Short, thin… and with a pseudo “anorexia nervosa”

G writes:

Hello,
Ok, I am writing from France.

I cannot stand all the struggles I had to face to get a correct diagnosis for my ADHD.
I have a wonderful GP, she was instead the first one to suspect my ADHD when I was… two and a half ! Official diagnosis happened three years ago, at 23 years old.
Even if I am 1.52m for 42-43 kilos, she has never ever made fuss of it : “As long as you are pleased with eating, I don’t see any reason to worry about you”.

The only center for adults with ADHD in France was the hospital I was cared before. Indeed, stimulants can only be prescribed by a psychiatrist, a neurologist or a specialist in a sleep center, once a year.
In between, any doctor can renew the prescription. My GP renews my prescription, she keeps an eye to my weight even if she does not weigh me every time, the cardiologist does not absolutely worry about me (I saw her for the cardiac baseline and because I had two dry pericarditis : one month and a half in bed and aspirin, or it would had led to heart failure, she said. I can only say that she has never ever bully me because of anything, not even my ADHD behavior).

So, the first time I came, I was a bit thin because of a very bad stomach bug I had.
The psychiatrist, an ash-blond lady who always believes she is more beautiful than she actually is, told my mom and I that I am anorexic. She fits me to numerous appointments, RD, psychologist, blood work and so on.
The RD says that there is no reason to worry about any problem with my eating and that there is no reason that I weigh myself at home.
The psychologist says that there is no reason to worry about an ED because I have no pattern of thinking which would make think about an eating disorder. Yes, I suffer from hyperacousia due to a congenital Single Sided Deafness, yes I don’t easily stand noise, yes stress prevents me from swallowing (and it’s nothing new), but ED is something we can easily rule out with me.
Blood work did not reveal anything to worry about.

The psychiatrist accuses me of cheating at tests.
Then, she “informed” me that “deafness has no impact on socializing”. I beg your pardon ? Even a person with an intellectual disability or a low average intelligence can understand that not hearing well creates difficulties to socialize : in a few words, they are even more intelligent than that psychiatrist, who earned a medical degree in a Kinder egg (an Italian idiom, and yes, I speak Italian besides French and English. I can also say that I manage not too bad in Modern Greek. She said that someone who has a hearing impairment cannot be really able to learn foreign languages, therefore I can only pretend to speak foreign languages.
She scolded me to have been nearer to her because since I couldn’t hear her, I had to read lips. She scolded me telling me that I was not a socially competent person and a rude girl, and that my mother should kick me out of her home because I suck her money. WTH ??
She considered that my place was at shelter work for all my life and that there was no hope for lazy patients. OMG !!!!
At the end, while we were separating and I was crying like crazy, she considered useful to add that “I have other more deserving patients to care”.

I cannot report her to the medical board because she is perfectly capable to contact the seep center I am cared now (and it was difficult to convince them to take me) and do everything to make them turning me down from medical care.
The thing is that not many psychiatrists in France accept the diagnosis of ADHD for adults : how often did I hear that “it’s a diagnosis to excuse looser guys for their laziness and accept they pretend to suffer” ? Too often to count, unfortunately.
How often did I hear that “it’s a diagnosis to excuse parents for their refusing to take their responsibilities, Children Protective Services would had never allow such a failure to happen” ? Too often to count.

For my aunt, it was like normal (she worked as a nurse in psychiatry before retiring) until I brought the fact that there should be a “slight” problem *sight* if she thinks that such a behavior is unacceptable for a cardiologist but perfectly acceptable for a psychiatrist. She did not even know what to say. Thank God, at least someone who got it !!!!

On the same idea, a specialist in infectious disease considered that I can only lie on my age (I was 24 years old) and that if he made again all my education, such a failure would had never happen because only an absent father and incapable mother could had led to such a mistake of the nature.
It happened because I said “I don’t know” to a question he asked and that for him, it means that I couldn’t have a proper education from capable parents.
OMG !!

So, because I am short and thin, plus I suffer from ADHD, I have been considered by some doctors that I don’t even deserve to be alive. For them, I pretend to suffer, so I don’t deserve any form of medical care.
I sometimes feel that I don’t deserve being alive. It does not last, fortunately, and I am about to go back to university in order to earn a degree in law. In the meantime, I fight to receive adequate medical care.

Social Security did not create the mess. Contemptuous doctors did create such a mess. MD who consider they know everything, whereas they don’t, create such a situation. Can we hope for them to be treated the same way they treat their patients ?

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6 Comments

  1. I don’t have anything helpful to say, but I’m sorry you’re going through this. It sounds like the doctors really need some education about your condition.

    I wish you the best of luck.

    Reply
  2. G.

     /  August 19, 2012

    kprofou,
    Unfortunately, in France, adults with ADHD are often considered as “receiving such a diagnosis to excuse their laziness” or “we give them Ritalin in order to allow them to become a junkie”.
    The thing is that I also have a hearing impairment.
    So, if you combine both, it becomes very explosive.
    But I agree with you, some doctors lack the basic education they need to be physicians.

    What still amazes me nowadays is that the ash-blond lady who always believes she is more beautiful than she actually is considered as the specialist in my country for adults with ADHD. I am still amazed, and yet, I should had only been half surprised.
    She also works in a ward where they care adults with ED. She became somewhat obsessed by ED, so each thing which slightly looks like ED is ED no matter what.

    I moved on from that psychiatrist to a sleep center.
    The sleep center took me on a derogatory clause because I had no other solution to get my Ritalin prescription and follow-up.
    The psychiatrist who follows me rocks :D It changes from my ex-psychiatrist !!

