What We Do

We are working together to make specialized eating disorder treatment and the opportunity to experience the freedom of full recovery, accessible to everyone.

Overview

Eating Disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, yet they are the least understood – even by clinical treatment providers like therapists, psychiatrists, and rehabilitation programs.

There are numerous issues surrounding the treatment of eating disorders that must be addressed.

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Being constantly hungry is no life at all.

Emma Woolf, The Ministry of Thin

Challenges

A few of the main challenges in the fight against eating disorders include the increasingly high costs of treatment, lack of specialized care, and the associated stigmas that inhibit change in our society.

  • Females with an undiagnosed eating disorder 20%
  • Individuals diagnosed with eating disorders that are male 25%
  • Individuals who receive treatment from a facility that specializes in eating disorders 35%
  • Men and women with an eating disorder who actually receive treatment 10%

In the United States, specialized treatment of an eating disorder can cost anywhere between $500 to $2,000 per day.

Even outpatient treatment, a level of care typically implemented for patients in less severe stages of an eating disorder or who are more advanced in the recovery process, can cost upwards of $100,00.

The exact treatment needs of each person will vary, and can range from months to years – becoming very costly; therefore, contributing to the extreme importance of early diagnosis and intervention.

However, most insurers routinely deny the coverage necessary for long-term treatment of eating disorders claiming there is not enough evidence on how best to treat them.

Eating disorders can be successfully treated to complete remission, but only 1 in 10 eating disorders receive treatment, and 35 percent of those who get help receive specialized treatment, finds a study cited by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

They are multifaceted and extremely complex; as a result, treatment must be expertly comprehensive. If patients do not receive adequate treatment, then multiple relapses and re-hospitalizations are common.

Although an expert level of care is essential to achieve full recovery, patients are often sent to generalists who have seen a few eating disorder cases but who lack specialized knowledge to treat them successfully.

Management of eating disorders should use a multidisciplinary approach and involve a range of specialists such as psychiatrists, licensed therapists, endocrinologists, dentists, gastroenterologists, dietitians, etc.  Eating disorders vary in complexity; as a result, treatment must be specialized and tailored to the individual.

Perceived by the public as being self-inflicted,  eating disorders are stigmatized and sufferers are blamed for their condition.

As a result of a global lack of awareness, many believe that these individuals need to “just pull themselves together”, rather than accepting that eating disorders are chronic illnesses which require clinical treatment.

This stigma is widespread and has several proven consequences including the reluctance of sufferers to ask for help and even affects the amount of allocated government funding for research.

In a study evaluating the predictors for government grant funding for research, it was observed that we under-fund things where we blame the victim.

It has been reported that “coming out” about an eating disorder has healing properties in itself, and a decreases the sense of shame and anxiety when disclosed to a friend, family member, or caretaker.

Increasing public awareness to break down this prejudice is critical for individual recovery as well as advancement in research for eating disorders.

Mental Health Funding Compared

This graphic illustrates the distribution of research funds for HIV/AIDS and mental disorders by the National Institue of Mental Health (NIMH).

Findings show eating disorders to be extremely underfunded compared to the reported mortality rates.