Unlike our mothers, who had no idea what on earth we were up to – one contemporary, who had full-blown anorexia at 15 and only surfaced into normal life again in her early twenties, cannot remember ever even discussing her illness with her mother -we can scent an incipient eating disorder at 100 paces. Perhaps too readily. Professor Hubert Lacey, Director of eating disorders at London’s St George’s Hospital, where he has worked now for 30 years, regularly sees his old patients bringing their adolescent
daughters to see him – at times, he says, with cause, but at others, not. Sometimes, cruelly, panicking parents may actually bring on the very catastrophe they have been so desperate to avoid: one 21-year-old girl dates her descent into full-blown anorexia from the time her mother, who had suffered with the condition herself, had her admitted to a very expensive in-patient private clinic where she learnt all sorts of self-destructive copycat behaviour patterns.
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