Take Charge book cover
Dr. Carlton’s book, Take Charge of Your Child’s Eating Disorder, was published in December 2006 by Avalon Publishing. It is available from Amazon.com as well as local bookstores.

Recovering from an eating disorder requires a complex combination of psychological, medical, and nutritional approaches. Parents are the constant guardians of their child’s health, but often don’t know the best way to extend treatment from the examining room to the living room.  Take Charge of Your Child’s Eating Disorder is a hands-on, medically based guide that tells parents what they really need to know about eating disorders. As the founder and director of the Adolescent Eating Disorder Parent Education and Support Program at Stanford University, Dr. Pamela Carlton has treated hundreds of children and adolescents with eating disorders and has guided their parents through the maze of eating disorder treatments. This detailed handbook offers:

  • Warning signs and diagnostic criteria for different types of eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, and eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS)
  • Information on the “hidden” eating disorder—“Female Athletic Triad”
  • A step-by-step plan for diagnosis, treatment options, and recovery support
  • Detailed advice for putting together and successfully managing a treatment team
  • Specific strategies for handling delicate situations and detailed resources for getting the most up-to-date information
  • The real story about insurance: what’s covered, what’s not, and how to fight the system.


  • Newsday’s “How to Book of the Week” — August 2007
  • Named one of The Best Consumer Health Books of 2007 by Library Journal


  • Debra K. Katzman, MD
    Head, Division of Adolescent Medicine
    The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario

    Dr. Carlton and Ms. Ashin’s collective clinical experience has been put together in a practical and encouraging book for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents with eating disorders. The book is a useful source of information focusing on how to help parents and caregivers be most effective in supporting their adolescents to recovery.

  • Margo Maine, PhD, FAED
    Author The Body Myth: Adult Women and the Pressure to Be Perfect (John Wiley, 2005)
    Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters, and the Pursuit of Thinness (Gurze, 2004)
    Body Wars: Making Peace with Women’s Bodies (Gurze, 2000)

    Take Charge of Your Child’s Eating Disorder is a much-needed resource for families struggling with these devastating conditions. Through case descriptions, the authors describe the constant challenges families face when a loved one suffers from anorexia, bulimia, or related eating disorders, and provide user-friendly, practical, and well-conceived approaches to these dilemmas. Somehow, they have written a book that is full of the nuts and bolts of eating disorders but also does not oversimplify these very complex problems, showing both the multidetermined nature of eating disorders and seasoned sensitivity to the individuals suffering and to their families. The authors thoroughly describe the conditions, the medical consequences and risks, the components and experience of treatment, and key strategies to promote ongoing recovery at home and in school. Its detailed explanation of how to manage the issues many encounter with insurance coverage makes this volume particularly unique and useful.

    Dr. Carlton’s years of experience and dedication are evident on each page; her book will empower many families in the midst of these frightening illnesses to support their loved one and to have hope for recovery and the future. Take Charge of Your Child’s Eating Disorder will be at the top of my list when families ask for resources to guide and educate them through the crises presented by their child’s eating disorder.

  • Barbara M. Bibel, Oakland Public Library
    Library Journal starred review

    Eating disorders are complex, difficult to treat, and often life-threatening. Pediatrician Carlton (founder & director, Adolescent Eating Disorder Education & Support Program, Stanford Univ.) here collaborates with writer Ashin to offer parents a practical guide to helping their afflicted children. Carlton stresses that eating disorders require a multidisciplinary team including physicians, psychotherapists, and nutritionists as well as parents. She provides support tools and information to assist parents in finding appropriate treatment, choosing programs and practitioners, and dealing with insurance issues. A series of appendixes lists web sites for patients, families, and health professionals; books; resources for finding specialists; and sample letters and a kit for appealing to insurance providers (the latter includes materials for families and physicians). Quotes from teens and parents dealing with eating disorders provide a dose of reality. This is an excellent book, more detailed and up to date than Tania Heller’s Eating Disorders: A Handbook for Teens, Families and Teachers. The information on dealing with insurance providers is especially valuable and not usually included in other books on this subject. Highly recommended for public, health science, and consumer health libraries.

  • Kirkus Reviews

    Everything parents need to know about eating disorders.

    Carlton, a specialist in adolescent eating disorders at Stanford, offers a thorough resource and action plan for parents of children with eating disorders. Basic definitions, warning signs and associated medical risks for anorexia, bulimia and the lesser-known “female athletic triad” provide parents with a critical introduction to their child’s illness. Other chapter topics cover how to talk to your child about their eating disorder, how to get psychiatric, medical and nutritional help, and what to do in extreme situations where children require hospitalization. Teenagers’ own personal stories of struggling with eating disorders, and information on pro-anorexia and bulimia websites give parents important insights into the psychology and culture of teen eating disorders that they may not be able to get from their own child. A concluding chapter outlines methods of convincing your insurance company to pay for treatments—which can run into the tens of thousands of dollars if hospitalization is necessary.

    An empowering guide for parents who know or suspect their child has an eating disorder.

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