Sunday, 28 September 2014

EDs are NOT a Passion!

There was a recent article released by Western University that claims that anorexia nervosa, or eating disorders in general, should be called a 'passion'. According to the authors, a passion is something that one finds enjoyable, but can be destructive in excess. (See
http://www.exchangemagazine.com/morningpost/2014/week33/Thursday/14082209.htm for details).

Teen Mental Health Statistics [INFOGRAPHIC] | Paradigm MalibuNow, allow me to tell you what I think about this 'discovery'. EDs are mental illnesses. Some people think of ED as an addiction in that it becomes obsessive and difficult to stop or control. This I understand. My issue with defining ED as a passion is that a passion denotes something positive, something we love and strive to always follow. Now, EDs do become obsessive, and patients always strive to focus all energies and thoughts on the disorder. However, EDs are in no way, shape, or form enjoyable. ED is not something the patient loves. It is not fun, exciting, or life-enhancing. Calling ED a passion makes it seem that the patient enjoys the ED. But this isn't the case at all.

EDs are destructive. They are the number one killers among all psychiatric illnesses. They can cause severe organ damage, emotional pain, and other complications. Patients never choose to have eating disorders. But we can choose our passions. For example, I may find that I enjoy writing and am good at it. I make this my passion by constantly writing, looking for ways to improve my writing skills, etc. But no one ever chooses to have ED because it is fun or because they are 'good at restricting and losing weight'. There is a big difference between the two situations.

I also don't particularly like how the authors state that labelling ED as a passion will change the way we treat these serious illnesses. The authors say that thinking of EDs as a passion means that we see that patients can make decisions about the passion - the ED. But is this true? Not really. In most cases, the ED, as a mental illness, takes over the patient. The individual with ED is not able to make decisions on when to restrict food intake because it is not them in control, but the ED. The person with ED doesn't make a decision to binge, purge, or restrict. It is the ED. Likewise, the patient with ED cannot always make the decision to start eating and to recover. This takes time, and in many cases, treatment must start even when the patient doesn't fully accept or appreciate it. But if we called ED a passion, we would be saying that the person can make decisions on when to engage in the ED, when to stop, etc. And we know that this isn't true at all. We have seen time and time again that brain changes, along with hormonal and chemical influences, change the way a patient with ED thinks, acts, eats, etc. So really, the patient is under the control of the illness. It isn't a passion. It is an illness.

Why do we have to come up with different words to describe what an eating disorder is? Why cant society just accept that ED is a serious and deadly mental illness? Why do we need to bring in incorrect terminology and false ideas around this issue? It is enough to say that EDs are mental illnesses - and life-threatening disorders. This alone should be enough to make us understand that treatment, identification, and prevention need to start as soon as possible. Would you tell someone who smokes or drinks alcohol obsessively that they have a passion for smoking? No. Would you tell someone who has depression that they have a passion for feeling sad? No. So why is it alright to label ED as a passion? It isn't.

Perhaps instead of wasting research dollars, time, and effort on
finding new ways to label EDs, we should instead focus on why they occur, how we can prevent them, and the best ways to treat them. We should focus on how to support patients and their loved ones.
That kind of research and initiative is worthwhile. That's what will make a difference to the thousands of people living and battling eating disorders daily. Prevention, identification, and treatment. Not labelling. We all need to work together to make these changes - every little thing you say or do can make a big difference. Remember this quote on the image to the right - be kind. You never know what each person you meet is dealing with. Don't judge, don't blame, and don't stereotype.

37 comments:

  1. I can see ED as passion from one angle which is ED victims needs all of us to treat them with compassion, love and care.

    Hend

    ReplyDelete
  2. ED is a torture and by no means enjoyable .
    ED is a disaster.
    ED begins with what sound like healthy eating and end with victim death unless miracle happen as in your case Marina or for those who caught it earlier like me thanks to you.


