Friday, February 4, 2011

Eating Disorders: Mental Illnesses That Deserve Coverage

Today, those who suffer from eating disorders are often judged and shunned.  There is a huge misconception that anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are due to weak willpower and bad behavior.  However, what many don’t understand is that eating disorders are real, treatable mental illnesses.

According to
Mental Health America, 3.7 percent of Americans suffer from anorexia while 4.2 percent suffer from bulimia.  Aside from malnutrition, ulcers, low blood pressure, infertility, seizures and heart attacks, eating disorders are especially dangerous because they can be related to other serious mental illnesses.  More often than not, depression, anxiety and alcohol addiction coincide with an eating disorder, which creates a vicious and potentially deadly cycle.  The death rate among those with an eating disorder is 12 times higher than the mortality rate among females ages 15 to 24 due to all other causes.  Suicide, however, is the most common cause of death among those with these illnesses.

According to an article in Mental Health America, a young woman named Lauren nearly lost her battle with an eating disorder after a suicide attempt.  Although her miraculous recovery inspired her to seek help, she found that many doctors did not take her eating disorder seriously due to her stable weight.  Her insurance company limited the amount of treatments she could receive because of the costly disorder; but the fact of the matter is, if more insurance companies would pay for the proper treatment of eating disorders the first time around, they would not see such a high cost in treating eating disorder victims repeatedly.

Every life is worth living.  Seek help at the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD) 
-Jordan Gutterman

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