National Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2011: It’s Time to Talk About It
Happy NEDAW! This year, the theme for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is “It’s Time to Talk About It”
And boy, do I agree—there is STILL a lot to talk about when it comes to eating disorders.
Despite the prevalence of eating disorders and increasing familiarity of their existence, a great deal of confusion and stigma still surrounds them. In honor of this year’s NEDAW, I am going to write a daily blog each day this week clarifying some issues we still need to discuss to better understand and treat eating disorders.
Today we are going to discuss the fact the eating disorders are biologically based mental illnesses. They are not a choice. They are not caused by anyone (more on this later this week!)
Sadly way too often, people misunderstand this and believe an eating disorder is a choice of vanity or a way to gain attention. This perpetuates a dangerous myth of blame for those who suffer contributing to a deadly stigma.
Lets talk about this. Plain and Simple.
* Eating disorders are NOT choices–ask anyone who has or currently suffers from an ED–they will tell you of the devastating effects these illnesses have on themselves, their loved ones and all aspects of their lives. They will tell you they would NEVER choose to suffer this way nor choose anyone they know to deal with the pain of an ED.
Further, the research speaks.
* Genetic and neuroimaging studies show that people with EDs have basic biological vulnerability of the brain. Additionally, we commonly see depression, anxiety disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder associated with eating disorders. To learn more, read the Academy for Eating Disorders position paper: Eating Disorders are Serious Mental Illnesses