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
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.