessness by learning the many things parents can do
  • Chapter 15 of my book guides you through tools to manage your emotions
  • I also produced some guided meditations
  • I run a workshop for your wellbeing and resilience
  • Peer support can cut through the isolation. I signpost you to this here.

Many more questions?

Use the top menu and its search box. Or see the FAQ page.


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