• ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology
  • ADHD books published by NorthEast Books & Publishing, by Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology


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Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia, by Harriet Brown

A gripping account of a family's struggle to help a teen daughter with anorexia to recovery. A partial success story with an uncertain final outcome that is, perhaps, still in progress. Family therapy helped this family.

Family Therapy: Concepts and Methods (10th Edition), by Michael P. Nichols

Mike Nichols' engaging yet thorough guide has long been the standard in family therapy. The author describes and analyzes the field of family therapy, covering its history, schools, and developments. Numerous cases help readers apply theories to real situations and make the text even more engaging. The book compares different schools of family therapy and explain the contemporary status of distinct schools of therapy. (from the publisher).

Page updated: November 19, 2015

Eating Disorder Stories - Brave Girl Eating: A Family's Struggle with Anorexia - Book Review

You can overcome depression without antidepressants.

Summary and Opinion:Brave Girl Eating was passionate and inspiring, gripping. It is recommended, and the focus on family therapy is appreciated, it makes sense and you can easily see demonstrated what evidence indicates, how family therapy is of value when treating any individual's mental health disorder, including eating disorders.

Summary and Review of Brave Girl Eating

Brave Girl Eating is a family story that is gripping and captivating. Brown, pen name, offers insight into the struggle a family faces with anorexia, how they "loose" their daughter to what she repeatedly refers to as the "demon" of anorexia, the other person that is not their daughter, inside her daughter, that surfaces in this one year intense uphill battle.

Brown introduces the story with mixed feelings about publishing the book, at what point is she exploiting her child's or the family's agonies for the sake of a book. But the book is published, and it should give wider publicity to the many-faceted aspects of this illness, for lack of a better word, that afflicts one in one hundred (mostly) female teens and women.

What is of interest here for parents, researchers and professionals, is the research that Brown herself did, in trying to unravel the causes and solutions for eating disorders.

You follow along with her as she researches classic works on the subject, which often carry sweeping generalizations, various theorists as to the reasons teens develop eating disorders, and finally to a solution involving their choice in therapy, which Brown states is 90% effective, in contrast to 30 to 50%, at best, for more mainstream therapies, including hospitalizations. There is a high relapse rate with eating disorders.

Family Based Therapy (FBT) is the treatment of choice that the family decides upon. The ordeal actually became a uniting force in the family's lives, an agonizing one, but it was a choice that was not one of handing over their daughter to others to fix the problem, but it was one in which the parents took responsibility for their daughters recovery, becoming, what she refers to as "food police," helping to restore their daughters weight and try to heal the emotional wounds and self-hate involved with their daughters condition.

Brown helps the reader to see that the causes of eating disorders are not a cookie-cutter recipe. She gives insight into the financial end of trying to treat eating disorders, including battles with insurance companies, the families own failures and mistakes, especially her own, she candidly reveals, giving further insight into both the perpetuation and healing power of love and commitment, as well as personal responsibility that the family takes in order to help their daughter to recover.

In the Brown family's experience, drug treatments bob their heads up and down in the form of Prozac, Zyprexa and tranquilizers, which do not seem to offer much of a solution for a number of reasons. Antidepressants do not cure eating disorders, although they are often prescribed copiously for such.

Of interest also, for anyone reading on the subject of any number of mental health topics, including depression, bipolar disorder and others, Brown cuts through a number of misconceptions and issues that are universal to mental health conditions including that of labeling, anorexia is more than an illness, like bipolar disorder, it comes to define the person, the girl is anorexic, she does not have a illness.

Also, she comments on the confusion, common in mental illness and eating disorders, of measuring and diagnosing cause or effect, and the confusion between the two. There are many similar points that Brown documents, that are of value for those studying mental health issues.

The book was novelish, (one criticism, one f-- explicitive, not a necessary adjective for a book like this) as interesting, thought provoking and suspensful as any novel I've read, and is a valuable contribution to mental health literature on a professional level.

Please visit the main Eating Disorders, Anorexia and Bulimia page.