Body image author Melinda Hutchins comments about a recent study that reported more than half a million teenagers suffer from an eating disorder, most commonly binge eating, a condition described as compulsive eating without the purging associated with bulimia. See “Eating Disorders: the Recovery Process is Key.”
Hutchins cites sobering statistics from the Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy and Action: 20 percent of people with eating disorders will eventual die from the disease. For people suffering from anorexia, one-third will recover after an initial episode, one-third will experience a relapse, and one-third will suffer from chronic deterioration and multiple re-hospitalizations.
“Recovery is never a linear process; it involves making errors and is more a case of two steps forward, one step back,” treatment facility manager Lydia Jade Turner told Hutchins.
Most professionals understand that the recovery process for eating disorders is slow, and they are constantly frustrated with health insurers who want to place shorter and shorter time limits on recovery, and arbitrary deadlines for discharge. Some insurers are complicating the recovery process even further by declining to pay for treatment in 24-hour residential facilities.
It’s alarming that just when professionals are gaining greater knowledge about how to save lives of people suffering from eating disorders, health insurers are attempting to limit the necessary services and care, and in some cases even worse – to close the doors of the very facilities offering the most hope for recovery.