Constant Eating

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by ML, Nov 12, 2010.

  1. ML

    ML Guest

    After reading Desperate's thread I got inspired to post about this. It's nothing new, but I thought those of us dealing with this issue could sort of touch base and share what is working.

    Manster is eating all the time. I have to physically stand in front of the kitchen at times to say "STOP". I used to worry about contributing to the problem and all the things I thought would be the right way to deal with this problem have flown out the window. I can't be the only one who cares about this. He is at an age and size where he has to buy in to it. I can't control his eating when he is at his dad's or at my mom's... heck I can't even control it in my own home. I will be in Al-anon some day with this "hello my name is ML and I am a food enabler". But for now, I have got to find a way to do deal with this.

    It's not about eating healthy at mealtime or reading labels. It's about finding other ways to deal with whatever is driving this need to eat. I don't think it's necessarily an issue of hunger. I'm back to the point of thinking the next move is to have him join a weight clinic.

    I almost wonder if maybe those of us dealing with this could form a subgroup? This is so big in our lives right now and I could use all the support I can get.

    Lasted edited by : Nov 12, 2010
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My son is so hungry all the time (and I'm convinced he has no "off" switch, like most people) that his morning his will be tested for Prader-Willi Syndrome. If that comes back negative we're going to a clinic in Madison to try to find out why. It's not normal, in his case. He will chuck down sugar from the bag and steal money to buy food. This is a child who really HATES to do things wrong. He cries afterwards and says, "But I can't stop being hungry." I don't think it is psychological.

    I have no answers...yet...but will keep you posted.
  3. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Kiddo having major hunger issues, in her case direct cause is the Zyprexa, she never ate like this before.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    In our family that urge is/was directly related to the medication. Sorry I don't have any other input but I do understand that it is a cause for concern. by the way, difficult child has almost the same diagnosis's as your difficult child. Fortunately for him he is tall and lean so at least we haven't had concern about the weight issue. Good luck. DDD
  5. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    abilify=nonstop eating=30lb weight gain in less than a year.

    and i am massively concerned about the weight/health issue, not to mention the self esteem angle.

    in our case it does often to be actual hunger and occasionally boredom. i enable too--what mom wants their kid to "go hungry?" and just how many "healthy choices" can a mom of 2 difficult child's come up with in one day--i go through produce like its free as it is. and i did actually resort to not buying things and/or hiding things.

    but so much for a "weight neutral" drug.

    in mansters case, maybe is more of an impulse control issue....
    what does *HE* say about the need to eat--can he articulate anything to you? maybe that would hold a clue as to the best way to manage it.
  6. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    I was going to say the same thing as the others. When we put difficult child on his medications I was told that one of the side effects could be an increased appetite. Have you talked to the psychiatrist to see if this is the came with his medications?

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Please be SURE that anyone with constant hunger, esp if it seems "gnawing", is throughly checked for stomach ulcers. Years and years ago, when I was pregnant with Wiz, my mother had that symptom. She was ALWAYS hungry and it never went away. Finally she told her regular doctor instead of just the doctor who was treating her lupus and arthritis. We learned she not only had ulcers, but that she had had them for a long time and her stomach was severely damaged. The valve at the bottom of her stomach, the one that lets food into the intestines, was so scarred that it stopped opening at all. They were able to get her almost a year by using balloons to open it back up, but it was so bad that they always had to use the pediatric balloons rather than the adult ones. Even after the procedure they couldn't fit the adult balloon into the valve. Finally they had to REMOVE the valve at the bottom of her stomach along with all the little gizmos that make stomach acid. It forever changed her life and the way she can eat. Her ulcers were caused by medications that she was on and a doctor who ignored one of the major signs of ulcers - constant, nonstop hunger.

    MANY of the medications our kids take are hard on their digestive systems. How many say take with food, or cause upset stomachs, or have directions saying that you cannot lay down for 30 min after each dose? It is important to check for every possibility, and hopefully the problems can be fixed or at least minimized.
  8. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    Susie's advice is excellent, and something that should definitely be tested. I think tests for Prader-Willi and other hypothalamus problems might also be a good idea. I also want to offer an Aspie perspective, once you've ruled out all the possible medical causes.

    I have always had terrible trouble interpreting hunger and fullness signals, as well as hot and cold. It seems to be related to Sensory Integration Disorder (SID). In my case, it usually involves forgetting to eat rather than eating too much. I won't realize I'm hungry until there is a secondary signal such as feeling faint or shaky. I do have trouble telling when I'm full as well, and tend to stop eating based on being tired of chewing or bored with eating. I chew each mouthful about 32 to 35 times, so I can't sustain eating for very long before I'm either tired or bored. This has helped with managing my weight. Sometimes though, I keep eating until the last bite makes me gag. Then I realize that I have no more room in my body for food and I stop.

    I wonder, ML and MWM, if your boys are struggling with a similar issue. Perhaps they're having trouble with the hunger signals and need to learn to tune into something else to let them recognize "enough".

