Any eating disorder nurses out there?

  1. Does anyone work with eating disorder patients?? What is it like?
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    About ToughingItOut

    Joined: Sep '08; Posts: 119; Likes: 57


  3. by   Meriwhen
    LOADS of Axis II...seriously. Almost every patient in my ED program has at least one Axis II diagnosis: Borderline and Obsessive-Compulsive are the front-runners. So start reading up on personality disorders.

    Many ED patients also have a CD issue of some sort. Which to me isn't too surprising because working in ED is really like working with addicts. Recovery from ED doesn't always happen on the first attempt, it doesn't happen overnight, and there will be lots of relapses into bad behavior along the way. And some patients just don't want to recover.

    Physically, electrolyte imbalances, cardiac problems and GI issues are very common.
  4. by   CarryThatWeight
    Agree with Meriwhen. I worked with ED girls for the last two years. This sounds bad, but in addition to the above, get ready for manipulation. ED patients are among the most manipulative patients you will ever meet. They will lie straight to your face and not think twice, try to get on your good side so they can get something from you, etc. It helps to remember that it is a disorder, and not necessarily the individual that is behaving so badly. OCD and Borderline are huge, and you MUST have firm personal boundaries with them. It is not all negative and can be very rewarding, however. You just need to keep in mind that ED's are the most fatal of psychiatric disorders (our psychiatrist used to say that a lot) and they are very difficult to treat. Celebrate the small victories and be patient, patient, patient with them. Good luck!
  5. by   spdaydream
    I'm only an RN student now, but as a former eating disorders patient, perhaps I can give you some insight. I have been hospitalized numerous times with anorexia and bulimia (currently in remission), and can tell you that my assigned nurses are the reason I decided to go into nursing. So, you can indeed make a huge difference in this field if you're good at what you do. I completely agree with tammy -- we are a manipulating group! But (in a strange, convoluted, sick and twisted way) we WANT to get caught. I can't tell you the number of times I lied about not purging, or hid butter, or quietly exercised in my room. The biggest piece of advice I can give you from my perspective is to be aware of "bad" behavior and bring attention to it! The nurses who called me out on it were the ones who were doing their job -- saving my life! The eating disorder is like a demon, it takes over the mind and forces the sufferer to bend the rules in order to keep the disorder happy. I really just wanted someone else to take away the burden by forcing me not to cheat the system. By telling me that it was inappropriate to lie, or having repercussions for hiding food or exercising, my nurses (the good ones, anyway) were punishing the eating disorder demon and making it easier for me to stick up to it. If you think you can make a difference in this population, then go for it! It's tough, for sure. I'm an intelligent, well-educated, kind person, but during the worst of it, I threw food, screamed at nurses, slammed doors... remember, it's the disorder!! Along with the psychological aspect, eating disorders have a physical effect that is horrifying. The brain atrophies, and due to lack of nutrients, the mind does some crazy things. I'd love to work with eating disorder clients, but for the time being, the issue strikes way too close to home and I'd be putting my own health in jeopardy. Good luck!