“Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous.”
- Brené Brown

 

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Getting Proper Treatment?

The following is a list of counterproductive and offensive things that healthcare providers have said or done to individuals suffering with eating disorders. Some of these things may seem to be minor to “normal-minded” individuals; but to the mind of a disordered eating individual, could not only be counterproductive, spiraling them back to square one in their treatment - but life-threatening as well.
The INTENTION of this website page is NOT to provide you with triggers - but I am hopeful that you will find the proper care you deserve during your treatment, recovery and healing process.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Dr. Susan Mendelsohn (Dr. Susie) at drsusie@me.com.

Healthcare Provider: Physician's Assistant (MA)
Situation/Circumstance: I was starting at a new Dr.'s office to get blood work done for Mono. When I was called back for a weight I told the MA that my dietitian didn't want me knowing what my weight was, so I turned around on the scale.
Statement or Behavior of Provider: She proceeded to say, "You don't even weigh that much, I wish I could weigh what you weigh because I'm a stick and you have a great shape." She then asked me if my dietitian had me on some cool new diet and I said, "No, I'm recovering from an eating disorder actually." She then went on again to say, "Oh yeah we have tons of girl's come in here with eating disorders who refuse to get weighed and its so annoying because the Dr. needs to know." She then kept comparing herself to me.
Result/Consequence: I felt like I weighed a ton and I felt so uncomfortable! I'm already self-conscious enough about my weight, and saying I don't weigh "that much but that she wanted to weigh how much I weighed because she “is a stick" is the worst possible trigger.

