Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Eating Disorder Books

A post in the New York Times yesterday in the Books section touched on new stories coming out regarding girls and eating disorders. The title, "The Troubling Allure of Eating Disorder Books," says it all. There are a number of pro-anorexia websites all over the web, and this disturbing trend is pushed by things like Amazon book lists posted by individuals who encourage anorexia. One of the quotes by this particular reviewer was innately disturbing: "I couldn’t put this book down. The main character Kessa had one of the most extreme cases of anorexia. I admired her strength in never giving into food no matter how strong her carnal desires were (and she was severely emaciated so they were very strong)." The thinking here is obviously pretty sick.

What's difficult about eating disorders compared to other disorders is that you can't abstain. Unlike drugs and alcohol or even gambling, one can't quit and then work through personal issues. An individual struggling with anorexia or bulimia needs all the help they can get. There's a number of programs around the country available for help. An individual or family who is being affected can go through the International Association of Eating Disorder Providers to find a therapist or outpatient program in their area. Programs like Rosewood Ranch in Wickenburg, AZ and The Victorian in Newport Beach offer residential care for clients that need the help. A number of these individuals also have a history of significant trauma in their lives, and finding a way to work through that with new coping mechanisms can be a challenging process.

And of course, what we REALLY need is additional awareness. As with all compulsive disorders, a stigma created by society exists. Celebrities in the media almost flaunt their skinniness and potential anorexia, providing poor role models for young girls. One can open any US Weekly or click on Perez Hilton to see women pushed by the pressures of society to be too thin. The National Eating Disorders Association is working to destroy this image by providing education to parents, families, and educational institutions. The best combatant we have against this deadly disease is information and action. We can always hope for the best, but providing help for a friend or family member in need is the easiest way to make a difference.

Here's the Eating Disorder Awareness video:

Here's another video on eating disorders.

Here's something funny.

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