Columnist can’t self-diagnose anorexia

People are so easy to chide self-diagnosis: reader can’t self-diagnose anorexia, needs to see doctor, but fall easily into a worse trap: peddling old and damaging ideas.

I'd like to vacuum the Internet and the industry of these tired ideas: "Most of the current theories revolve around self-image problems and family dysfunction."

But the sad fact is that most doctors will remember the same (wrong) thing from their hour of med school on eating difficulties. And most doctors aren't trained to recognize, treat, or understand eating disorders - so if you suspect you or a loved one has an eating disorder don't just go to a doctor - make sure to press for a specialist in eating disorders.

Start with members of the Academy for Eating Disorders, or of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals. Regularly attends the American conference put on by the National Eating Disorders Association, that's good, too. And no, it is not rude to ask. Anyone who is willing to treat your child, but not willing to belong to one of those groups or receive ongoing training, may not specialize enough to save your child's life. Eating disorder research is moving forward every month - your child deserves a clinical team that is up to date.


  1. I agree with your note to see an eating disorder specialist. When my parents first made me get help for my eating disorder, they took me to my doctor. It was so confusing for all of us though, and didn't help at all.
    Finding the right treatment is so important. I don't think I ever realized that until recently.

  2. I quite agree. It's definitely important to find someone who makes you feel comfortable and who KNOWS a lot about the disease with which you're dealing. I often tell people it's okay to "shop around" where therapists, doctors, and nutritionists are concerned. You want the best care for your particular problem and there's nothing wrong with that. Shopping around is okay. It can be a little hit and miss sometimes, but a bit of research and a few visits later, it will be well worth it. :)

    Much love,

  3. My eating disorder went unrecognized by doctors from the ages of 14 to 35.
    At 35 a GI doctor found the results of the 'ravages of years of bulimia' (in the report) in an EDG.
    I did not start treatment until the day before my 36th birthday.

    There has been, in the last few months some issues with my treatment team and I'm no longer in treatment. The medical team that takes care of my many medical isues seem unconcerned.

    Oh well. Just be careful. Be smart.

    The only doc concerned is my endocrinologist.

  4. Dreaming,

    Well, I'M worried. Can you get new docs? Or is there someone in your life who can help you find and work with the doctors?

    I find it hard, sometimes, to be my own best medical advocate. Good sometimes to share the responsibility with someone with our best interests at heart.


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