Disordered Eating

- POSTED ON: Mar 19, 2011


Disordered eating is defined as
having eating habits that might present a risk to mental or physical health,
without exhibiting all the symptoms of a “recognized eating disorder”.

The term “eating disorder” is defined as
a mental illness; a brain problem that creates obsessive thoughts
and compulsive behaviors around food and the body.

Using the above definitions, it seems clear to me that mental health professionals
could manage to place almost every obese person somewhere in those categories,
which increases their marketing target and their potential financial profit.

It is the position of mental health professionals that
all people with disordered eating behaviors and
all people who exhibit symptoms of eating disorders
should receive psychological treatment to correct those conditions.

        I don't agree.

Therapy is helpful to relieve mental distress,
and if disordered eating or an eating disorder is the cause of extreme mental distress,
therapy can be beneficial when its purpose is to make people feel better about themselves..

However, in the case of “disordered eating” psychological treatment frequently
appears to merely be an effort to force people to conform to specific social norms of behavior.
And, perhaps, conformity isn’t always such a worthwhile goal.
Maybe other values are more important.

My opinions about “disordered eating” and “eating disorders” are somewhat controversial,
and over time I’ll be saying a great deal more on the subject.
But for now, I’ll leave you with the following song about disordered eating.

Leave me a comment.

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Existing Comments:

On Mar 19, 2011 sad wrote:
Cute video. Sometimes I think we all feel that way. I know I eat too much fast food during the month. Luckily the therapists dont think food is the cause of my problems...just the other Drs.

On Mar 19, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Thanks Sad. I think this video is a humorous way to demonstrate how common many of these basic thoughts, feelings and even behaviors about food are.

On Mar 19, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
The only disorder in my opinion is the disorder of not using self-control and enjoying all things in moderation. We are suppose to eat to LIVE. The enjoyment of eating is just a benefit. I have this opinion with everything others put a label on to make it not to be a persons individual responsibly such as alcohol, smoking or anything. That being said I respect everyone's right to live as they choose. There is no point telling anyone of the dangers of anything as they have to come to a decisive defining moment of their own to change what they have created. No one can do this for them. Susie

On Mar 19, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi Susie, I also agree that everyone has the right to live as they choose.Thank you for sharing your thoughts here. Socrates, the ancient Greek philosopher is the one who said we should "eat to live, not live to eat". He was famous and literate and wise, but he is entitled to his opinion, and I'm entitled to mine. I don't agree with every word that dropped from his mouth, including that saying. I greatly enjoy eating and I think that "living to eat" is an acceptable alternative philosophy. I previously referred to this in my March 4 blog, "Dedicated, Not Obsessed".

On Mar 19, 2011 TexArk wrote:
Therapy has its place as you say; however, we seem to be a society that would rather talk, talk, and talk some more as a substitute for action. I think the old saying, "It's time to fish or cut bait" (more polite than another old saying expressing the same thought) is very true. I don't have to have everything all in place, including my emotions, before I can take action on what I do know!

On Mar 19, 2011 Dr. Collins wrote:
             Hi TexArk, I do believe Therapy can be a good thing, but I think that whether or not the Therapist shares the client's basic values is a very important issue. Also, licensing and certification are not Guarantees of personal skill. I think there are times when talking must preceed action, but certainly personal action must take place for help to be effective. One thing I find personally disturbing is that insurance companies are now encouraging, and even requiring, Therapists to substitute drug treatment for therapy time.

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