Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Perspective

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Perspective

Article excerpt

Considering the high morbidity and prevalence of eating disorders, it is remarkable that more money and research efforts are not targeted toward intervention and prevention of this major psychiatric problem.

The absence of a vocal outcry for such resources from the psychiatric community could be a consequence of psychiatrists' inexperience with these disorders. Despite the high numbers, psychiatrists in clinical practice don't come across eating disorders very often. It may be that patients with eating disorders see their primary care physicians rather than psychiatrists, and so psychiatrists perceive the conditions as being far less pervasive than they are.

Also, conditions defined by more extreme deterioration in functioning, such as schizophrenia, may overshadow eating disorders. Finally, I suspect another reason eating disorders escape general psychiatric attention may be that they are primarily disorders of women. Sadly, only recently have women's health issues begun to get the attention they deserve.

Of course, a culture that promotes thin, underweight women as the icon of beauty also promotes the idea that women below normal body weight are the desired standard--thus countering the notion that subnormal weight could be a sign of psychopathology. …

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