    Anne

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  3. No single patient enjoys ED and in fact victim wants to kick ED out but not that easy to kick out once establish itself in the mind of its victim

    Khloud

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  4. If you recall Marina ,I was in denial while ED was controlling all my life ,my thoughts,feelings,behaviours,attitude ,my school ,whom I see and what would I say.I felyt so helpless and felt all my life has taken away from me till I met you through this blog and you guided me day after day .
    Ed is not a passion at all .ED is abuser, controller and monster

    Nanraj

    ReplyDelete
  5. I learnt a lot about ED from your blog and all literatures saying that ED the deadliest among all mental illness.
    ED not a passion at all .
    We all need to prevent and radically treat ED from our society.

    Penny

    ReplyDelete
  6. This statistics struck me hard ,how common mental health in our society and how small fraction of all especially ED seek help.
    I am grateful that I came arcos your blog and you helped me prevent my daughter from falling into ED cracks .

    JP( a thankful mother)

    ReplyDelete
  7. We better respect each other ,never judge.

    Clorado

    ReplyDelete
  8. ED is a torture and not passion at all.

    Razan

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes stigma and bias and unjustice shame us all.

    Hanna

    ReplyDelete
  10. I can’t really make sense of this study. It just seems like the money used for this study could have been put to better use.

    MS

    ReplyDelete
  11. This statistic are way high that I ever thought.
    We need to support each other 100% of the time and this the least to ward of mental health.

    Socrat

    ReplyDelete
  12. Be kind to the person next door as you do not what she/he is going through

    Erika

    ReplyDelete
  13. ED is monster and not passion .

    Nisha

    ReplyDelete
  14. I urge every one to be kind and gentle with every body We meet.

    Johana

    ReplyDelete
  15. Smile is the language of all nations

    Mays

    ReplyDelete
  16. Smile to every body. Smile will not cost you any thing but will make a big difference

    Jeff

    ReplyDelete
  17. Smile relieves the stress and comfort the person

    Savana

    ReplyDelete
  18. How ED be a passion when it is really the deadliest mental illness

    Penny

    ReplyDelete
  19. Those statistics about mental illnesses are staggering

    Solomon

    ReplyDelete
  20. We better be nice to each other

    Shady

    ReplyDelete
  21. Bias and unfairness are shameful ,mental illness deserves compassion and care

    Carlos

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ed victims deserve the compassion and love and care from all of us

    Sally

    ReplyDelete
  23. Put your self in the others' shoes so you can feel what they are going through.

    Hector

    ReplyDelete
  24. We really need each other ,We can not live alone and better be nice to each other no matter what other people think

    Horvath

    ReplyDelete
  25. Passion? ED passion?/come on

    Kirello

    ReplyDelete
  26. ED is a mess but recovery is enjoyable and motivating and contagious

    Guisspina

    ReplyDelete
  27. Smile smile and smile .

    Cindrella

    ReplyDelete
  28. Let's be kind to every one We meet

    Barry

    ReplyDelete
  29. I like to be friendly to every body even to people who do not like me .

    Delfina

    ReplyDelete
  30. If We focus on prevention and raise awareness of all mental illness ,We would make much difference .

    Larivierre

    ReplyDelete
  31. As Canadian We are proud that We are coping well despite the stress .
    Mental illness is illness needs care and not to be ashamed off.

    S K

    ReplyDelete
  32. When ED behaves like a monster abusive and controlling ,how on earth We call passion.

    With my Humble respect to Marina

    Muhammad

    ReplyDelete
  33. tHIS KIND OF STUDY IS NOT HELPFUL AND IS NOT WORTHY READING


    PIERRETTTE

    ReplyDelete
  34. I URGE EVERY BODY TO BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER


    Hamour

    ReplyDelete
  35. I will start treating people the same way I want people to treat me ,with smile kindness and undersatnding


    Zak

    ReplyDelete
  36. ED is not a passion .It is a concussion.!!!

    CJ

    ReplyDelete
  37. Your comments all amaze me - you have all learned so much about ED and mental health. I am so proud of all of you and thankful for all of you!

    ReplyDelete

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