Healthcare Provider: General Practitioner
Situation/Circumstance: I started with a new Dr. after being diagnosed with Mono, and I was still doing strenuous exercise. I explained to her that I was recovering from an eating disorder where I restricted my intake, purged and over exercised. I also shared with her that I was struggling with the idea of not being able to exercise as often with Mono (because I was practically blacking out on the treadmill).
Statement or Behavior of Provider: She told me that she wasn't concerned about my eating disorder because I was a, "healthy weight" and as for the exercise she said that it was fine and to just, "listen to my body."
Result/Consequence: By her saying that she wasn't concerned made me believe that I could have kept on purging and over exercising everyday, because I was a HEALTHY WEIGHT! This also made me feel that I wasn't "skinny" enough for an eating disorder and thank goodness I had a great treatment team to prove to me otherwise! She also basically gave me permission to exercise with Mono which is extremely dangerous, and she knew that I was a compulsive exerciser. My treatment team advised me that it was dangerous to exercise and to ignore the advice of the Dr. and recommended a new practice of physicians.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER:  Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  I walked into my session with my Starbucks coffee.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER: “Oh good! You’re putting something in your body!”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I felt like a pig.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Family doctor
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  Getting my weight check by nurse
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   “Got any ideas on this?” I told her I didn’t want to know my weight. After weighing me the nurse said, “It’s okay, you have on your coat and boots.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  The nurses statement implied that I gained a ton of weight so I continued bingeing and purging.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Family doctor
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  When I was 14 and lost 40 pounds in three months I went to the doctor because I had so many fainting spells.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:  The doctor never once inquired about eating disorders or nutrition. HELLO!
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I continued losing weight and engaging in ED behaviors.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Nutritionist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  I realized I had an eating disorder after hearing a talk at my school about eating disorders.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   The first nutritionist I went to recommended some workouts for me and told me to join my university’s track and field team.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I assumed she was implying that I needed to lose weight/be on a diet so that purging through exercise was better than purging by vomiting.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Pharmacist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  In college, the course was taught by a pharmacist. We were talking about stomach issues and the causes of vomiting such as irritation, chemicals, nerves, gagging and so on.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   The pharmacist went on to say, “Those bingers and purgers make themselves puke all the time. Those people...UGH!”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I was so angry and felt so disrespected I wanted to slap him!
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Cardiologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  Went for check up for heart problems due to my eating disorders.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   “You’re sexy now, but if you were to gain 15-20 pounds you’d be even sexier.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  My eating disorder loved that statement because I felt like I was finally gaining control. But now that I am in recovery, I know that he was totally ignorant because he has no idea what the hell he was saying to someone as sick as I was! I couldn’t ‘just gain weight.’
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: General Practitioner
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  Physical check up
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   “So what if you overeat. Just make up for it by lessening what you eat for a few days and exercising a bit. You can always lost what you gain you know.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I felt like I was bad for eating too much. She never even asked what I ate. So I got the go-ahead to restrict for the next week.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: General Practitioner
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  First appointment - reviewing my medical history. I informed her of my history of eating disorder.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   She said, “Wow, you’re doing just fine now though aren’t you? You can’t even tell you had an eating disorder at all!”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I felt stupid and belittled. She clearly made the eating disorder all about the weight and had no idea what an eating disorder was all about. It spiraled me out of control for months.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: General Practitioner
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  In my gown having my yearly physical. I was very depressed and crying.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:  Doctor came in and asked, “Why are you crying? Stop crying. Stop whimpering. I’m going to walk out of the room so you can get dressed and compose yourself.”  She walked out and I sat there dumbfounded. She came back in and I told her that I felt I was worthless and didn’t belong. She responded, “Quit throwing yourself a pity party. Are you doing this all for attention? You are, aren’t you,” she said with a smirk. I told her I felt terrible that I had gained a pound and she said, “Come on...there’s more to life than weight. Stop thinking about it. I mean, come on, seriously, don’t you think people who sit and talk about their weight all the time are very shallow people?”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I left horrified and more depressed than when I had arrived to my appointment. I restricted for days and when I couldn’t any longer I started eating and purging again and that’s when my drinking become out of control….again.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Nurse
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  Getting weighed. I put my hands over my eyes after informing the nurse that I did not want to know my weight.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   The nurse asked, “Why don’t you want to know your weight? It’s ____. Just a little more than last time.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I felt totally disrespected. I was horrified to know that I gained weight. I had taken responsibility for telling the nurse I did NOT want to know my weight, as per eating disorder treatment and she told me right to my face! I relapsed into my ED behaviors all over again.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Counselor
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  I was deathly thin and told this counselor that dreamed of having VERY thin arms.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   The counselor told me, “Well if you want skinny arms, just exercise some more.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I was horrified. I figured I was defective since I couldn’t get my arms the way I was supposed to have them.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Psychiatrist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  Talking to my family.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   “There’s no hope for your daughter. She’s too far gone.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  Thank goodness my family had the sense to find a new treatment team!
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Psychiatrist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  During a typical visit
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:  “You haven’t lost that much weight. I’m not too concerned right now.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  Thank goodness my family had the sense to find a new treatment team. We have all learned that eating disorders are not about the weight. 
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Counselor
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  During a typical session I was relaying to her how I allowed myself to finally eat some cake without guilt and without throwing up! YAY ME!
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   My therapist responded, “Oh God no...don’t eat that stuff. That is so bad for your body. Too many carbs. I stay away from that stuff.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  Thank goodness I started realizing that this therapist had her own set of disordered eating issues and I found another “real” therapist who understand EDs!
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Nurse
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  I was in the hospital being fed by a feeding tube. My life was on the line.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   The nurse came in and exclaimed, “Don’t let them fatten you up too much here. You’re skinny, but no sickly. I’d love to be your weight!”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I was already sicker than sick. If only you knew. This just complicated the already complex situation I had been in emotionally, psychologically, mentally and physically. Over the next two years, I ended up in three residential treatment centers.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER:  Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE:  I had been seeing this therapist for over three years.  I had been hospitalized numerous times already for anorexia while seeing her.
STATEMENT OR BEHAVIOR OF PROVIDER:   "If you want skinny arms like me, just go out and do a couple hours of excercise everyday. 
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  Confusion.  I had a compulsive exercise problem back then as well.  I thought, maybe I am fat...I exercised more and more like my therapist said.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: General Medical Doctor
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Went for regular check up on anti-depressant medications. Patient suffered from bulimia nervosa but had been purge free for several months.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: First statement to the patient after entering the room “I see you’ve gained weight” then proceeded to tell the patient how much she weighed and what she use to weigh.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Sent patient into a binge/purge relapse, and started a new cycle of obsessive thoughts about weight and food.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: OB/GYN
