Thursday, November 20, 2014

Philadelphia Inquirer Letter to the Editor re: Sam Menaged Interview

Understanding complexity of eating disorders 
An interview with Renfrew Center founder Samuel E. Menaged did a disservice to efforts to raise eating-disorder awareness ("Helping women who hurt themselves," Nov. 10). While it's positive to bring awareness to these deadly disorders - which have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness - the article focuses on sexual abuse, low self-esteem, and traumatic events as causes of eating disorders. While these can make it difficult for a person to recover from an eating disorder, there are no studies that show these factors cause eating disorders. What was most concerning was that there was no mention of biology and genetics, which current research points to as an underlying factor for many patients with eating disorders.
Outdated information with no empirical basis makes eating disorders seem as if they are diseases of choice and not the serious, life-threatening, brain-based illnesses they are. This can prevent lifesaving early diagnosis and intervention. It perpetuates a view of eating disorders that is faulty and dangerous.
International Eating Disorder Action (iedaction.global@gmail.com) - of which I am a member - includes activists whose lives have been touched by eating disorders, either personally, professionally, or through a family member. We are trying to combat pervasive misconceptions society has about eating disorders that negatively affect access to evidence-based treatment and insurers' willingness to pay for treatment.
|Faith Yesner, Media

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