Hey there friends! I know that it has been a long time since I have posted any content on my blog. And I have missed you. But, I know that you will understand once I fill you in on the developments to my journey.
And, I hope that you post your comments, and fill me in on what is going on in your journey as well.
But today, we are going to talk about something that is very important. This is a topic that has been brought into the Horvath household recently, and one that has been ongoing in our life since my daughter was a toddler. But, just recently received the attention of her physician. This topic is mental health & eating disorders.
“Weight obsession affects millions of teenagers today, especially girls. At any given time, one out of every seven women has or is struggling with an eating disorder. One study a few years ago found that 36% of adolescent girls - more than one out of every three -- believed they were overweight, while 59% were trying to lose weight.” (Understanding Eating Disorders in Teens, www.webmd.com)
I know that mental health & eating disorders may be a topic that most people don’t want to talk about. But, we need to! Especially when the recent statistics are going up in teens and young adults. Therapists are stating that it is because of COVID-19, that after the pandemic, they have seen an increase in mental health needs.
“Documented teen mental health claims released in a recent report nearly doubled during the pandemic, highlighting the staggering effect the pandemic has had on teens. And that report only deals with private health insurance claims. It doesn’t take into account unreported incidences or those with government-issued health insurance.” (Teen Mental Health: A Vulnerable Stage of Life, https://www.sosillinois.org/)
The article on Teen Mental health notated above, continues to say:
“Increases in Several Mental Health Conditions
The most notable increases in mental health conditions included anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive, schizophrenia, and substance abuse.
Anxiety: A 93.6 percent increase in anxiety from April 2020 over April 2019 for teens ages 13 to 18 years old
Depression: An 83.9 percent increase in depression from April 2020 over April 2019 for teens ages 13 to 18 years old
Schizophrenia: Claims for emergency department visits for schizophrenia among those 19 to 22 years old increased 61.3 percent in April 2020 over April 2019
Self-Harm: Claims for self-harm (e.g., cutting, crashing a vehicle, attempted suicide) ballooned 333.93 percent in August 2020 over August 2019 for teens ages 13 to 18 years old
Substance Abuse: Substance use disorder claims rose by 62.7 percent from April 2020 over April 2019 in teens 13-18 years old “
These statistics have just gotten worse.
In the past few weeks, since my blog post in early March. We have had to take my daughter to physician appointments, and therapy appointments. One right after the other. And then, we were told that we needed to take her to Phoenix Children’s hospital to be evaluated.
That was one of the hardest things - this Momma has had to do yet! The staff was incredible. But, it was heartbreaking to see your child have to be searched for evidence of self-harm, and then have everything stripped away from them, and then have them put in these sterile rooms with cameras. They are not allowed to have any of their own clothing (because of ties and zippers), or any possessions. They have to have staff called sitters with them 100% of the time. They are not even able to have remotes to the tv’s in their room. And, what they watch has to be pre-approved by the Psychiatrist on rotation. I felt bad when she was told that she couldn’t watch the movie she wanted to watch because it could be triggering, or too violent. Keep in mind… the movie - was Frozen.
No, I’m not kidding. They would only let her watch it if I was in the room with her.
But, walking the halls while we were waiting for her evaluation - was even more heartbreaking. The mental health ward of this hospital is overfilled with children and teens. My daughter had to wait a few hours for her bed to begin with. And, I was told - that the day that she was there was a slow day.
Normally in a mental health evaluation - the parents and the child are evaluated separately by a social worker, and the Psychiatrist is brought in for their evaluation of the child as well. But now with the hospital being inundated and crowded. The Psychiatrist does their evaluations through the cameras. My daughter never got to actually speak to them.
When I asked why not. I was told that it was because the Psychiatrist only sees patients that are in dire need of their time and personal attention.
This was both good news, and frustrating.
Good news = she wasn’t considered to be bad enough to require the personal attention of the Psychiatrist.
Frustrating news = we left the hospital without a diagnosis from the Psychiatrist, which was the main reason that we went to the hospital in the first place.
The social worker did meet with both our daughter, and with us together (even though I had been told that we would meet with her separately).
We were able to get confirmation that it did look that she has the potential of being diagnosed with an eating disorder, and that they agreed with her Physician that she has severe depression. So, we left at least with that knowledge, and a list of treatment centers and doctors to make future appointments with.
For two weeks, I called treatment centers, dieticians, and Psychiatrists to attempt to make appointments.
I was frustrated to find either voice mails answering the calls telling me about the approximate wait list times of 6-8 weeks, or to be sat on hold for hours at a time, to be told that they don’t have any space for new patients.
And then there is always the question if they take our insurance, or if they only take self-pay payments. And man oh man… am I in the wrong industry! We are talking $175 for the first appointment, and then averaging $135 for every session afterwards. Some of the therapies are asking to meet up with her or us at least twice a week. And, I don’t know about you… but, I am not made of money or time.
It took me a long time - but, I finally have found a treatment center, but there is an 8-10 week waiting period. Meanwhile, I continue to attempt to connect with her, help her to manage her eating, and be there for her as much as she will let me. But, I continue to receive alerts on our parent monitoring app of things that she posts on discord, texts and emails. And, my heart skips a beat with every alert.
But seriously friends. Hug your little ones (and not so little ones) a little tighter tonight. Tell them you love them... even though you will more than likely get the eye roll. Because, secretly - they are craving it more than ever before.
Love you friend! Hold on. We will get through this together. Let's journey on!