As an eating disorder provider, I'm often struck with the all-too-familiar sense of heartbreak when listening to clients recount stories of their trusted healthcare providers missing clear warning signs of an eating disorder for YEARS. These clients are left feeling shocked, betrayed, and angry when they learn that they were deprived of critical eating disorder treatment referrals, and as a result were left struggling in silence for years. Likewise, parents commonly report a sense of guilt and helplessness upon discovering that their children could have been helped sooner. Unfortunately, the phenomenon of undiagnosed (or misdiagnosed) eating disorders is especially common when the client has an eating disorder other than anorexia or bulimia, and/or does not present with stereotypical symptoms or a low weight.
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychological illness. Early intervention and proper training can make a HUGE difference in helping clients get the appropriate care they deserve.
The reality is, simply blaming a healthcare provider for failing to detect the signs of an eating disorder will not, in and of itself, lead to sufficient change. While providers should certainly be held accountable, there is also a larger system to consider. Rather than remaining stuck in a cycle of blame and anger, we can instead channel our energy into advocating for substantial reform for the healthcare system as a whole in an effort to help prevent similar oversights from occurring to more families in the future. Visit www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org TODAY to support eating disorder identification and intervention trainings for health professionals. Please use your voice to help spread this message!
How To Participate:
1) CALL your Members of Congress today and ask them to support implementing Anna Westin Act training for health professionals:
2) TWEET at your senators and representatives:
3) SPREAD THE WORD on social media with shareable images: