There is no worse feeling as a parent than seeing your child suffering and being unable to do anything about it. Our daughter had always been a happy child, smart, done well at school, popular with loads of friends and always playing sport. However, once she went away to university in France things started to change. She became increasingly moody and also became a really fussy eater. She also became pre-occupied with how she looked and continually complained of looking fat or being over-weight.

When she came home at the end of the first semester we were shocked at how thin she looked, although put this down to her university lifestyle and she assured us there was nothing to worry about. If only we had known then. Her visits home became increasingly infrequent and she often cancelled planned trips or came up with reasons why we couldn’t go and visit. Things eventually came to a head when we received a call from one of her tutors, who was worried that he hadn’t seen her in weeks. That episode ended in her being hospitalised for six weeks during which we frantically searched to find her some help, somewhere she would be willing to go.

We chose Phoenix because of the location and the privacy, as well as the quality of the treatment programme, which focused on her physical, mental and emotional recovery in equal measure. We arranged with the university for her to take an extended break and, as far as her friends knew, she was travelling and no-one ever knew where she had really been.

However, they all knew that something had happened as the transformation was amazing and the girl that returned to Paris to resume her studies was happy, healthy and a totally different person from the desperately sad young woman who had first entered the Phoenix retreat.
Anorexia: a parent's nightmare - Phoenix Individual Retreat in Spain
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