I have completely lost any ounce of hope I once had.
For months now, the pain in my bones has increased drastically and the immense fatigue I have been experiencing has resulted in me literally living in my bedroom. My parents no longer believe that the cause of my declining condition is due to some random ailment that I did not induce. Instead, they have come to the false conclusion that my illness is some delayed side effect of my anorexia nervosa or it is just a physical response to my depression.
Now whenever I say I do not feel well, they just ignore me. They don’t comfort me or give me hug. All they do is brush it off as if I am nothing but an over dramatic actress conjuring up this plethora of symptoms.
I just am so frustrated. I feel like I have no one on my side anymore and I am trying to fight for my health on my own. Let me tell you right now, that is one hard battle to fight. A 16 year old girl only has so much power and so much knowledge. I can’t do this alone and I wish they would just listen to me.
When recovering from an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa, it is quite obvious that out of medical necessity, the anorexic patient must achieve a higher weight status. This typically translates into the patient being prescribed calorie-dense meals and snacks, multiple chalky-tasting oral supplements (such as Boost or Ensure), and sometimes even terribly uncomfortable tube feedings. But now there is another way doctors that claim to specialize in eating disorders are bumping up their patients’ weight. It’s through medication, specifically medications like olanzapine.
Olanzapine, or better known as Zyprexa, is classified as an atypical antipsychotic and is usually used to treat mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. This specific class of medications are thought to work by blocking certain receptors in the brain thus repairing the chemical imbalances that manifest it. Unlike their regular antipsychotic cousins, they are less likely to cause a patient to experience terrible side effects such as muscle stiffness, restlessness, and involuntary muscle movements. Unfortunately though, atypical antipsychotics possess an ability that appeals to many medical professionals who regularly treat those with eating disorder. What is this ability you ask? Well, medications like olanzapine disturb the body’s fat metabolism resulting in the accumulation of adipose tissue (AKA fat). Also the medication boosts a patient’s appetite. The consequence of both these completely undesirable traits is an incredible increase in weight. As you can imagine, doctors who treat eating disorders are all over this drug because of these horrific side effects.
I ended up discovering a case report from some 2012 edition of the International Journal of Eating Disorders entitled Differential Weight Restoration on Olanzapine versus Fluoxetine in Identical Twins with Anorexia Nervosa. In this case report two young 12 year-old twin females were hospitalized in an inpatient setting due to medical instability directly caused by their eating disorder. By the time they were allowed to get out of the hospital, Twin A weight was 75% of her IBW (ideal body weight) and Twin B was at 72%.
After their discharge, they were admitted into an outpatient clinic. There, with the parent’s consent, each twin was prescribed a different medication. Twin A was given fluoxetine (which is more commonly known as Prozac) while Twin B was given olanzapine. Over the course of 9 months, both the patients received family-based treatment (FBT) and their parents reported a decrease in each twins eating disorder and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. By the time treatment was done, the parents claimed that each child was not displaying any negative behaviors, but they did note that Twin A (who received the fluoxetine) required more encouragement and prompting in regards to food consumption. Twin B, on the other hand, reported feelings of hunger which is likely due to the olanzapine. Both girls had gained a considerable amount of weight, though of course Twin B’s weight was much higher than her sister’s. Twin B was pretty much at her IBW (ideal body weight) while her sister was at 84.4% of her IBW.
This case report proves that olanzapine does aid in weight restoration, but it does so by artificially altering the patient’s metabolism as well as their hunger-fullness cues. This brings up the question if it is ethical and humane to utilize a psychiatric medicine solely for the purposes of weight restoration. In my opinion, I believe it is a completely unscrupulous tactic. If an anorexic patient must gain weight in order to restore physical health, I believe that it must be done naturally through the ingestion nutrient-dense cuisine, not by altering that patient’s physiology. Plus, what if the medication leads the patient to a weight range that is not natural for their unique body type. I mean most of the time, idiotic ED specialists use those damn outdated BMI charts to calculate a patient’s IBW. By abusing medication in order to reach a certain number on a scale, you are putting the patient at risk for entering a weight range that is too high. This can result in the patient becoming shocked when she/he sees her weight which can lead to a full-blown relapse. Also putting a patient at a weight that is too high for their body type can lead to other medical issues.
Well that is pretty much my two cents. Take it or leave it. If you are one of those docs who just love stuffing your patients with olanzapine, well then I hope this little post opened your eyes to the cruelty you are imposing on your poor patients.
Thanksgiving – it is one of the most horrific and mortifying holidays for those of us with eating disorders like bulimia, EDNOS, anorexia, and binge eating. In this video I will give you a hand on how you can deal with this scary holiday and make it a little bit more manageable.
As I lay here utterly alone in my cluttered bedroom, thousands of horrific thoughts are barging into my mind.
The biggest thing that is plaguing my thoughts is my health. The pain I am experiencing is honestly the worst physical pain I have ever felt in my life. My hip feels like someone is jamming a machete right into my bone. My abdomen hurts terribly and waves of nausea hit me as hard as a raging tsunami. Something is wrong and I can just feel it in my gut, yet the doctors I have seen seem utterly perplexed with my condition. The last one I just saw seemed to dismiss my plethora of horrid symptoms as nothing a side effect of my history with anorexia nervosa. If he would have listened to my dad and I he would have heard that I have been eating quite well and my weight has been steadily increasing. He also would have heard that all the other doctors I have seen have proclaimed that my ever declining condition is NOT the result of some nutrition deficiency or malnutrition. I am slowly beginning to lose faith in the medical profession. I can’t trust it anymore because it also seem to find a way to cut me down.
