difficult child home after a month in hospital


New Member

Picked daughter up Friday after much pestering for several days from me to the doctor at the hospital. Husband and I had weekend plans and we had a spot for her in a respite camp so we weren't sure what to do. The doctor finally decided to release her on Friday and also recommended we apply for residential asap.

Let me tell you, daughter had been aloof and defiant the month she was there. We only saw her a couple of times. She behaves like a child with Pradi-Willi around food. The first time she was ever hospitalized, back in February, for 14 days, she gained 11 pounds. It was shocking. THIS TIME, she gained 20 POUNDS. She looks PREGNANT. I'm not exaggerating. She is short, takes growth hormones. She is only 4'9" and weighs 114 now. Before February, she weighed 83. I can't believe she did this to herself.

Does anyone else have a difficult child that will eat themselves into an unhealthy situation like this?

We're talking about a girl that was once a part of the prestigious Houston Ballet Academy. She has been in the Nutcracker and other professional venues and danced with world reknowned professionals. She was invited onto an elite competition gymnastics team at age 9. This is the kind of body she had genetically. She doesn't care. Just to be oppositional (that's what we believe) she does this. It's sooooooo weird.

She went to the respite camp while we went out of town and my in-laws picked her up for us. Of course, she stole a cell-phone while there; nothing new, and denied the whole thing even though they conducted a search and found the phone in her bag. She of course denies the event and says the phone was planted and that it was not found in her bag. She ALWAYS denies events in the face of evidence. (SIGH)

I guess my brief summer fun (2 weeks) is over and I'm back to being in difficult child prison.


Active Member
Kanga was an elite athlete prior to her becoming so mentally unstable so I have been there done that. It was heart breaking to get the letter informing us that she had been selected as one of the top girls at her sport and was invited to compete as part of the national program - she was in the psychiatric hospital, still unstable, and will never compete at that level again. To be so close to the dream and to lose it, not because she wasn't good enough but because of mental illness...it still hurts.

A weight gain after a month in the psychiatric hospital where exercise just doesn't happen is expected. And many psychiatric medications cause weight gain. And her body is developing and changing. Add in her being oppositional to you...

I think if you pick this hill to die on you will be setting her up for a lifetime of food/body image issues. I would simply make sure that all food in the house is healthy and as natural as possible. There are many summer camps that have alot of physical activity involved (NOT a weight loss camp, I think that would backfire badly - just a regular old summer camp).


Well-Known Member
Well, lots of medications cause fast, dramatic weight gains...some big offenders are Depakote, Lithium, all the anti-psychotics especially Risperdal and Zyprexa, antidepressants (except Wellbutrin)...if you have to take psychiatric medications it is almost a given that you will gain weight. The medications make you hungry enough to sit and eat an entire cheesecake. I had always had uber control over my weight until I was put on Paroxatene and I gained 80 pounds. I have lost a lot of it, but it's hard and I'll never be skinny again.
even abilify, which is a weight neutral ap, can pack on the pounds.

mine gained 20lbs in roughly 2 months.

so look to her medications first, if she's on any of them...she may not be having food issues intentionally...


How very truly sad, Change.

At least you had a chance for some respite.

Have you had any luck finging an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for her yet?

My step-daughter, cultured difficult child, was a petite, tiny little thing til her dad and mom split. In retaliation, her mom pulled her out of all activity because her dad would go and watch her (mom kept her from dad for a LONG time) and wouldn't let her play outside. Stepdaughter doubled in size that first year, and now she just turned 13, is 5'4", and weighs 180+. Wearing women's size 16. At Christmas, she was in 12's. Last summer, she was in 6's and 8's. She hasn't grown any taller in the past year, but gained 5 sizes. She has heart disease, diabetes, and back problems prevalent in her family, and now she has a weight issue she will probably fight all her life. It makes me sad to think of a lifetime of struggle and health issues for her that were so un-necessary...so that I can relate to...but I don't know what to do to help her, either.

Anyway...hugs. I hope you can find regular respite until you find an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) for her.


New Member
Thanks for the support and for sharing. This is going to come out wrong, but y'all know what I mean: I'm glad I'm not the only one in the world who has seen someone do this to themselves. :(

JJJ, I saw what you put down as Kanga's diagnosis and that is exactly what thave my difficult child down as right now. BUT---they are constantly changing it. None of her doctors ever agree on what it is.

Everyone else, she has been on medications all along and never gained the weight...probably because she is growth delayed and needs growth hormone and also because she had never been allowed to "eat herself into the ground" like this. We manage her very well and don't keep junk food/snacks in our home...when we do, we hide it.

Thanks for the warnings about which medications. She was on Abilfy briefly but not at the psychiatric hospital. She was just put on Zyprexa but only in the last few days. I'm not kidding...I think she is purely oppositional when it comes to food. She is about most things. :( She only got as far as she did in ballet because she truly had a passion for it...as soon as she got to a high level where they started applying a ton of pressure no matter the talent, she "quit" on them and became oppositional there too. I could never praise her either. If I did, she woud blow it in class. The school told me she was the most difficult student they ever had. They didn't kick her out at all but that's what they told me when I told them she wasn't coming back. They weren't advancing her and tuition there is so high; I wasn't going to waste my time and our money anymore. Plus, it was embarrassing. She wasn't like the other students anymore.