A recent story has been making the rounds through the press about Lauryn Lax, a woman with anorexia who struggled since childhood with her debilitating eating disorder. Lax was just 10 when she started becoming obsessed with her weight, but with the help of members of her YMCA gym, she was eventually able to overcome it. The story is a moving testament to the power of having the support of friends through the recovery process. But it's also a reminder that the road to health can be long and difficult.
ABC News reports that, at one point, Lax's weight had plunged to 79 pounds. She was surviving on just steamed vegetables and frozen turkey burgers, and would work out six to seven hours a day. Her fellow gym-goers took notice, and one day they decided to confront her about the problem and take her to an emergency room.
What made the experience particularly bizarre for Lax was that none of the people asking her to see a doctor actually knew her very well. She states that she viewed them as acquaintances rather than friends.
"I know we don't know each other," Louise Grant, one of the gym members who intervened, told Lax at the time, according to The Tennessean. "I have to tell you that I would like to get you some help. I believe that you have an eating disorder, and I really want to do something to help you."
Although she resisted at first, partly because she didn't know the other gym members very well, Lax was eventually persuaded to see doctors about her condition. Oddly enough, the ER physicians nearly sent her away because she passed their wellness tests. However, the gym members who had intervened insisted that they address the problem, and Lax agreed to go along with their plans. She was later sent to a psychiatric ward, where she spent months trying to overcome her disorder and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
One particular experience, in which she experienced chest pains due to her heart having been weakened by the disorder, led her to commit to ending her anorexia once and for all. Fortunately, after a year of therapeutic efforts, she was able to leave the psych ward and return to a normal, healthier lifestyle. She is now pursuing a doctorate in occupational therapy from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and hopes to help other girls with similar problems end their eating disorders.
Although Lauryn Lax was eventually successful in overcoming her illness, it's not uncommon for those with similar cases to relapse and find themselves back at square one. This is because the pathway to recovery is long and difficult. Too often, these disorders are diagnosed and dealt with in only superficial ways without addressing the underlying depression, bipolar disorder or other psychological condition that is causing them. If more patients knew this going in, it could make the success rate of interventions like Lauryn's much higher.
If you or someone you know is struggling with anorexia or bulimia, it's important to remember that these disorders will take time to overcome. That's why at Fairwinds Treatment Center, we try to address these illnesses by identifying the root causes using our dual diagnosis approach. If you'd like to learn more about our treatment programs, please feel free to give us a call today to discuss them in further detail.