Thursday, February 28, 2013

Eating Disorder Laws

What better way to spread awareness about eating disorders than through laws? I looked online and found a few recent laws that relate to EDs. The first is from Virginia, where the local government enacted a law that will allow schools to do ED screening and will require them to tell parents the results. I think this is a good idea, assuming students don’t lie.
In practice, I’m pretty sure students with eating disorders will just lie if they don’t want to be found out. And I’m wondering if this will inhibit students from coming forward to counselors about their issues if they will be reported to their parents. I didn’t go to a counselor in high school, but I doubly wouldn’t have gone if I knew they were just going to tell my parents about my problems.
In New York, the same kind of law is being debated.
And Israel has recently banned underweight models. I guess this is good, since it means models won’t be under so much pressure to be thin, and it might cut down on the number of their eating disorders. I don’t think it will cut down on the number of regular citizens who develop EDs though, because as you saw in my previous post, I don’t think the media plays much of a role in the development.

What do you think? Are these laws helpful or hindering? (ha, alliteration. Love it)


  1. I think that is horrible. Honestly. I would never in a million years admit to a person of authority/adult that I have an eating disorder. If they started doing eating disorder screenings here, I would be so pissed. Even just thinking about having laws here Like they do in New York I would freak out. I'm a junior in high school right now, and once I graduate high school I am moving to NY. That is insane.
    I have so much anxiety even just thinking about that. Is that an actual law that is in New York?

    1. Not yet; I think it's still being debated.
      But yeah, I would have been very nervous if they did screenings at my school. I really couldn't say whether or not I would have answered honestly. Would you?

  2. Most schools already have a policy that covers this kind of stuff. If a teacher or any staff thinks something is wrong they can either tell the guidence counsellor or call the parents. I know this because it happened to me many years ago in New York when I was a freshman in high school. I also had a teacher call my mother and basically flat out tell her I needed to be in therapy because I was too sick to continue as I was and that was senior year. I am glad they did even at the time I knew it was the right thing for them to have done. After the incident in freshman year I did have a period of normalacy until senior year, so I think it did help.

    1. I'm glad you appreciated it at the time!
      I remember in high school they had the gym teachers tell us to always tell a counselor if a friend is going to commit suicide. Then they showed movies of the friend telling and the person she told on hating her for it. The movies always ended with the message "she'll hate you for telling now, but later she'll thank you for it."
      I think that response is perfectly reasonable, and that it takes a lot of honesty and humility to be able to appreciate when someone makes your life worse for the better. I know I wouldn't have reacted the way you did :)

  3. Hey! I just started your blog and I already like that you have a question. :)
    I think it's not going to work. Self-report bias is so high and in research it's hard to get accurate information because people answer according to the potential repercussions and what the researcher/peers/family might think.
    I have anorexia and my first time with it was when I was 14-17. I didn't think I had a problem and I figured it was just dieting. It was 2004 when I was 14 (Now I feel old! ahhh! :P) and research wasn't as far along as it is now and there was even more of a stigma attached.
    At 22, things haven't seemed to change that much. There's awareness but still that stigma. I feel like EDs are in the dark part of mental disorders still. I think it will be much more of a hindrance for teens. The best thing would be to have awareness and services that can provide some anonymity until the person works up to disclosing it to family. So far family therapy is the top truly effective treatment plan to date.
    Interesting question. I like your blog already!

    1. I always wondered that about research - the self report bias. I mean I kind of knew in the back of my head that statistics about rates and stuff probably weren't very accurate but still I accepted them. It's so sad though, because the best ways to improve treatment are to get accurate research.

  4. hmm that's an interesting way to see it
    like i said - yeah, doesn't matter if you ban or don't ban underweight, models. i completely agree with you. i think...that people need to be EDucated. like seriously. because nobody knows what to look for. if schools want to employ anything, it's to explain that mental diseases shouldn't be taken lightly. i'm in medical school and people still don't think my OCD is worth two craps i mean - they of all people should know. the problem here is that the media projects so many stereotypes of diseases - with OCD, it's the handwashing thing.
    my teacher was just like, "i don't think you have OCD." directly to me. because she was just explaining that i don't have a hand washing compulsion. wtf? i don't care if i don't have a handwashing compulsion. i have a compulsion to weigh everything and everything is a number or a ratio to me. i'm such a perfectionist with my grades that it actually makes me physically sick to think i'm a little off what i think is perfect. my notes, and everything has to be done in a certain order or manner. every day, eating-wise, has a pattern. like today, i just ate three cubes of cheese in the morning and this for me, means that the rest of my day is going to be spent with me eating only one type of food every few hours (aka maybe in two hours, i'd have toast but not with anything else - just the toast bit. it's completely OCD - has nothing to do with the calorie content even though i still do have calorie goals that i want to produce but it's less of a ED complex than it is an actual OCD compulsion). you can give me a few minute panic attack easily that will just end up with me crying.
    -Sam Lupin

    1. Wow, that's so harsh for a teacher to tell you that, especially when she doesn't know you. What was the context of the conversation?
      I also think that certain mental diseases are stereotyped to being "not that bad." OCD is one of those, because it's always portrayed as someone simply having a germ phobia or opening and closing doors seven times before they leave the house or something. Not that that's not hard to live with, but that version doesn't seem so hard to treat or live with. If people understood what goes on under the surface they wouldn't be so quick to judge.
      EDs are another one, again because of stereotypes.

      What year in med school are you?? I hear everyone has to do at least one rotation with psychiatry, so yeah, it does seem ridiculous that they wouldn't understand.


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