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Preparing for emergency surgery. Never reviewed my chart and was completely unaware of my long history of my eating disorder.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDER: “Geeeez girl, we need to get rid of all of that excess skin.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Validated my repulsion for my body.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual therapy with a patient with severe anorexia.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDER: “You don't need to listen to her. You don't need a dietician. I can manage all of your care. You will follow my way. It is more than ridiculous that you haven't been permitted to work out. You must work out daily. Your nutritionist is only wanting you to gain weight, not be healthy. Her way will make will make you gain weight when I'm sure you would rather lose weight. Let me give you a list of some of the rules. 1. No potatoes except maybe once per year. 2. No processed food. 3. No high fructose corn syrup. 4. No sodas. 5. Only Truvia as a sweetener. 6. Only organic food. 7. No fast food ever!!! 8. No lunchmeat ever! 9. No food from any can. 10. No meat from a styrofoam container.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Continued to enable my anorexia. I felt like I was right on track (at the time) with my food rituals and my food rules. I felt great...validated that I didn’t have to change my eating habits.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Primary Care Physician at student health center at a university
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Went in for an office visit.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTHCARE PROVIDER: Nurse said, “Oh you’ve gained a few pounds since your last visit.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  I believe this sent my “eating disorder prone” way of thinking into restrictive eating and over exercise which eventually lead to a full blown anorexia. A normal person may have shrugged off this comment. But, to those vulnerable people, a simply comment like this could be deadly.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Nurse
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Hospital setting; patient with severe anorexia arriving on emergency for dehydration and electrolyte imbalance on the verge of cardiac arrest. Upon being situated in her room...
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Nurse stated, “Oh no, not another anorexic.” Later, after taking patient to the room, as the nurse was leaving the room to close the door, she exclaimed, “I hate anorexic patients.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Feeling more alienated/judged.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Orthopedic
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Patient with severe bulimarexia and soccer player needed to gain a substantial amount of weight.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Patient was weighed with ski jacket and books; purse on her shoulder containing 4 bottles of water. Doctor came in, looked at chart, told her that her weight was fine now and that her therapist was crazy and that she should continue playing soccer.  
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Continued to play soccer. Ignored my recommendations. Tore ACL and other injuries. Got scholarship for college. Had to drop out of college, due to ED. Never played soccer again. Four years later, still not in college.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: The following statements were delivered to a very ill individual with bulimia nervosa.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: “It’s never really okay to eat fast food.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: The comments triggered this young lady to binge and purge simply because she was told she “shouldn’t”.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: The following statements were delivered to a very ill individual with bulimia nervosa. This patient already ran 5 miles/day, 7 days/week.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: “You only need 1200 calories a day.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: The following statements were delivered to a very ill individual with bulimia nervosa who stands 5’4”. Health care providers should NEVER discuss their weight or compare themselves with their clients.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: “You weigh 110 pounds but I weigh 115 but I’m tall and for me that is the way I’m built.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Patient with bulimia told therapist she had had a “bad” week after a vacation due to eating out a lot and not working out as much as her usual “compulsion”.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: “Couldn’t you have avoided those negative feelings by working out?”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Thought to herself, ‘I guess I don’t deserve any breaks ever.’ Increased her workouts.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: In session to an individual suffering from bulimia nervosa.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: “You should eat six meals a day and they need to be 200 calories a meal so say goodbye to eating out or having normal meals.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: This individual was hopeless.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Hospital Staff - Eating Disorder Unit
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Patient arrived for suicide ideation also with history of anorexia.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Provided her with a binder for Binge Eating and Bulimia Nervosa.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Patient was horrified and figured she was too fat. Upon discharge, she handed the binder to her therapist.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual therapy - Patient with severe anorexia asked this clinician to help her learn how to be more comfortable eating out socially.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: “It’s not a good idea to eat out. I never eat out.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Patient was not allowed to eat out if she wanted to continue therapy with this woman.Patient became more and more isolated.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Patients require nutrition education for recovery. This has been a repeated story I have heard from patients who suffer with anorexia, bulimia and ED-NOS.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: This provider became irate with her patients who have sought nutritional guidance from a dietician. This provider advises on nutrition solely. She cooks all meals with patients and advises them to eat only organic foods - only things that came from the ground.  NOTE: This provider is NOT registered dietician.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Patients fall under the guise of yet another “diet”. If the patient is still very vulnerable (which most are as they enter treatment for the first time), then this type of guidance is dangerous and feeds into their disordered eating way of life.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Closure session.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER:  “Oh, Dr. Mendelsohn can’t help you, she’s chunky herself”… implying that an Eating disorder is all about the weight.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Confusion. Questioning her own judgment. Uncertain who to listen to. Feeling manipulated.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Patient with severe anorexia was told by her dietician to drink Ensure to help with weight gain.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: This provider tried to get me to drink a weight loss drink in place of the Ensure and was irate that I was listening to a dietician.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Confusion, felt manipulated.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Patient with severe anorexia was just discharged from a residential treatment facility.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Told me to stop journaling and that everything I learned in the treatment center was wrong and all I needed was her five days a week.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: I was confused.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Patient with severe anorexia.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Told me I was not even allowed to eat cake on my birthday.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Fed right into my anorexic way of thinking. I was thrilled.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Patient with severe anorexia on the brink of death.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Told this patient to go out to buy exercise DVDs and work out at least an hour every day.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Health deteriorated. Starvation set in. Family finally allowed her to leave this therapist.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Patient with life-threatening anorexia.Although this patient had been manipulative (due to the severity of ED); she realized that this therapist was making her worse...the to point of starvation with her own personal diet plans. This patient wanted to find another therapist.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: To the parents: “She’s going to die without me.” (Yet, this provider doesn’t believe in hospitals or treatment centers...and required this patient to come to sessions SIX days/week). When finally leaving her, this provider YELLED at this client and demanded to know who she was seeing “because I need to warn them.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Felt manipulated, but free. Got the help she needed and two years later is in full recovery.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Patient with severe anorexia confesses to this provider that she had restricted that day and hadn’t eaten anything.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: “Oh don’t worry. I gardened all day and all I ate was a slice of watermelon.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Patient felt validated that she didn’t have to eat in order to recover.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Eighty pound patient with severe anorexia.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: “Make sure you go running every day.”
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Loved it. Feeds right into her disordered eating mentality. (Who needs another therapist?.. This patient gets to do what ED wants her to do…)

