This is just heartbreaking.
News.com.au reports that admissions of pre-teen girls with severe anorexia nervosa to Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital have risen by over 1400% in the past four years. The article continues:
Clinical leader Dr Andrew Kennedy, who overseas eating disorder patients, said the increases were “staggering”.
“It continually blows our minds how sick these kids can get,” he said. “A 13-year-old girl recently was so malnourished when she came in she had to go straight to intensive care.”
Kirsty Greenwood, from the Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria, said: “There is simply nothing out there for these children”.
The Royal Children’s had been trying its best to cope with the increased demand, she said.
“They’ve stretched their resources and finances to the limit hoping that it was just a blip, but the numbers are still going up and they can’t do it any more.”
Princess Margaret Hospital clinical psychologist Julie McCormick said PMH was seeing about 80 new patients a year with eating disorders. At present it was treating 200 children for eating disorders, including some as young as eight with anorexia.
Dr Fursland said her clinic, the Centre for Clinical Interventions, was treating about 350 people for eating disorders and there were long waiting lists.
The Brisbane Times has more here, including a case study of an eleven-year-old girl who traces her anorexia to being teased about being “overweight” at school, and being taken by her parents to an obesity clinic. She lost weight, and remained desperately unhappy, convinced she was obese, and ended up spending three months in hospital – a feeding tube in her nose, but without adequate psychiatric and counselling support available. From the story given, it seems that both her parents and the “obesity clinic” attributed her depression/mental illness to her size, and were deluded into thinking that dieting was The! Cure! Meanwhile, the girl herself became lost in the shuffle.