A new name for eating disorder?

Aimee Liu has put out an interesting call to GIVE EATING DISORDERS A NEW NAME.

I'm conflicted - as usual.

The term "eating disorder" is inadequate and bears layers of historical baggage. "ED" is also probably putting a lot of stuff under a single umbrella that deserve individual shelter. I do like a tendency in British English to leave the 's' off 'disorder' which makes the term sound more like a temporary chaos or being out of sync.

Yet the objection to the word "eating" in the name is often to argue that food is not the issue - that lack of food is a metaphor or only a symptom of something unrelated to food. Food IS the issue, though, when you are not nourished. It isn't the ONLY issue, as the results of not eating are long-standing and the difficulties of eating are not simply about finding a fork.

I would like to see new names applied to eating disorders. But first we need to really decide what these illnesses are - endocrine? functional? autoimmune? nutritional? - and have some clarity on effective treatment.

Maybe that is when a name change will be most useful?


  1. For anorexia, how about "Starvation Syndrome"?
    Starvation is a word that speaks to everyone; and the medical world uses "syndrome" for disorders that it can clearly describe but can not understand.


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