Thanks Emernurse, Meerkat and BSNtobe;I appreciate your feedback.
The analogy with a junkie wanting his/her fix makes a lot of sense. Mind you, I worked in drug and alcohol (you guys call it chemical dependency) for over a decade but rarely encountered this kind of hostility! At least, not this pervasive, sniping, relentless hostility.
I guess the bottom line is that they're in treatment because their parents have put them under duress to come in, not
because they want to be there.
It's just a bit
tiresome when "kids" as old as 25 (!!) are still acting out their teenage rebellion fantasies (but still living at home when not in hosp., expecting mum and dad to fulfill their every need). Somehow I don't think hospital really helps them with their attitude problem. Being around their fellow ED pts just seems to result in a race to the bottom, i.e. a competition to be the sickest.
In fact a senior psychologist I spoke with told me the evidence shows that treatment doesn't really work (at least, not any more effectively than no treatment). Bit demoralising to know that, but I think I remember reading it's pretty much the same with chemical dependancy. Everything depends on motivation. However, treatment does help keep them (ED patients) alive during the medically dangerous process of refeeding.
As for coping with them, I do generally go for the option of ignoring the worst, most childish behaviour, but wonder if I wouldn't be better off telling them more often that rudeness isn't acceptable. It just never seems to work for me when I do try this! Not having kids of my own, I guess I haven't quite perfected the right tone of voice for such things.
Thanks BSNtobe for the point about normal teenage behaviour. I don't remember feeling it was OK to be obnoxious and disrespectful when I was around that age, but I guess times have changed. I do find it wierd that kids now have such a sense of superiority, yet seem to remain immature and dependant for so much longer than back in the "old days". (I'm 47, so going back a bit of a way).