Today's topic is all about what you have in an eating disorder MD that you like, or dislike, or what you need, or don't need. I have a lot of experience on this one, so I'm glad to give my input!
I have had many doctors in my day that I saw specifically to monitor me during my anorexia. And, it took me finding several doctors until I found the right one. During my quest to find an MD that was both compassionate and tough, but also knowledgeable about eating disorders, I saw it all - the great, the bad, and the incompetent.
I had two doctors "fire" me, not because I had been uncompliant, but because they were simply willing to acknowlege the fact that they felt under-qualified to treat me, because my anorexia was so severe, and they just didn't have enough experience treating the disease to give me what they thought was the adequate care I needed. And you know what? I REALLY appreciated them acknowledging that they didn't think they could help me, and referring me to someone else, all in my best interest. I'd rather they be up front and honest about it, rather than string me along, while I get sicker and they remain clueless.
I've only had one eating disorder MD that I thought was really, really terrible. And I'm not going to go into details, because it really doesn't matter, but I will say that several people I know had terrible experiences with this doctor too, and there have been several formal complaints filed against her. Fortunately I only saw her for a few months before I realized she was not a good person (or really, a good doctor) and moved on.
Photo - smothering Cade with I-missed-you-on-my-trip-love.
When I started seeing my current therapist, she referred me to my current physician, that is in her treatment team, so she works very closely with her, and they meet once a week to discuss ways to further and better their patient's care. I LOVE this. I love that my T and my MD know each other and work hand in hand. Neither of them are kept in the dark about my progress, and they are a team and work well together to help me be well.
My current MD is by far the best (and my favorite) eating disorder physician I have seen. And here's why:
She is extremely knowledgeable about eating disorders. You can't pull any sneaky crap with her. You get weighed in a hospital gown, and backward, so that you can't see you weight, and even though I am loathe to get out of my clothes and get weighed in a gown, it's good to know she's getting an accurate weight and that you can't pull any crappy moves to throw your weight - and really, if you were desperate, of course you could, but she makes it extremely difficult to. When I see her, she asks me a series of questions about my eaitng disorder, and mental health in general. Am I restricting? Purging? Taking laxatives or diet pills? How much am I exercising? Do I feel suicidal? Self-harm behaviors or urges? Etc etc. And, if I answer yes to any of those questions, then we talk about it and come up with a plan.
She knows the right bloodwork to order and what levels to check if I have been restricting, (though she hasn't had to do that in a long time - yeah recovery!) and she's all about making sure I get regular EKG's and bone density scans if necessary. With medication, she's tough - she prescribes you what you need, but she doesn't over-prescribe, and if you want hard-core sleeping meds (like Ambien) or benzos, then you have to sign a contract explicitely stating you won't abuse them, or else she won't prescribe them anymore. Like I said, she's tough, but it's GOOD.
And on top of all that, she's just COOL. She'll walk in and always yell, "BRIE! HOW THE HELL ARE YA?!" at seriously like the top of her lungs. I always grin when I see her, and she's so easy to be around, that I always feel comfortable opening up to her. I am so lucky to have her.
Even though I am recovering from the ED, and am no longer in a dire state where I need a lot of medical care, I still see her every couple months, just to get refills on my meds, to check in, and to make sure things are still going well. I'm really happy I've finally found an ED MD (after all these years) who helps me and is a perfect fit for me. In my opinion, having a physician monitoring your eating disorder is an intergral part of recovery and treatment, so I'm lucky I have her.
What do you guys love about your ED MD?