May 13, 2009
An estimated 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder, and anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Family members of victims often suffer the consequences of the disease as well. Are there early warning signs to watch out for? What can you do if you suspect a loved one is anorexic or bulimic? Dr. Phil tackles this emotional topic with a family in crisis.
“Save My Daughter, Identical Twin Sister and Fiancé”
Cheryl wrote Dr. Phil because she says her talented and beautiful 23-year-old daughter, Sherri, has struggled with anorexia and bulimia for 10 years, and she fears she may die without an intervention. Shannon, Sherri’s identical twin, worries her sister’s heart will stop in the middle of the night. Shaun, Sherri’s fiancé, has called off their wedding until Sherri gets her behavior in check.
Beginning of the Battle
According to Shannon, Sherri first started watching what she ate when she was 10 years old at gymnastics camp. Since then, Sherri’s anorexia and bulimia has spiraled out of control, and at her lowest she weighed 76 pounds. She has been in treatment three times, but often purges only days after she is released.
Compared to Her Identical Twin
Cheryl, Shannon and Shaun agonize as they watch Sherri give in to her disease. They say Sherri doesn’t realize her suffering affects those around her. How can they contribute to Sherri’s healing? Dr. Cynthia Bulik, director of the University of North Carolina’s Eating Disorders Program offers advice to the family.
Dr. Bulik explains her Crave-ology profile, and how it helps you take charge of your appetite and your urges. Could Sherri’s mother be contributing to her relapses? What must this family do to help Sherri conquer her eating disorder?