It is an illness

It's often said that eating disorders are options. As if someone would choose to starve him or herself. As though the idea of slowly dying is appealing to anyone. This is why we have organizations (like NEDIC) to inform the public about what ED really is about.
Eating disorders are not choices. They are real and very serious illnesses. They are mental illnesses. They need treatment. They take time to fix. They affect your mental, physical, emotional, and social health. They cannot be ignored. They are prominent around the world, even if you don't think so.
I think it's time that we begin to understand that ED is a very serious condition. It can rob a person of their life within a short time frame. It changes the person. EDs can creep up on an individual without warning. But once it starts, it needs help.
We need to understand that EDs need treatment. Food is a priority. But there are many other things that need 'fixing'. The person may need medications for depression, anxiety, etc. The victim might need therapy to learn coping skills or to get rid of their traumatic experiences. The individual needs a loving, supportive, and caring environment. And then the person needs TIME. Time to heal, to recover. Time to realize that they deserve a better life - a healthier life. Time to make up for all the time that ED took away from their happiness. All I'd this can't be fixed quickly. Nor is it easy. But it is worth it.
The public needs to understand that EDs are illnesses, just like cancer. You would not blame someone for having cancer. Nor would you decide that they didn't need treatment to recover. You would give them all the help they need, along with love and support. And you would make sure that they have the chance to heal and recover from what they have suffered. You would ensure that they are strong enough to continue with their treatment. You would help them heal and recover.
So the next time you think about ED, try thinking of it like any other disease state or health issue: it needs treatment, the patient deserves help, and recovery IS possible. It will change the way you understand eating disorders.

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