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Individual sessions. Patient with severe compulsive overeating and bipolar disorder - former body builder.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Advised her to binge - and proceeded to tell her the combination of foods to binge on!
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Sent this patient into a downward spiral of severe depression. Required medical attention.

HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Patient with severe compulsive overeating and bipolar disorder - former body builder. Couldn’t afford the 5-day/week treatment plan that this provider recommended for her.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Had the patient working in her yard every day/night doing her gardening work to pay off her therapy bills.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT: Felt like her slave. Felt manipulated. Left her to find another therapist. This provider contacted this client THREE weeks after this client left and harassed her about why she couldn’t deal with therapy...stating that she wasn’t ready for a change in her diet because she wouldn’t use her diet recommendations. Then she proceeded to prod her for information about who she is seeing. The patient informed her that she is in good hands and she has been seen for three weeks by a proper dietician.
 
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: Clinical Psychologist (ED)
SITUATION/CIRCUMSTANCE: Advertised a relationship group that I agreed my patient  with a very long history of severe anorexia and bulimia should attend as an adjunct to her individual treatment. This provider never once returned my calls prior to the outset of the group for information about my client.  Every week, after each group session, my client called me in a severe crisis. Come to find out, this group was falsely advertised, as every group member was there for weight loss rather than relationship therapy.
STATEMENT/BEHAVIOR OF HEALTH CARE PROVIDER: My client, who was vulnerable to begin with, was advised by the therapist in this group, to go home to binge. She had been binge/purge free for months at this time.
RESULT/CONSEQUENCE TO PATIENT:  Severe relapse.Questioning her judgment. I recommended her to leave that group prematurely.
 
Health Care Provider:  Psychiatrist
Situation/Circumstance:  At an appointment with my psychiatrist.  We were talking about my best friend who died of brain cancer seven months ago.
Statement or behavior of Provider:   "Just get over it, move on, stop being so nostalgic about it."
Result/Consequence to Patient:  Devastated.   Felt like I was wrong for still being sad about her death.  Crushed.
 
