Weight. That seems to be the one and only factor that defines recover for many eating disorder clinicians. Many of these so-called “medical professionals” will stuff their sickly patients with sugar-laden meal supplements and fatty desserts till they obtain a BMI even higher than the weight they were at BEFORE they fell ill.
This raises an important question that divides the eating disorder world – “what really is the true definition of recovery?” Is it a number that appears on a scale or a type of mindset? Unfortunately, many doctors overlook the fact that eating disorders are diseases that affect one’s thought-process, which ultimately results in physical complications. These doctors tend to just focus on reversing the individual’s side effects caused by the eating disorder through weight restoration. The problem with that though is the root of the patient’s illness is never discovered because the patient never gets a chance to talk about their feelings. Instead they are forced to eat every few hours, resulting in heighten levels of anxiety which obviously hurts the patient’s chance of recovery.
I believe that in order for an ED patient to achieve recovery, doctors need to take a gentler, more holistic approach. They need to focus less on the scale and more on how the patients feels about food and eating. They need to help the patient work through their fears by slowly introducing them to the foods that cause the patient anxiety. For goodness sakes, they just need to take the time to listen! Maybe if they did this, eating disorders wouldn’t be the deadliest mental illness.