Some Home Truths About Eating Disorders
While some eating disorders have physical causes and associated treatments, it is important to realize that the majority of eating disorders are mental health issues which can best be treated by approaching them as such.
Bulimia and Anorexia are arguably the two most common disorders, or at least they are the two which are most widely known to the general public. It is common to put labels on sufferers. Common to throw out a dollar store diagnosis that 'they' have a poor body image, or that 'they’ are seeking to regain control of their lives. If it was only that simple, a couple of sessions of therapy would be enough to resolve things, and everybody would be happy. But they are not that simple. Far from it.
Truth is, sufferers of eating disorders have a huge number of reasons for behaving as they do, and the treatments required to help them are as individual as they are themselves. Sweeping generalisations that sufferers just need to eat more, or 'buck up', rarely help. Friends and families often resort to well-intentioned but ill-considered humor, cajoling, or even threats. Sufferers rightly perceive that the ones telling the jokes do not fully understand what they are going through. That an eating disorder is not a choice. It is an affliction. An affliction they face every minute of every day. And that you can't fix an eating disorder with a joke, or an extra bagel, any more than you can cure an alcoholic by saying "just stop drinking". You need specialist help.
Treatment centers dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders are growing in number each year. Their customized treatments offer sufferers unique solutions which help them manage their situation and maintain healthy, well-balanced lifestyles. To blow our own trumpet for just one second, we know this because Sigmund Software currently powers a large number of treatment centers across the country, and we receive regular feedback from our client base. We are very pleased that what we do, and how we do it, really helps real people. Every day. The Sigmund Software EHR system was originally developed specifically for use in the behavioral health arena. Our dedicated software has evolved through the years and now covers eating disorders and many additional specialties, with many features and all the tools that addiction treatment centers of all kinds require.
Here is the important part of this message: Body shape does not matter. It is not relevant. Sufferers may be tiny, skeletal weaklings. Or, they may be 500 pounds and able to bench press a Buick. Or anything in between. An eating disorder does not reside in the kidneys, or in the liver. It is not something which can be directly medicated. It resides largely in the brain. It is a mental health issue. And that means it cannot always be seen from the outside.
If you ever use public transport, or go to the cinema, or grocery shopping, or run the kids to school, or in short if you engage in society at any level at all, then you will pass by hundreds of people every day. Some will be tall. Some short. Some will be thin, some fat. Some will look perfectly normal, whatever your perception of normal may be. You would not necessarily know just by looking that any of them were afflicted with a mental health related eating disorder. The person sitting beside you right now could be struggling with their own inner demon. And you may never know.
So please take this away as a parting message. When someone asks if their new jeans make their butt look big, don’t make a joke about it. Your answer may mean more than you think, to the person hearing it. Eating disorders are as real and as damaging as drug addiction. They are neither funny, nor to be taken lightly. The people we know and love can, and in some cases will, die. None of us want that, but tragically, it happens. And there are many more levels of misery between here and there. We ask that each of our readers take eating disorders seriously.
Those that you love deserve nothing less.
(Addendum: As part of our commitment to aiding those dedicated to the treatment of eating disorders, Sigmund Software invites our clients and all users to Save the Date for our Client Experience Webinar. On May 26 @ 2-3pm EST., we will present the engagingly titled "Leveraging Technology to Enhance Care Coordination and Improve Outcomes with Eating Disorder Populations". Please watch your Inboxes for more information during the coming weeks.)