Eating Disorder Facts

  • Anorexia and bulimia are brain disorders – not chosen behaviors.
  • Eating disorders are potentially deadly and disabling.
  • You can fully recover from an eating disorder.
  • Early and assertive intervention is critical.
  • Most eating disorder symptoms are the result of malnutrition, and the first medicine for medical, emotional, and cognitive recovery is: food.
  • Psychotherapy should not be done in the absence of weight restoration and normalized eating.
  • Modern treatment professionals no longer assume an eating disorder patient has suffered grave trauma or lives in a dysfunctional home – families do not cause eating disorders.
  • One cannot tell by looking at a person whether they are underweight or suffering from malnutrition. Healthy weight ranges are highly individual and best monitored by a physician familiar with family history, growth curve expectations, and behavioral symptoms.
  • Children and teens with eating disorders often do not feel ill, do not ask for help, and may see the concern of others as criticism.
  • Expressing a negative body image or a desire to lose weight is often the first recognizable symptom of an eating disorder and should be taken seriously.
  • Logic, pleading, disapproval, anger, and shame are ineffective and counterproductive to helping patients recover.
  • Athletes require more calories than less active people, and should not be encouraged to lose weight. Loss of menses is not normal and is a sign of hormonal insufficiency leading to bone loss and risk of future infertility.
  • Families are the most important factor in supporting their child’s recovery.
  • The only evidence-based treatment approach for children and adolescents is Family-Based Treatment (FBT).
  • Schools and others who have ongoing contact with eating disorder patients can play a key role in helping the family find and use evidence-based resources.

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