“You suddenly go, I’m watching her die, I’m literally watching her die, and you think I can’t do anything about it.”
This is how Jim Brown (the family’s names have been changed) described his realization that his 11-year-old daughter had an eating disorder, and that he had to try anything and everything to save his daughter’s life.
He and his wife, Sarah, turned to Nancy Zucker, PhD, director of the Duke Center for Eating Disorders, for help.
Once their daughter was in treatment, Zucker suggested the Browns participate in a parent support group. The support group allowed them to see that their family was not alone in the fight against an eating disorder -- and that to help their daughter recover, Sarah and Jim would also have to learn to take time for themselves.
“Self-care means making a mental decision to care for yourself, because you understand that it will help your child recover,” says Zucker. “It requires physically taking time to do things that help you feel more relaxed and less stressed or anxious.”
Some 11 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. The Duke Center for Eating Disorders specializes in the outpatient management of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other forms of eating disorders.
To read more about the Brown family's experience and to learn more about the Duke Center for Eating Disorders, click here.