    The funniest thing is when I showed to my current psychiatrist the photo of my previous psychiatrist, he replied that : “I would not take her as a doctor, unless on my bed death”.

    Reply
  3. I am so sorry you and many others have been treated so abhorrently by doctors. I am starting to hear these stories more and more. I find it to be shameful and psychologically harmful to people in need. I am in recovery for an eating disorder myself (bulimia) and also have thyroid issues. I am not obese but I once was. I remember what it felt like to have my general practitioner tell me I was lazy and fat. Please hang in there. Never give up.

    - Jo

    Reply
  4. That sounds SO frustrating. There are many more reasons why you might be underweight than anorexia nervosa. I don’t know whether you were dangerously underweight or just skinny, but either way, that doctor should not have immediately concluded you had an eating disorder. My mom, for example, weighed around 100 pounds when she was first diagnosed with celiac disease. She looked anorexic even though she ate plenty. Turns out her immune system had been attacking her digestive system, causing malabsorption. If her doctor had insisted on diagnosing her with anorexia, she might have ended up dead. As it is, she learned that to fix the problem, all she had to do was modify her diet to exclude wheat gluten and similar substances. She now weighs a normal 140 pounds and is healthy and energetic.

    Whether you’re naturally skinny or have a health problem like my mom does, there are many more reasons why you might be underweight. Screening for eating disorders makes sense, but jumping immediately to anorexia nervosa without so much as a proper evaluation does nobody any good.

    Reply
  5. The thing is that I have always been thin, but very active (not for nothing I have been diagnosed with ADHD !!). My father was tall and as thin as a rake when he was young and handsome (hahaha, he is still handsome !!).
    My maternal grandmother was short and thin, with long and gracile fingers. Well, she delivered three healthy babies (my two aunts and my father) and led a normal life until she had Alzheimer disease.
    So, I have always been very slender, and except hysteric doctors like school doctors or doctors at medical exam for driving license, no one was worried about my weight. Now, if I took a current growth chart with my measurements during childhood, I would had been considered as “unhealthy”. Come on babe !!
    Note that my GP does not worry about my weight, even after all the available analysis we can think about ! She said “You were born like that, we cannot turn a ladybug into an elephant” (she means that if I was born short and tiny, we cannot force me to become a tall and bulky lady : it would be a complete nonsense, unless we plan to destroy my health).
    So, I was at the time 41 kilos for 1.52m, which is not dangerous yet, but I have to be careful. Usually, it is more a 42-43 kilos (I never go above 46 kilos, and be happy if I get a 44-45 kilos !!).

    Also, I think that if I convert my measures into American ones, it would be something like 5′ for 97-98 pounds.
    I really don’t think we can call it dangerously thin to the point I need to be force fed ! (my paternal grandmother was more or less the same)

    The thing is when I become stressed, if you put a tiny bit of salt, it’s like you put all the salt box in my food.
    So, excessive sensitivity to tastes, which makes eating very unpleasant.
    For such a reason, stress makes me to lose weight (the least I sleep, the more I become sensory hyperersensitive, the least I eat. A vicious circle BTW).

    And at the same time, I was carrying out a stomach bug + involved with a bad story with a physician who asked me to make a fake declaration for my driving license (of course, I refused).
    Fortunately, the stomach bug is now a mere memory, except the crazy psychiatrist. I would not had stayed with her because when I asked her to complete a form and run tests for my disability claim, she refused to run the tests for my disability claim arguing that they are not useful for a disability claim. And at the same time, she wanted me to go to a shelter work, but here, you can’t go to a shelter work without having made a disability claim. Do I speak English ?

    And her evaluation got negative for eating disorders. But it didn’t change her opinion, she accused me after to have cheated with the tests (for her, I was only a lazy spoiled brat who sucks her mom’s money. The boasting psychiatrist would need a seclusion with a strong antipsychotic like Zyprexa instead of caring patients the way she does !!).

    Reply
  6. Jo, thank you.
    I have a fantastic GP (she recognized that lecturing me about stress management was not appropriate, which I appreciate a lot), I rave my ENT doctor (he is also handsome, which does not waste anything. Shame for me, he is married !) and I found a decent psychiatrist at hospital (it was a fight but I won).
    I don’t see her very often (I saw her for baseline because of Ritalin and because of dry pericarditis), but I don’t have to complain about cardiologist. She got the whole picture with ADHD, Single Sided Deafness and the rest (thanks God, because mom’s cardiologist did not get it at all and dismissed my concerns over anxiety. It was a pericarditis !!).
    I had to see a GI specialist due to heartburns and GERD, but I see no reason to change (again, I saw her twice, and she advised me not to swap my health against a legal fight).

    So, today, I could talk with GP about the lecture she gave me on Monday about stress management. She recognized she made a mistake.
    I pointed to her that if she went to a doctor because she lost her hair, she followed her doctor’s prescription but without any effect, and the only thing that the doctor found is lecturing her about following a prescription (whereas she followed it), she would had been at the same place : her problem would had been still there because the way to address it was absolutely off topic. I added that it can lead to deadly consequences, and I explained my point with a memory about the first time I had a pericarditis, which she diagnosed as lack of exercise. I would not had taken aspirin and stayed in bed by myself without having a diagnosis, now I would have had a heart failure or not talking to her right now because I would had been dead (a pericarditis can lead to heart failure if not managed).
    She told me that she did a mistake because we didn’t address the core problem. We didn’t address the problem because her answer to the problem was off topic.

    Reply

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