Friday, April 17, 2009

Eating disorders and healthy weight

I read a great article today in the San Diego State University's Independent Student Newspaper you can read it here: http://www.thedailyaztec.com/health/eating-disorders-not-obvious-1.1651080

I love that the writer, Rachel Calkins, points out something that so many people, including way too many medical professionals, do not know: many people with eating disorders are of a healthy weight.

Being of a healthy weight can be true for people with all eating disorders: BED - Binge Eating Disorder (by the way, the most common of all eating disorders), AN - Anorexia Nervosa, EDNOS- Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified and BN - Bulimia Nervosa. I get very frustrated when I hear people say: "Well, he/she doesn't look like she/he has an eating disorder." Would you say that about someone with cancer? Especially if you are a medical care provider, it is essential information. You cannot tell if someone has an eating disorder by looking at them and making comments about their size only exacerbates the problems they are dealing with.

I especially like that Rachel points out the seriousness of eating disorders and touches on some of the devastating effects they can cause to the body. I'm posting the great diagram here from the US Dept. of Health and Human Services that demonstrates some of bulimia's effects on the body.

I am glad to see large Universities taking these illnesses seriously and allowing astute writers such as Rachel to publish such important articles. It's time to get rid of the stigma and start helping people.
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2 comments:

Lily said...

So absolutely true. I had a very close friend who I met while in treatment for anorexia nervosa- she was a month out of the treatment facility, had had something to drink for her 23rd birthday, waited a good amount of time, and then took her nightly medication. Despite being at a healthy weight and not using behaviours (as well as not being risky with taking medication at the same time as drinking!), she died from a heart attack. Like I said, she had JUST turned 23 that night. There are countless other stories of women at healthy weights dying, and I've seen women go from morbidly obese to emaciated in less than a year, all because they have to "prove" they need help to medical "professionals." Grrrr.

Peoples-Health said...

No one knows for sure what causes binge eating disorder. As many as half of all people with binge eating disorder have been depressed in the past. Whether depression causes binge eating disorder or whether binge eating disorder causes depression is not known for sure.