Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Families Play a Role in the Development of Eating Disorders

PHOENIX (March 18, 2008) ­ Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders
(, the nation's leading and largest inpatient treatment
center for women and girls suffering from eating disorders, reports families
often play a major part in both the development and healing of eating

Part of our treatment program includes Family Week and this occurs mid-way
through a patient's stay at Remuda, said Amy Wasserbauer Ph.D., assistant
clinical director at Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders. Families are
very much a part of the puzzle of eating disorders. There are biological,
psychological, cultural, and family reasons why a person has an eating

Some of the common characteristics of the families that Remuda treats
* Distant fathers
* Chaotic families or families with substance abuse problems
* Mother¹s high expectations for daughter and/or demanding parents
* Parents who openly foster sibling rivalries
* Over-controlling or domineering parents
* Father¹s depression, rigidity, or excessive self-discipline
* Marital conflict
* Parents¹ sexual relationship problems
* High levels of parent-daughter stress and family tension
* Fathers who are chronically ill

Another common thread we see are family members who are disconnected from
their own feelings and become emotionally distant from others, said
Wasserbauer. Many families come to Family Week disillusioned because they
feel they're a close family, but when they begin to understand that their
loved one with the eating disorder never experienced validation for her
feelings, felt unimportant because they never listened to her needs, they
begin to see that although they did a lot of activities together, they
weren't connected emotionally.

Family members often come to treatment with fear, carrying their own shame
and guilt about why their loved one is struggling. Family Week challenges
families to stop pretending, to get honest, and learn to be accepted for
their failures and humanness.

Research shows that positive family support can open the door for healing.
If a patient doesn't have the family's support, it¹s much easier for her to
relapse in the future.

The most important thing a family can do is listen to one another, validate
emotions and be careful not to judge, adds Wasserbauer. This often means
they need to make time during the week to be together without distractions
like cell phones and the TV, so they can really hear each other.

About Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders
Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders offers Christian inpatient and
residential treatment for women and girls of all faiths suffering from an
eating disorder. Each patient is treated by a multi-disciplinary team
including a Psychiatric and a Primary Care Provider, Registered Dietitian,
Masters Level therapist, Psychologist and Registered Nurse. The professional
staff equips each patient with the right tools to live a healthy, productive
life. For more information, call 1-800-445-1900 or visit .

No comments: