The other four of you are off the hook

"almost a fifth of teens affected by eating disorders"

No, no, no. This makes me nuts. This expanding of the illness so that it is an epidemic and everyone has it and we can prevent it if we just talk sense to young people....

Eating disturbance and restrictive eating and body image issues are not the same as an eating disorder (though they are warning signs and can trigger a real ED in someone with a predisposition to have one).

Calling anything disordered an eating disorder is a grievous insult to those struggling with eating disorders. This rush to call us all pathological isn't helpful: it minimizes the genuine anguish and mind-bending difficulty of recovery. I realize this is all in the name of empathy and fellowship and "we feel your pain" but really we don't.

Eating disorders are too common, yes, but we really do not know if they are increasing or decreasing in prevalence. Yet why would it need to be an epidemic to deserve our attention and full-on support?

(The first headline above doesn't match the research, though. If you read beyond the headline - and few will - or go to the original paper there is interesting information here. The trigger of anxiety, for example.)


  1. I don't know, I'm pretty sure writing a monologue about my deep abiding love for my left big toe would have prevented my eating disorder...oh, if only...*sigh*

    But, hey, that's just me. ;-)

  2. Hi Laura
    I loved you comments and I agree that there can be too much focus on what is not an ED.
    But on the other hand we can use all the publicity we can get to highlight this disorder.
    If we can stop just one child from becoming a victim of an ED then we have succeeded:
    so the more publicity the better.
    Dr Irina Webster

  3. Well said Laura! Unfortunately when society becomes aware of "issues" you get all opinions from all levels of understanding. Everyone comes from their own understanding of their experiences and no matter what we're talking about it, it won't always jive with everyone.

    People who want help will sift through the information and get what they need and that's what's most important. Much information will not be accurate, but it also brings out the people that are educated and can give valuable information to those who need it. The key is more awareness to get the help to anyone who wants it.

    ps. I’m a Mom of a daughter that I've watched recover by getting the information and help she needed and grow through the information that did not jive with her. It’s all about staying healthy in the mind as well as the body. ;-)

  4. Anon, "an ode on a toe" - I love it.

    Dr. Webster, I wish I agreed that all publicity is good publicity but I find myself so frustrated by the misguided publicity - and find parents are so confused by it all at a time when we are voracious for answers.

    Rerobbi, I am so pleased for you and your daughter and that healthy sifting of information. Finding the dissonances and the threads of truth is no easy task!


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