The second thing that is causing anxiety for me is Thanksgiving – the most dreaded holiday for those of us with eating disorders. My dad is planning to make all these foods that are laden with fat and calories. I am not emotionally ready for this type of mortifying “food challenge”. I know if I even have a morsel of some of the “unsafe” food, I will enter a severe state of panic. Everyone knows what will happen then…. I will have to engage in ED behaviors in order to ease my worries. I know that’s terrible but I’ve gotta be honest and that is what will occur
Alrighty I am sorry for my little rant, I needed to let these fears out though. It’s so hard to keep them bottled up inside me ready to burst like a huge super volcano.
It was 3:30 in the morning when I just couldn’t convince my brain to turn off and allow me to get some more shut eye. Not knowing what to do at this ungodly hour, I decided to visit the site where new ideas are welcomed and allowed to run as freely as wild horses. Yep, that means I went to WordPress.com .
As I was looking through the WordPress reader, in search for some post that would spark my interest, one on the blog of TIME caught my eye. It was entitled “Shut Up and Shop This Turkey Day” – a demand that ignites controversy throughout our shopoholic nation.
This post basically proclaimed that shopping on Thanksgiving is not only perfectly acceptable, it also signifies the vast amount of freedoms that we are given in this country. The author even took the liberty of suggesting that our nation would be no different than North Korea if we forbid shopping on the day we are suppose to be thankful.
I guess I have to say that I couldn’t disagree more with this post. Throughout my years in school and church, I have been taught the meaning of Thanksgiving is to count your blessings – not tackle someone for a TV at some ridiculous doorbuster price. Our nation, is becoming a land of greed. We no longer see that we are blessed with things like clean running water, fresh fruits and veggies, and a cozy bed. So many people in the world don’t even have one of those things for goodness sake!
Please this Thanksgiving count your blessings instead of counting how many items are in your shopping cart. I know that is hard to do, especially when you have an ED. When you are one of the many people who struggle with anorexia, bulimia, or binge eating, the idea of Thanksgiving sounds like it comes from a horror film. Anxiety, anger, and frustration are the emotions you may feel during a Thanksgiving meal when you are presented with loads and loads of foods that your eating disorder may not like. I challenge you though this holiday season to push aside all those debilitating negative feelings, I open your eyes to the blessings you have. Believe me, though it may not seem like it, there are many. There really are.
If there’s one thing even more uniquely American than choking down mouthfuls of turkey no one wants, green bean casserole no one admits to preparing, and pumpkin pie that no one remembers buying on Thanksgiving, it’s going shopping all the time. For god’s sake, George W. Bush counseled a nation still reeling from the 9/11 attacks that when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. “Take your families and enjoy life the way we want it to be enjoyed,” he said. Forget baseball—shopping is the national pastime.
Given that, I’m genuinely amazed at the pushback against plans by Walmart, Target, and other major retailers to open their doors on a day that everyone has off but no one has anything to do. Being disgusted by the willingness of stores to open for business on, what, the 10th or 20th most solemn day of the year isn’t…
Clinical trials are vital to understanding more about eating disorders and they are a magnificent way to get very low cost/free eating disorder treatment. Please, if you find yourself unable to afford current therapies or if you have not been receptive to regular therapies in the past, you SHOULD consider participating in a trial. You may just be helping discover a LIFESAVING treatment!
So check out my clinical trial round-up page which I update regularly!
The tantalizing aroma of melting chocolate and nutty homemade peanut butter fills my small ranch-style house. I know that in just a few short minutes, my mom will remove this mouth-watering, thick chocolate mixture from the stove and pour it into a bowl of Rice Chex. Then she will grab her favorite wooden spoon and mix the concoction together until a thick layer of chocolate is on every single morsel of Rice Chex. This alone would be a treat that would cause anyone to enter a state of euphoria, but it get’s better. The final and most important step in the creation of this delectable confection is dowsing the Rice Chex in nearly a half a bag of powdered sugar. Then, once my mother finishes evenly mixing in the powdered sugar, the most scrumptious dessert in the world has been made – Muddy Buddies or also known as Puppy Chow.
The only sad part is that I am not allowed to taste the sweet and nutty flavor of the Muddy Buddies. No, it is not due to some serious food allergy that would result in me experiencing anaphylaxis shock. Nor is it some crazy anti-junk food law established by my authoritarian parents. It is because there is someone that I live with who endlessly cuts my self-esteem down to shreds if I even consider putting some dessert in my mouth. He constantly calls me fat, ugly, and worthless to the point where I can barely live with myself.
Who is this cruel and heartless individual?
His name is Ed and he is my eating disorder.
He is the reason why each bite of food is a struggle.
He is the reason why my parents have had to stuff me in hospitals.
He is the reason why I am writing this very post.
I want people to realize that eating disorders ARE NOT a choice and the people who have them would do anything in their power to free themselves from the disease’s deadly clutches.
Please if you know someone with an eating disorder, don’t judge them. They are sick and they need your support, not your judgement. Especially during this holiday season where it seems like there is food around ever corner.