Medical Edge: Eating disorder awareness

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CINCINNATI (Liz Bonis) -- Experts say eating disorders are the number one mental health concern that take young girls' lives. A local mom is telling her story hoping to save lives. Its a story of hope for those who are literally "starving" for attention; hope they will get the help they need. Paula Bruners 10 year battle of trying to save her own daughters life will not be in vain. She is practical and passionate about getting young women the help they need. And she has some new tools, just released, to help her do that. Katy Bruner was just 16-years-old her mother said when it all began. Paula remembered, She wanted to lose weight, like a lot of teenagers do, and she was successful at it. But as that success turned into a deeper obsession, Katy's mother said her smile hid the secret life of an eating disorder, One of her friends actually came to me and said when they were practicing for sports Katy wouldn't even drink water. Katy died at age 26 but Paula said her memory was still touching lives, I want people to remember her love. She once did a presentation that who you are makes a difference and she makes a difference. As a mom Paula not only wants others to know the early warning signs for eating disorders but that there are a lot of newer interventions for treatment that can make a big difference. She mentioned that a specific tool kit helped her learn that there were a lot of questions people can ask as a parent about what to expect from treatment. So parents know they are on the right path. More importantly, Paula said, if people have tried something already know that there are newer and maybe better options for their family member. Paula remembered, She pretty much denied she had the illness and she was really resistant to getting treatment for her eating disorder. So that's what I want to change, I want to let parents know the tools that are available and the support. The tool kit comes from the National Eating Disorders Association. It addresses everything from brain changes to how parents are not parent of the treatment team. Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke said, We know that eating disorders are an illness not a choice; that once a person is engaging in eating disorder behaviors it affects their brain, it then affects their behaviors. Dr. Kearney-Cooke is a psychologist and said, More individuals die from Anorexia than any other mental illness. So this is really important that if you suspect this you address it. You just don't hope that it goes away. It's also important, Paula said, that other parents know, That it's not their fault. That we are not that powerful, it's a genetically based illness. We don't choose the color of their eyes and cant choose their illnesses. Now Paula also is part of a team of moms working with legislation to address access to health care for those with eating disorders. She had some challenges getting the care her daughter needed because certain things such as her weight not being at a dangerous or low enough level to meet criteria initially for an eating disorder diagnosis. That means people can't get treatment paid for if they don't meet the criteria. CLICK HERE for a link to the tool kit. Follow Liz Bonis on Twitter @lbonis1, and LIKE her on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter @Local12 and LIKE us on Facebook for updates!

Quotes

"I was told by Doctors I'd done too much damage to my body over my teenage years and I would probably never have children. My husband and I are very pleased to say I've just given birth to our first baby, Evelyn"

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