Early Intervention

The aim here is to provide clear information and practical guidance for AN sufferers and their family/friends so that they are better informed about the condition and empowered to intervene early.

Early intervention makes the difference between full recovery and a possible death.  My daughter recalled the three steps leading to her mind switch that helped her in reversing the downward spiral:
UNDERSTAND. First, she made the connection between research information and the story of others with what she was experiencing.
ACCEPT.  Second, she stop denying that there was a problem and acknowledge her condition of AN.
ACT.  Finally, she decided to trust her family to help her (ie: at the start it was to simply eat what she was served).

There are professionals who are able to help the sufferers and their families in overcoming this condition.  While they are experts in the field, be confident that you are the expert of your child/person with AN, a collaboration should yield optimal outcome.  In the cases where the person with AN is still living at home with the family, the family can effectively intervene and administer the feeding of the body and the mind.

When you have decided to collaborate with professionals, choose this help carefully.  Have an open discussion on their views of AN to ensure that they are up to date with current research that genetic and biology has an important role in AN and that AN is not caused by life challenges/problems (Refer to sections on AN: An Informed Perspective and Thrive Again).

As an example, the following actions were carried out at home by the founder of EitRF.org to help her daughter to a full recovery and continued self-discovery.  These actions were based on the understanding why AN happens (refer back to Scientific Explanation That Makes Sense) and A Guide for Patients and Their Families by Dr. Guisinger (in English and Italian). 

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Be a buddy, and don’t forget the parents…

Any friend or onlooker who has had the slightest glimpse of the journey of the person with AN will realise that AN affects not only one individual, but one’s entire family and group of friends.  It is important to be aware and considerate of how challenging it is for the parents, who are trying to understand the condition and accept what seems unbelievable, to save their child by addressing their physical and emotional needs, to define each partner’s role in this process, and also to care for the siblings who are naturally confused and hurt.  Siblings need to understand that this is the crucial period when their loved one with AN needs the most attention, help and support.

It is a very lonely period for the parents and they truly need support!  Be a buddy. Help a friend get through this difficult period by listening, no matter when or for how long. Allow them to discuss their worries with someone “neutral,” outside the family.  Make sure they take good care of themselves by eating properly, getting sufficient sleep and keeping fit.  After all, the parents face the daily, relentless task of helping their child thrive again.