Health Care Provider: Family Medical Doctor
Situation/Circumstance: Trying to explain my fears of gaining weight while at a checkup appointment.
Statement or Behavior of Provider:  "People who talk about their weight all the time are very shallow people.  Do you want to continue to be shallow for the rest of your life?"
Result/Consequence to Patient:   Shame.  I engaged in ED behaviors even more after that. 

Health Care Provider:  Family Medical Doctor
Situation/Circumstance:  I was talking about how I felt I had binged when I had two bowls of cereal.
Statement or Behavior of Provider:  "Well, if you do over eat one day like you did, then just don't eat much the next couple of days.  Simple as that.  That way you won't gain weight.  Thats what i do."
Result/Consequence to Patient:  Disbelief.  Horror.  Shame. What her comment taught me was it was okay to starve myself if I eat two bowls of cereal again. I learned later (with another therapist) that two bowls of cereal is NOT a binge and that starving myself the next day is NOT what I need to do to compensate EVER.
 
Health Care Provider:  Family Medical Doctor
Situation/Circumstance:  I was explaining to my doctor the new guidelines my nutritionist had given me.  My dietitian told me to eat six small meals a day.
Statement or behavior of Provider: "What???  IS SHE CRAZY???  Six times a day??? You will be diabetic if you eat that many times a day!  All you need to do is eat three meals a day. Your body can't handle six times a day - no ones can."
Result/Consequence to Patient:  Extreme fear that I would gain weight rapidly after hearing her say that.  Refused to listen to my dietician. I had in my head that an M.D. Knows best.
 

Health Care Provider:  Psychiatrist
Situation/Circumstance:  I had been admitted to the hospital for a suicide attempt.  The next day my family and I talked with the psychiatrist.
Statement or Behavior of Provider: "There is no hope for her anymore.  She is too far gone."  
Result/Consequence to Patient: Made me wish that I had succeeded in my suicide attempt!!!
 
Health Care Provider:  Family Medical Doctor
Situation/Circumstance:  I was at a check up appointment with my family doctor.  I had gained some weight, and I was scared, I couldn't hold back the tears.
Statement or Behavior of Provider:  "Well what in the world are you crying for? Stop that.  You get dressed, I am going to leave the room while you compose yourself.   Then she promptly walked out, slamming the door behind her.
Result/Consequence to Patient:  Humiliated.  Felt berated for crying.
 
Health Care Provider:  Family Medical Doctor
Situation/Circumstance: First appointment with a new doctor.  I was there for a physical for my eating disorder.  I had just told her how I wanted to be 100 pounds again. 
Statement or Behavior of Provider:   "Girl, looking at you now, you can't even tell you have an eating disorder.   You're fine.  But if you were to be at 100 pounds, that would look ugly."
Result/Consequence to Patient:  I only went to her a few more times, but the last time I was there I made sure i was 100 pounds on the dot.  This same doctor laughed at me when I told her I drank mouthwash for the alcohol in it. 
 
Health Care Provider:  Cardiologist
Situation/Circumstance:  I had just gotten out of the hospital recently for heart problems caused by anorexia and bulimia.  I was telling him how sluggish i felt. 
Statement or behavior of Provider: "Well do you exercise?  You should try running and walking everyday, that might make you feel better."
Result/Consequence to Patient:   I felt fatter than ever because he encouraged me to exercise.  Even though I had almost died from heart complications, I felt totally dumb and so ashamed and like I wasn't sick at all.
 
Health Care Provider:  Cardiologist
Situation/Circumstance:  My cardiologist (whom I see due to the consequences of my eating disorder) asked me If I drank.  I was honest and told him about my severe alcoholism. (The consequences of my alcoholism include being raped on several occasions; suicide attempts; isolation; loss of friends; incapable of working and so on).
Statement or behavior of Provider: "Well you know, beer is good for the heart.   Women can drink up to two or three drinks per day and be totally fine, so if you feel like having one, go ahead." 
Result/Consequence:  I seriously started to believe that my drinking was "healthy"...since women can have a few drinks a day and be okay.  I started drinking again rather than listening to my treatment team. It became a vicious cycle and I am still fighting my alcoholism and my eating disorder.
 
 
 
If you have a story to share, please contact Dr. Susie via email at drsusie@me.com. Please provide the following information:
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Statement or behavior of the provider
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