Bipartisan Resolution for National Eating Disorders Awareness Week Introduced in U.S. House of Representatives
On June 29, 2017, Congressman Tim Murphy [R-PA-18] and Congressman G.K. Butterfield [D-NC-1] of the House Energy & Commerce Committee led the introduction of a bipartisan House of Representatives Resolution to create a Congressionally recognized National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. With fortytwo bipartisan U.S. House of Representatives signing-on as original co-sponsors, (H.Res.428) demonstrates a strong Congressional support for raising awareness and understanding of eating disorders.
The Resolution syncs with the eating disorder community’s over two-decade tradition of celebrating the National Eating Disorders Awareness week, designating the last week of February as the recognized week. National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is the largest national campaign that brings public attention to the critical needs of people with eating disorders and their families.
Published on the on 7.10.17
Asking for help can take many different forms and can be quite challenging. When struggling with an eating disorder, taking this action can be more complex than a simple, straightforward request. What are some of the reasons why asking for help can be so difficult? Why do “cries for help” appear in disguise? And what about these two questions can be specific to eating disorder recovery?
This article uses the term, eating disorders, to refer to anorexia nervosa, (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), binge eating disorder (BED), and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED). Three factors that are active in eating disorders, complex on their own, as well as elaborately entangled are shame, internal criticism, and diminished self-worth.
Published on the on 7.4.17
Written by: Kathryn Cortese, LCSW, ACSW, CEDS
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In the new Netflix film, “To the Bone,” up-and-coming young star Lily Collins plays Ellen, a 20-year-old woman with anorexia who is starving herself because she has come to believe that she can never be thin enough.
The film won’t be released for streaming until July 14, but it’s already creating quite a stir. Some groups say this major motion picture could start an important national discussion about eating disorders, what the national nonprofit Project Heal calls “the most stigmatized, misunderstood and under-recognized of all mental illnesses.”
But others worry that “To the Bone” could be the next “Thirteen Reasons Why.” That is, another Netflix movie accused of romanticizing self-destructive and potentially lethal behavior among young people.
Published on on 7.5.17
Written by: Martha Ross
Getting the right diagnosis often isn’t easy for psychiatric conditions. In our field, we don’t yet have biologic tests that can easily define one condition from another. If your blood pressure is 140 over 90, you have hypertension or high blood pressure. In mental health, we have to rely on a description of patterns or symptoms to makes diagnoses. This model is fraught with challenges.
Without a clear biological model to work from, and given the complexity of the human brain, the field has settled upon dividing these descriptions of symptoms into syndromes. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) holds these symptom descriptions in order to help professionals make reliable and consistent diagnoses. This means a social worker in Detroit should make the same diagnosis as a psychiatrist in Boston and a psychologist in Santa Fe. However, the diagnostic process is more complex than just reading symptoms in a DSM.
Published on the on 6.12.17
Written by: Ken Duckworth, M.D.
Eating Disorders Eligible for Research Funding to Help Military Servicemembers and Families
Led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito, for the first time eating disorders are eligible for research funding to help our warriors and their families affected by this serious mental illness.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 30, 2017) — As we remember our fallen warriors this past weekend, Congress has taken another step forward to helping the men and women serving our country. After months of negotiations and two Continuing Resolutions, Congress reached an agreement to fund the federal government’s FY 2017 budget on May 5th. This budget package represents the first time that Congress permitted federal research funding to help our military members and their families affected by eating disorders. Led by Senator Shelley Moore Capito [R-WV] on the Appropriations Committee, along with support from Senator Amy Klobuchar [DMN] and former Senator Kelly Ayotte [R-NH] through a , these Senators worked to ensure that eating disorders be included in the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program’s (CDMRP) Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program. The CDMRP supports research across the full range of science and medicine, with an underlying goal of enhancing the health and well-being of military servicemembers, veterans, retirees, and their family members. This will provide an average of $3-$5 million in new eating disorders research funding.
“Our servicemen and women devote their lives to keeping America safe and free, and it’s important that we do our part to make sure they are cared for as well,” Senator Capito said. “These funds will support important research to help military families and their loved ones who are struggling with eating disorders, and I’m thrilled we were able to secure them in the recent funding agreement. I will continue working to ensure all our servicemen and women have the care and support they need.”