    I don't know if this is helpful or even applicable, but I just wanted to throw it out there as another thing to think about.

  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    i put on fifty lbs with Zyprexa/Seroquel (not to mention a ;potentially lethal rare side effect of both medications). I had never had a problem managing my weight before the medications. I am off atypical APs now and have been for a few months. Unfortunately, while the constant hunger is gone; I am having a real problem getting rid of the weight I'd gained.

    One thing I can say; the hunger is REAL.
  10. Jena

    Jena New Member

    I think for majority of our children it does fall into one simple answer the medications. now that isnt' always the case i do get that. Yet we all know that with alot of these psychiatric medications the side effect is weight gain which comes from them being simply ravenous due to medications.

    answers i have none. i'm on the opposite end of spectrum right now as you guys know and wish for the eating. yet there wasa time not so long ago that difficult child couldn't stop shoving food into her face to the point she'd want to throw up.

    i solved it by hiding snacks, and just having to police what was in the cabinets. it's a nightmare, sux and isn't easy and pushing water all the time which fills you up with-o the calories and also which is good for them.

    have no clue other than to say good luck! i'm sure i'll be back to that problem again someday
  11. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Trinity, I thought of that, but I don't hear of other Aspie kids who are medication free having this problem. My son is 245 lbs. and 5'8. He is seventeen. If we lock up the food, he will still find ways to eat and bring stuff in from school. The medications started his horrible craving for food, but he never recovered. Now he has been off of medications since age 11 (six years) and he isn't eating any less than he did on Risperdal,l Depakote, etc. He has been tested. So far no answers. Gotta keep trying! It most certainly COULD be a hypothumus problem so that is going to be looked into. He is hungry ALL the time.
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    They also should check the adrenal gland function. From early childhood until I was in college I was terribly underweight. Like Trinity I would forget to eat. I could spend HOURS cooking and still not eat because I didn't realize I was hungry. There were several times I was told if I lost even 1 more pound or my parents saw me skip even part of a meal then I would go straight to the hospital. There was a problem somewhere between my stomach sending the hunger signals and my brain registering what they were. There were times I went 3-4 DAYS without eating anything unless someone reminded me. In college I had a really good guy friend, more a brother than anything else, who would bully me into eating. If I picked at my food he fussed at me and if he thought I skipped a meal he would drag me to the next one whether I liked it or not. I managed to get to a healthy weight for hte first time - 15 pounds more than I had ever weighed before. (I weighed 79 lbs and was 5 feet tall when I graduated high school. I look like a starving child poster in those photos.)

    I have HUGE food issues - with the texture, the taste, the smell, and with certain combinations of foods. Add to that my body gets nauseated from Vit D (NOT joking or making this up, wish I was), and it is a real challenge to eat a healthy diet.

    There are a LOT of things that can contribute to weight problems, over or under. Be sure the docs check the thyroid carefully. Not just the basic thyroid levels, also have them test to see if the body is attacking the thyroid. Autoimmune thyroid disorders can create havoc with weight and hunger. I have no thyroid to speak of and even on a diet of 1000 calories a day I cannot lose weight. Not any. With the right amount of thyroid hormones, it is easier than I ever thought it could be to lose weight. Still a LOT of work, but for the first time in my life I saw results from fewer calories and increased activity!

    Don't let the doctor get tunnel vision on PWS or any one thing. Have them check EVERYTHING because so many things can contribute to weight problems.
  13. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I believe most of my difficult child's weight gain is due to his medications. Not only is he always hungry he never wants to eat healthy. We have tried having healthy foods available-he will obsess, tantrum, non stop til he finds something he wants to eat. I know we should be stronger about healthier foods but because in the past he would get violent over food (at the time he was thin) we chose not to fight the battle. He is not even 5 feet tall and weighs 136 pounds. He just had his physical and the pediatrician is worried difficult child may develop type II diabetes.

    Food is such a difficult issue with difficult child and we aren't dealing well with it-sigh.
  14. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    WO I found some whole grain muffins in varieties my kiddo will eat in the bread section recently. Things like that to have around as a snack might be worth a look (and with the fiber content he might learn to limit himself on how many he eats!).
  15. ML

    ML Guest

    WO Manster is the exact size as yours. Same weight and height.

    Susie, you gave me a lot to think about. Thank you for that.

    Manster is on medications but not the big weight gain ones. They talked about putting him on Risperadal but because of the already existing weight problem they won't. He is on Zoloft, smallest dose, 20 mg Ritalin and 2 mg clonidine. Can those medications be responsible?

    Trin, I also have wondered if it isn't a sensory related thing with him. Like a complex stimulant of sorts.

    MWM it will be interesting to see how it goes with L's testing. I feel so bad for him.

    He wants to get it under control because he's afraid of taking needles for diabetes like his Uncle. Tonight he told me his plan to only eat so many grams of sugar, etc. Yeah and my diet starts on Monday lol.

    Thank you everyone for your posts. It helps to not be alone in this.
  16. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I will say from my own personal experience that yes, Zoloft can cause weight gain.
    I watched Mom die from diabetes and related complications, he's beyond right in wanting to head that off. If he eats like he already has it (i.e. healthy, balanced, in moderation, with an eye towards foods that keep blood sugar level) he might well be able to avert it. Read up on the glucose index of foods and drinks (that wasn't around when Mom was) and help him learn how to make those healthier choices in both what foods he eats and how he prepares them. Could be a good bonding experience for y'all, too, if he enjoys cooking, and the whole family could maybe benefit from it (a nice way to help others, yes?).
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    For treats that can fill that need for sweets with some built in consequences for eating too many, have any of you tried the fiber bars? We keep a close eye on fiber intake since Jess had the impaction a couple of years ago. When these became available we started to keep them on hand. My kids LOVE the taste of most of the brands and actually prefer them to the other granola bars on the market. I don't have to keep a close eye on how fast they eat them either. thank you didn't believe that they would have any impact on his bathroom experience so he ate an entire box one day (six bars). He actually ate them in about two hours. Then he spent the entire evening in the bathroom and it was NOT fun. He expected some sympathy and to get to stay home the next day because he felt "funny" and was tired because he got up several times in the night to use the bathroom again.

    A full day of school and hearing us each say "Well, you were warned not to eat more than one. Now you know why." instead of pampering him like he was sick really trimmed his pig outs on them. I stopped buying the other kinds except for the zone bars that we use when the kids need a snack with protein or husband is going to be at a game all day and won't get much of a meal break. THOSE bars are kept put away because even husband will eat three or four at once if I don't say something.

    I hope that together we can maybe figure out how to help our kids and our selves.

    Michelle, the zoloft can cause a LOT of weight gain. The stimulant might help offset that, but it is likely his body has adjusted to the amt of stimulant if he has been on it a long time. I am not sure if clonidine has any impact on weight.

    Check with your local hospital (regular and/or children's if you are near one). Our local (small) hospital has a program for kids to help them learn how to eat a healthier diet and lose weight. It gives them a lot of peer support, fun ideas for foods that are healthy and taste good, and a lot of good education on the topic. It is an ongoing thing, not a set number of weeks and every so often they have someone come in and teach some cooking classes to the kids. I have also heard that some of the programs like weight watchers will work with kids if a group of them can be found. Not sure if the one I heard of was only there because one of the leaders had a child with a weight problem and set it up or if it is available everywhere. But it is a thought.
  18. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Yes, I do keep fiber bars of many brands around, some are so high fiber she can't eat one and she doesn't like most of them. The Weight Watchers snacks, Skinny Cow ice creams, and some stuff from Blue Bunny she'll eat. She used to eat Fiber One and Activia yogurts, too. Air-popped (not microwave) popcorn with spray butter is a good snack. And she likes that scrambled eggs fill her for a while but that's the only high protein food that does. She won't eat the bars anymore, but right now she'll eat eggs.
  19. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    MWM, you mentioned that L's constant eating was triggered when he was on medications, but that he's continued with it even though he's not been on the medications for years. For some reason that rung a bell, so I went through my archive last night...when husband was seeing a bariatric doctor a couple of years ago to guide him through his weight loss (200+ lbs), the doctor mentioned that the body can get addicted to carbohydrates because of the impact on your blood sugar. Especially if you're insulin resistant. Your body starts to crave the spike in blood sugar, but then insulin doesn't work as effectively at regulating it, etc. and you end up eating more and more carbs to get the same effect. husband has been following the Glycemic Index diet for a few years now, and it works very well.

    Susie, aside from the Vit D sensitivity, I have a lot of the same issues with textures, smells, combinations of food etc.

    ML, I have tried to come up with a strategy for the times when I need to eat and eat and eat. I wonder if it will work for Manster. Rather than trying to limit my intake of things that will make me gain weight (have you ever tried to eat just one potato chip? Doesn't work), I figure out what I like about that food and replace it with something else. Lately I've been making what husband calls "Trinity's Giant Crazy Salad". It's romaine lettuce, black olive slices, pickled beets cut into cubes, dill pickles cut into cubes, green peppers, red peppers...sometimes green olive slices, sometimes slivers of almond, sometimes shredded cheese. I put that all together in a mixing bowl and toss it with a strong flavoured tart vinegar based dressing -- balsamic vinaigrette, or oil with lemon juice, or something like that.

    It's salty, crunchy, pickly...and makes loud crunching noises when I eat it, just like chips. It takes a couple of hours to eat, because I get bored and have to take breaks, but it will last me through an entire movie or something. So no chips, no popcorn, just a crazy-salad. It might be worth experimenting with Manster on substitutions...

  20. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Trinity. If nothing comes of this current testing, we'll try a Bariatric doctor. The big problem is son isn't motivated to curb his hunger or lose weight, although he's self-conscious about it.