Last night I attended a benefit dinner for the National Eating Disorder Association. This is a wonderful association that works on alot of fronts, in the hope to move us toward a world freed from disordered eating.
Jamie Lynn Sigler works with NEDA and spoke eloquently about her own experience having and recovering from a profound eating disorder. Many other celebrity guests attended and I was moved by the openness with which people spoke of their experiences struggling with children, their own selves, and hopeful stories of recovery. It is clearly time for eating disorders to come out of the closet, and out of the stigma and shame that surrounds this most deadly of mental illnesses.The newest research that is showing biological causes and temperament traits that increase the risk of developing eating disorders including obesity, is profound, and is helping us to move to work together with families, and not against them. Like years ago, when schizophrenia was blamed on the mother, we are now moving to understand the role families can play in providing support, rather than being distanced from their children who are not eating, or are binge eating and purging. This shift is profound and of course one treatment, does not fit all. But as last night’s eloquent speakers and the research is showing: It is time to for us to move from seeing eating problems and obesity as disorders of vanity or laziness. There are ways we can decrease the risks of our children developing a full blown eating disorder, and how we can help each other and provide support to friends struggling. The science is leading the way, and we need to know more. Thank you, NEDA!