The Parent Advisory Committee is a group of parents with children that are recovering from an eating disorder. They have completed the UCSD Adolescent Treatment Program for Eating Disorders and would like to provide support to new parents as they enter the program.
Welcome Message to Parents“We know how difficult it is to be seeking treatment for your child suffering from an eating disorder. Although every journey is vastly different and unique we have all taken many of the same steps, had the same questions and concerns. The Parent Advisory Committee for UCSD Adolescent Treatment has set out to support new parents maneuvering the many challenges that are brought on by this disease.”
Upon entry to the program, each new parent will have the opportunity to be matched with a parent mentor. The mentoring program is voluntary, and parents may join or leave at any time. The parent mentor will offer support to the new parent throughout their journey in the program. To join, please contact the program director Roxanne Rockwell via email.
“Our daughter was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa in 2009. She was 14 years old and the diagnosis took us by surprise. During hospitalization we were fortunate to have been referred to the UCSD Eating Disorders Program. Our daughter participated in the Research on Interventions for Anorexia Nervosa (RIAN) research study, which provided the basic structure for their current Adolescent Eating Disorder program.
We were able to use the Maudsley Method to refeed her at home with the guidance of the medical/clinical staff at UCSD. She was in the research study for 9 months and during that time we were able to restore her to 85% of her goal weight. The most challenging aspect of using the Maudsley Method for my family has been the duration of our daughters continuing recovery. Refeeding is only one part of the recovery process. The emotional and mental recovery takes time and patience. Our success is that after three years, we finally feel that we have our daughter back. To date, we continue to work with her psychiatrist and therapist to reverse the effects that occurred with the eating disorder. Every child is unique and their treatment will be as well. For our daughter the Maudsley Method has truly given our family the education and support to help her move forward in hopes of a full recovery. You never know your true strength of commitment, until you are faced with saving a loved one.”
“Our daughter was diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa in 2009. She was 14 years old and the diagnosis took us by surprise. During hospitalization we were fortunate to have been referred to the UCSD Eating Disorders Program. Our daughter participated in the Research on Interventions for Anorexia Nervosa (RIAN) research study, which provided the basic structure for their current Adolescent Eating Disorder program. We were able to use the Maudsley Method to refeed her at home with the guidance of the medical/clinical staff at UCSD. She was in the research study for 9 months and during that time we were able to restore her to 85% of her goal weight. The most challenging aspect of using the Maudsley Method for my family has been the duration of our daughters continuing recovery. Refeeding is only one part of the recovery process. The emotional and mental recovery takes time and patience. Our success is that after three years, we finally feel that we have our daughter back. To date, we continue to work with her psychiatrist and therapist to reverse the effects that occurred with the eating disorder. Every child is unique and their treatment will be as well. For our daughter the Maudsley Method has truly given our family the education and support to help her move forward in hopes of a full recovery. You never know your true strength of commitment, until you are faced with saving a loved one.”
“We were fortunate our daughter was diagnosed quickly and that our pediatrician referred us immediately to UCSD. We experienced improvement from day one using the Maudsley method and removing any choice for her as to whether or not to eat. Calm (for the most part) demeanor from us and the unwavering demand that the food be eaten and the weight regained was what we strove for. We did not follow every tenet of Maudsley to the tee, but were grateful that the professionals at UCSD allowed us to be the experts on our daughter while we took their advice as experts on anorexia. Our biggest battle by far was over the addition of heavy cream to everything. Resistance was strong and both kitchen tools and curses flew for a few nights, but we persevered. Knowing that the ED was fighting so hard because it was losing so badly sustained me during the roughest times. My daughter has been weight-restored for almost two months and out of treatment since July 5. She completely self-monitors her own food and weight (with check-ins from me and a psychiatrist) and is planning on going to college in a month where we already have a treatment team in place to support her transition to full independence.”
“We are fortunate to live in San Diego County, only about 25 minutes from the UCSD Eating Disorder Center. This became an important detail when we found ourselves seeking treatment for our daughter who suffers from Anorexia Nervosa. She was diagnosed in November 2011 at the age of 15, admitted to us that she had been restricting since September, but has been underweight pretty much all through puberty. She is a ballet dancer, and also struggled with social challenges, so being the "thinnest" became her way to gain control and to stand out among her peers. We began treatment in December at another local eating disorder center using the Maudsley Method, but their program was not intense enough for our needs, and offered no meal support. We were re-feeding through the holidays, and found ourselves losing the battle with ED as she became more difficult to feed, and was continuing to lose weight rather than gain. She was admitted to the program at UCSD by mid-January, weight restored by March, and discharged from the program mid-April. The multi family support, intensive therapy, group processing, DBT training, and meal support that UCSD offers was exactly what our daughter needed to get on the road to recovery. Currently in weekly therapy, she continues to maintain her weight, eats easily, is physically healthy, is involved in several extracurricular activities, and is slowly getting her life back on track. However, she still struggles with body image, and will not eat independently or without supervision. She acknowledges that she would continue to restrict if left on her own, and so we see that she has a long road ahead to what we hope will be a full recovery. There are periods of time when we are encouraged by her progress, which are often followed by periods of setbacks. It has been a great help to us to remember what we heard from Dr. Kaye, that due to the nature of this disease, recovery is not a straight line.”
“We live in Riverside County and our daughter was first diagnosed with EDNOS at the age of 16. With some therapy, she seemed to do very well. Just about 4 months later during the summer she began restricting and lost a large amount of weight in a short time. After seeing a specialist, art therapist, nutritionist, psychiatrist she began eating but then developed bulimia. It was then that her previous treatment team recommended UCSD Adolescent Treatment program. In October of 2011 she entered and then spent the next 11 week there. The Maudsley approach would have been most helpful when we first got treatment and her work with the original nutritionist allowed her to still restrict or gradually add certain foods. That is when the bulimia became another way to still have the eating disorder. After doing the feeding at UCSD we learned that any restriction was not acceptable and all food is good food. That continues to be a support to us. The biggest challenge for us during treatment was seeing a person that was so distant to us in our daughter's head/body. She went from being the fun, easy-going, sensitive, life of the party kid, to a withdrawn, isolating, mean-spirited child as the eating disorder was challenged. It was hard to be hopeful that our little girl would come back, even though we were told she would! She has now been out of UCSD for 6 months and goes to weekly group therapy, bi-weekly individual therapy, eating disorder specialist/pediatrician appointments as well as psychiatrist visits. The recovery has not been without rough days or rough weeks, however, little slips have been just that slips but not slides.”
Our family resides in San Diego County. In May of 2011, our 14 year old 9th grade daughter suddenly became a strict vegetarian. I wanted to respect her decision thinking it was possibly a phase she was going through. After a few months and some weight loss I decided to take her to her pediatrician. I was concerned with her going away to sleep away summer camp for 3 weeks and her not eating correctly. I wanted the pediatrician to educate my daughter on what a healthy vegetarian diet consisted of. When my daughter returned from camp in August 2011, she had lost more weight. I also noticed that her eating habits had changed drastically. She had cut out all protein, and was consuming large amount of apples, and raw veggies. With concern I took her back to her pediatrician. Her pediatrician told me that she had not lost enough weight to be diagnosed with an eating disorder, and believed her vegetarian diet to be a temporary stage that a lot of girls go through. I knew there was something wrong with my daughter and I decided to find a therapist to try to figure what was going on with her. At the end of August 2011, my daughter started treatment with a ED therapist. The therapist told me it would take time to diagnose her, and she recommended she go to a nutritionist that could also help with a healthy vegetarian diet. Weeks went by, and things did not improve but became worse. I was so frustrated watching my daughter deteriorate not knowing where to turn. I began researching her condition and found a treatment called the Maudsley method. I discovered a Maudsley program right here in San Diego at UCSD. In late September 2011 after her losing almost 20 lbs, my daughter was diagnosed with ANN and admitted into the UCSD program. Our challenges, in the ED treatment were trying to re feed and help our child who did not want our help or anyone else's. She was a different child. She was angry, unhappy and overly emotional. Her reactions to any situation were unpredictable. The UCSD program gave us the skills, tools, and confidence to fight ED. It gave us the support that we needed to re feed our daughter, and it gave our daughter the psychological and medical care that she needed to fight the disease. After 3 1/2 months of treatment, my daughter was discharged. I don't even want to imagine where we would be today if we had not attended the UCSD program. Today 8 months later at the age of 15, she attends weekly group therapy, weekly individual therapy, bi monthly nutritionist appointments, and monthly psychiatrist appointments. There are more good days now, than bad days. It is a work in progress. She still has many body image issues to work through. Recovery takes baby steps, but I am happy to say that each month we see improvement. As parents we can try everything to help our children but until they are willing to accept, understand, and fight their ED, no change will come. An inspirational quote that I would tell my daughter during her treatment was, "Change your thoughts and you change your world."