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(Original Air Date: 05/12/10) Did you know that anorexia nervosa is affecting young girls and boys at an ever-increasing rate, and that the mortality rate for 15- to 24-year-old girls with this eating disorder is 12 times higher than all other causes of death combined? At 16, Jennifer was a vibrant, beautiful teenager, a great student and gifted athlete, with hopes of someday traveling around the world. Today, nine years later, Jennifer weighs a frail 90 pounds and battles every day with anorexia and bulimia. Jennifer’s parents, Sue and Allan, and her little sister, Abby, all say they don’t recognize Jennifer anymore and that her eating disorder is destroying their entire family. Jennifer has had more than 50 hospitalizations for severe dehydration, a pacemaker implant at 21, and her teeth are now rotting and falling out. Her family fears she’s on her last days. Could their behavior be contributing to her debilitating disease? How can they combat the problem without enabling her and save her life?

Find out what happened on the show.
Comments
Replied By: jlopez2710 on Aug 5, 2012, 12:09AM - In reply to nikpmup
Eating disorders are actually biologically-based brain disorders.  This means that the illness grips the person from their brain.  They actually become unable to eat.  These are not willful acts.  These people may appear at the beginning to be logical but they are not.  They cannot function, especially this poor girl who has been malnourished for such a long period of time.   They are trapped inside the illness.  There is little difference between battling cancer and battling an eating disorder.  Eating disorder sufferers WANT to get well.  You heard this girl, Jennifer, on the show state this over and over.  The ones who die from eating disorders while they are in the care of families or have been in and out of treatment centers for years have actually not received the proper care.  I know this is hard for those who have lost loved ones to hear.  Unfortunately, most in the field of eating disorders are caught up in the wrong thinking about what the illnesses really are.  Now that new studies have come out, they are just beginning to write the definitions of these illnesses and just beginning to reveal the truth about the best treatement.  Treatment begins with separating the illness from the person.  The person does not want the illness.  The illness has taken over and they have no control!  Recent scientific evidence now has come out in the last 5-10 years to prove that these illnesses are akin to having autism or epilepsy.  The key is getting proper treatment for the proper duration of time to combat the starvation effects first and then tackle the brain illness.  Go to FEAST-ED.ORG to learn more about the truth about eating disorders.  I am terrible sorry about the loss of your loved ones.  Let's do all we can to prevent any more loss of life to eating disorders when they are actually TREATABLE ILLNESSES!!!! Dr. Phil did not direct this girl and her family, in my opinion, to a place where she will receive proper treatment which means full nutrition full time for a long period of time (one year at least).  You have to get the person out of the state of malnutrition first and then tackle the psychological aspect of the illness.  A person cannot take care of themselves if their brain is not functioning properly in the first place.  See feast-ed.org for more information.  I hope Dr. Phil reads this and has his team do better research.  Stop listening to the old school and false notions of the internat'l eating disorder assn.  Science proves EDs are NOT learned or willful behaviors!
 
Replied By: tracy_madd on Aug 8, 2011, 3:31AM - In reply to nikpmup
While I sympathize with the loss of your daughter I think you have no idea what you're talking about when it comes to eating disorders. Did your daughter ask for cancer? was it a choice she made? ridiculous question? well so it is completely ridiculous to suggest that these young men and women have somehow done this to themselves. It is a mental illness. The starvation is merely a symptom of the illness. Do you really think they would want to be sick? starving? do you have any idea what goes through the mind of someone with a ED? It isn't about wanting to be supermodel thin. It is a extremely complex illness. If you want to get informed go to the F.E.A.S.T website or visit 'Around the dinner table'. Read some of those stories and learn what it's all about. Then next time you might have something valuable and helpful to offer someone instead more of the same old ignorent comments that are well and truly out of date.
 
Replied By: margareta8 on Nov 8, 2010, 11:41AM - In reply to nikpmup
Imagine, there are 4 women (mothers) sitting in front us, telling us they've lost their children... One says, my child had a disease, she suffered in pain for years... The second one says: mine died immediately in a car accident, I couldn't even say good-bye at least you had the chance/time to do that. The third one says: my child died during vacationing, brought to a hospital alone and I wish he had been in my arms when he passed. I got there too late.... The forth one says: mine didn't even make it to the hospital, didn't get that chance, at least yours did. Can we really choose who is carring more pain? I don't think we could. All pain and all causes are really terrible to the person/family itself. Truly sorry for your loss! Greetings from Amsterdam. xxx
 
Replied By: margareta8 on Nov 8, 2010, 10:46AM
I just saw the show on Jennifer & her family. We are a little bit behind on the shows here in Amsterdam. Dr. Phil, I really wish to see how things develop with this girl and her whole family. Seeing the father cry and being so very concerned made me cry for the entire hour. It really is a sweet sweet family, such lovely people, you can just tell. I would really prefer you giving us updates on them instead of that other family you are following... with Alexandra who keeps getting pregnant and the whole family seems to seek nothing else but attention. I would rather see this family developing their lives much much more!!!!!! It was such a GREAT powerful hour with them. Thank you.
 
Replied By: silverwoman on Oct 7, 2010, 10:35PM

I don't understand how anorexia can be acknowledged as a the most severe mental illness that results in 20% death and you cannot forcibly keep someone who is severely suffering from this disease in a locked treatment facility??? A person is not allowed to endanger others or herself and be released from a mental facility. How is this different than a person who is determined to commit suicide by not eating, especially because she is suffering from a mental disorder (not, for instance, making a political statement or protest)? A person isn't allowed to slit their wrists or even to talk specifically about committing suicide without spending at least three days in a locked mental ward and longer, if necessary, to determine that the person is no longer a danger to herself or others???? Why is this option not discussed on Dr. Phil? Why does he not explain why this is not an option for the families on the show??
 
Replied By: silverwoman on Oct 7, 2010, 10:33PM

I don't understand how anorexia can be acknowledged as a the most severe mental illness that results in 20% death and you cannot forcibly keep someone who is severely suffering from this disease in a locked treatment facility??? A person is not allowed to endanger others or herself and be released from a mental facility. How is this different than a person who is determined to commit suicide by not eating, especially because she is suffering from a mental disorder (not, for instance, making a political statement or protest)? A person isn't allowed to slit their wrists or even to talk specifically about committing suicide without spending at least three days in a locked mental ward and longer, if necessary, to determine that the person is no longer a danger to herself or others???? Why is this option not discussed on Dr. Phil? Why does he not explain why this is not an option for the families on the show??
 
Replied By: loricarson on Aug 31, 2010, 12:27PM - In reply to teahappy
how did your family get help? What do I do to stop enabling???? How do I heal my family?
 
Replied By: loricarson on Aug 31, 2010, 12:24PM - In reply to barkely12
What a wonderful story!!! I am afraid to hope for my son anymore. I am so happy to hear that your daughter found the strength to fight back and win.
 
Replied By: loricarson on Aug 31, 2010, 12:19PM - In reply to jovon1960
Hi there, thanks for the words of encouragement. We r exhausted. Jeff is back in the hospital. I guess we are all just trying to survive. I feel terrible for the other children, they are missing out on so much too. I appreciate your prayers.
 
Replied By: gr8daytoday on Aug 31, 2010, 6:12AM - In reply to mzukowski
Thank you would love to communicate not sure if I can post my e-mail, maybe you can post yours/

Sue
 
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