Published on the on 5.30.17
This month we feature the recovery story of Kristy, a collegiate athlete who learned that the eating disorder was keeping her life at bay. And while recovery isn’t always smooth sailing, she was able to cast off from the pattern of self-destruction and chart a course to a happier tomorrow.
While the rest of my boat loudly cheered and gave each other sweaty hugs, I found myself running to the stuffy, foul Porta-Potty to do what had become second nature at this point. You just won Pac-12s, I thought to myself as I was simultaneously trying to throw up without breathing in any of the Porta-Potty smells, what the hell is wrong with you? This is a question that both my parents and I would repeatedly ask a couple months out, but at that time, I was so deep into my eating disorder/cognitive disorder that I couldn’t be bothered thinking it through. So, instead, I did what I did best which was thoroughly wash my hands and run back to my teammates with a huge smile on my face and resume my position as the positive, bubbly leader everyone knew me to be. No more throwing up until after NCAAs, I promised myself. I tried to believe that I independently had full control and power over the mental illness that was wreaking havoc on my body but deep down I knew better. For once in my life, I couldn’t out-stubborn or out-work this problem.
Published on 5.26.17 as part of Cielo House’s
Written by: EDRC volunteer Kristy Wentzel
SAN JOSE — Fewer high school students are drinking, having sex, doing drugs and resorting to violence, a large-scale survey of Santa Clara County public school students shows. At the same time, engagement in school has plunged, as has students’ optimism about their future.
This mixed picture of youth well-being emerges in Project Cornerstone’s Silicon Valley youth survey — the first in six years — of 43,000 youths at more than 180 elementary, middle and high schools in Santa Clara County. The survey was administered last fall, and the results were released this spring.
“There are a lot of positives, but kids are telling us they’re bored in school,” said Anne Ehresman, executive director of Project Cornerstone, about the high school results. “That breaks my heart.”
Published on on 4.24.17
Written by: Sharon Noguchi
February 26th through March 4th represents National Eating Disorder Awareness week. During this week, the general public will likely see articles, tweets and maybe some Facebook posts that will cause them to think for a bit about those suffering from an eating disorder. For those who do suffer however, they’d give anything not to think about their eating disorder for a week. Not to think about calories, food or exercise. Because for those suffering from an eating disorder, this is not just a week but this is all consuming. It’s what keeps you up at night, regretting what you ate that day or how you can make tomorrow “better.” It’s what drives wedges between family members and ruins the notion of a happy family meal. Social lives will be impaired as impromptu happy hours and dinners out become the causes of stress, not stress-relievers. Your relationship with exercise? It’s not a means of keeping healthy but rather, simply a method of burning calories. Eating disorders affect every aspect of an individual’s life thus deeming it impossible not to constantly think about.
Written by: Kristin Wentzel
Family and Friends Newsletter
First Ever Legislation Victory for Eating Disorders
Groundbreaking legislation, the 21st Century Cures Act, was passed in the last few days of the Obama administration. The bill includes important language surrounding eating disorder recognition and treatment. The passing of this bill has the potential to change millions of lives with its clause that ensures that healthcare professionals know how to both recognize and treat eating disorders. The bill will also ensure that insurance companies treat eating disorders the same as they would treat a physical condition. Mental health parity – treating physical and mental illnesses equally – became a law in 2008, however eating disorders were excluded up until this point.
Check out more by Kitty Westin, who spearheaded the bill in memory of her daughter, on her blog post here.
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By pretty much every definition, Lady Gaga looked in supreme shape as she delivered her epic performance at the Super Bowl 51 half-time show. She vaulted off the roof of the NRG Stadium in Houston, then danced her you-know-what off during her 13-minute run through patriotic American classics and her own hit songs, including a burning-down-the-house rendition of “Bad Romance.”
But all some could focus on is what she exposed when she changed into a second Versace outfit that featured sparkly hot pants and a stomach-baring crop top that showed a softly toned abdomen that critics thought wasn’t toned enough. These critics — mostly men apparently — saw a slight belly roll that to them meant she wasn’t a desirably skinny as she should be.
In response to critics, Gaga took to Instagram late Tuesday to say: “I’m proud of my body.” She told fans they should never “cater to anyone or anything to succeed,” and added, “Be relentlessly you. Finally she thanked them for their support.
Published on the on 2.7.17
Written by: Martha Ross