This post was written by our Community Outreach Coordinator as a guest blog for the March against eating disorders. It was originally posted on marchagainsted.com and has been cross posted here with their permission.
They care for you, entertain you and bring you joy. They protect you and teach you, create things for you. They help you and mentor you. They are varied. They are diverse. They are important.
They are people you might see every day.
And they are people we might see every day in the course of providing care and treatment for individuals and families impacted by eating disorders.
At The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt, we see numerous people each day struggling with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, ARFID and other feeding and eating disorders. These individuals with eating disorders are varied. They are diverse. They are important.
This is why we were proud to participate in the inaugural March Against Eating Disorders on Capitol Hill last fall and why we are eager to return this year on October 27th for an even larger and more impactful event. As physicians, therapists, dietitians and nurses specializing in the treatment of people with eating disorders, we see the daily struggle, the medical repercussions, the fear and the impact of eating disorders on relationships, careers and families. But we also see the hope, the healing and comfort that comes with treatment and recovery. That is why it’s so important for those of us in the field to stand up and share our voices too.
Why do we march?
- We march because eating disorders continue to be stigmatized, sensationalized, overlooked and underfunded despite having the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
- We march because no one chooses to have an eating disorder. Eating disorders are highly heritable illnesses, meaning 50-80% of a person’s risk for developing an eating disorder is genetic. Additional causes are varied and complex.
- We march because no family should hear “it’s just a phase, she’ll grow out of it.” from a medical professional before they make it through our doors. A lack of specialized eating disorder training for physicians delays detection and appropriate referrals. Delaying treatment delays recovery.
- We march because 20-30% of our patients are men who thought they were the “only one” and suffered in silence for a long time. Eating disorders don’t discriminate and treatment shouldn’t either.
- We march because parents do not cause eating disorders but eating disorders can cause heartache for parents and family members. Guilt, blame, stigma and outdated stereotypes can prevent families from getting the help they deserve. Current research supports an understanding that caregivers can play a positive and integral role in helping a loved one to heal from their eating disorder.
- We march because eating disorders can be deadly but they can also be overcome. Early intervention and evidence-based treatment makes a difference.
- We march because no one should have to get sicker before they can get well. Insurance coverage for eating disorders must not be a barrier to quality care.
- We march because we live together in a culture that equates weight loss with health, yet we work every day with individuals whose weight loss is associated with osteopenia, hair loss, fatigue, cardiac arrhythmia and infertility. We support a movement that embraces health-focused goals for our schools and communities instead of weight-focused goals.
These are just some of the reasons why we are excited to stand with The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, The Eating Disorder Coalition, and MAED – Mothers Against Eating Disorders at The #MarchAgainstED in our nation’s capitol. Join us on October 27th to take a stand and help increase awareness about eating disorders.
Why will you march?
Register now at www.MarchAgainstED.com
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Written by Kate Clemmer, LCSW-C, Community Outreach Coordinator at The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt for www.MarchAgainstED.com
The original posting of this blog is available at: http://www.marchagainsted.com/blog/why-providers-must-stand-up-and-join-the-march-against-ed