Book Review – Understanding Teen Eating Disorders: Warning Signs, Treatment Options, and Stories of Courage

(Cris Haltom, Cathie Simpson, and Mary Tantillo. Taylor & Francis, 2018, paperback, $29.95)

A great deal of information is now available about the treatment of children and adolescents with eating disorders, but most of it is directed at eating disorder professionals. With this new book, Cris Haltom, Cathie Simpson, and Mary Tantillo provide a resource families and friends of teens and tweens with eating disorders to help better understand these conditions, and how and why to get help. These authors have produced an excellent resource for families.

This book is organized around seven cases, each discussed in extensive narrative detail. In reviewing these cases, key issues related to causation and maintenance of disordered eating, risk factors, medical complications, and treatment approaches are covered. The cases represent a variety of different diagnoses, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and other specified feeding and eating disorder (OSFED). They provide broad and deep coverage of the topic matter at hand. One of the many strengths of the book is that the diversity of cases described will likely result in at least one case description sounding sufficiently familiar and thus resonating strongly with the parents of a teen with an eating disorder. 

A final chapter provides information on prevention of eating disorders. This chapter is well done and thoughtful, and is an interesting inclusion in the book. Most readers of Understanding Teen Eating Disorders will likely be at a point where their interest in prevention of eating disorders may be rather limited; they will be, in that moment, focused on helping their child obtain treatment. Still, it may provide useful information for them in the future, and may be information of interest to their family members and friends. 

This book will provide a very useful reference for families who have a teen or tween with disordered eating.

– SC

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