We are still missing the boat with eating disorders

I was appalled the other day when reading this bit in the New York Times about anorexia. There was not one mention of the recent research and findings that there are genetic causes to eating disorders; particularly anorexia.

I know that it is easier to blame the media and family problems. There certainly are enough reasons girls want to lose weight with this insane emphasis on thinness that we see in the media day in and day out. But to ignore the 30 years of research and particularly, very valid findings that there are genetics that play into anorexia, and that the gene expresses itself in adolescence, is plain and simple, negligent.

We have spent too long as therapists, blaming families. There are new treatments available and the tide is turning toward supporting and helping coach families to help their children when this gene turns on and expresses itself. Let’s get out of the dark ages of seeing eating disorders as solely the blame of the media and families.

Remember how schizophrenia used to be seen? This for years was seen as an illness due to the ‘schizophrenogenic’ mother. Finally we are finding very real places in the brain and biological reasons that eating disorders get expressed in families. Let’s stop blaming and providing support. The tide is turning. We as the public need to know. For more information, go to websites like NEDA.org, and current research on eating disorders.

No more blaming. Let’s be proactive and try to avert risk and put into place supports that can help decrease the expression of these genes.


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