Friday, July 17, 2009

Ask the Expert

Each Friday, I will post a question answered by Dr. Kathryn J. Zerbe. The questions are part of an on-going coversation with Dr. Zerbe from the New York Times.

NY Times Bio
Dr. Zerbe is the author of “The Body Betrayed: A Deeper Understanding of Women, Eating Disorders, and Treatment” (Gurze Books, 1993) and “Integrated Treatment of Eating Disorders: Beyond the Body Betrayed” (Norton, 2008). She has had 25 years of experience working with individuals with eating disorders and directed the Eating Disorder Unit at the Menninger Clinic for five years. She also served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Work Group on Eating Disorders in 2000 and 2006.

Week One

I can’t believe I am actually reading something on my age group. I am 49 years old and have been suffering with bulimia/laxative abuse for more then 2 years now. After listening to a recorded talk by one of the directors at Remuda I was able to pinpoint what triggered my disorder. Sadly, that doesn’t help regarding treatment. I live in Philadelphia (home of Renfrew) but am the primary breadwinner in my family (which includes 2 daughters) which makes it impossible for me to seek intensive treatment (either outpatient or residential). Even with decent medical insurance, high copayments make it also impossible for me to seek even moderate therapy. Sometimes I can put 2 days together without suffering but more often then not it’s multiple x/day. Sorry, this is much more then a comment but I was so excited to read about my age group that I got carried away. Hope to read more in the future!
— Gayle

From Dr. Zerbe:
You might consider seeing if there is a support group for midlife women with eating disorders in your area. Be sure to also consult with your primary care doctor to make sure that a medical cause has been ruled out. There are also some excellent training programs in Philadelphia (the Beck Institute; the medical schools; and the Psychoanalytic Institute of Philadelphia) where trainees treat patients at lower cost. You might find some affordable treatment there to help you. There is also a chapter in each of my books, “The Body Betrayed” and “Beyond the Body Betrayed,” on anorexia and bulimia in middle age. Good luck!

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