“She blames herself for developing the eating disorder and not being able to control her eating and purging.” These are the words of Gina Dimitropoulos, M.S.W., Ph.D., R.S.W. in reference to a twenty-one-year old woman. This woman, having struggled with anorexia nervosa for years, describes a turmoil that many people facing eating disorders feel. The very root of the disorder begins with a feeling of low self-worth and is propagated by the same means. Without an exterior bacteria or infection to account as responsible, these patients feel that they have no one to blame but themselves.
In her article “Stigmatization of eating disorders,” Dimitropoulos shines light on the stigma around the illness.. With eating disorders, the physical consequences are only part of the battle. The internal struggle is all the more severe and is further magnified by societal pressures. In an article in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers show that society generally considers eating disorders to be self-inflicted. This outlook on the disorder leads patients to keep from sharing their struggle and/or seeking out treatment (Crisp, Rix, and Meltzer).
These patients are not at fault for their own eating disorders mostly because the situations and ideas that propel them into this illness are out of their control. And because they deserve treatment just like any other person suffering from illness. Ever doubt that eating disorders could be life-threatening? According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, “A young woman with anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age without anorexia” (1074). Anorexia Nervosa is a real illness. Bulimia Nervosa is a real illness. Binge Eating Disorder is a real illness. The more we learn about these eating disorders, the better we can treat them and the more lives we can save.
Crisp, A., Gelder, MG., Rix, S., Meltzer, HI. 2000. Stigmatisation of people with mental illnesses. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 177:4-7.
Dimitropoulos, Gina; M.S.W., Ph.D., R.S.W. “Stigmatization of eating disorders”, National Eating Disorder Information Centre
Mortality in Anorexia Nervosa. American Journal of Psychiatry, 1995; 152(7), 1073-1074.
THIS POST HAS NOT YET BEEN REVIEWED BY PROFESSIONAL FACULTY.