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Nine Wonderful Truths

F.E.A.S.T. is committed to a coalition-building model of advocacy work.  It is one of our bedrock principles: a committed to a coalition-building model of advocacy work that requires mutual respect among caregivers, professionals, and patients.

In April, a group of representatives from 13 eating disorder advocacy groups and professional organizations sat around a table in Boston.  A group comprised of professionals, caregivers and patients sat around this table, eating lunch, and talking about points of connection and how best to work together in service.   The starting point, it was decided, would be the basics, identifying a clear and unified message that all agreed upon.

This is important.  Very important.  A unified message based on current scientific knowledge about a group of illnesses that has been poorly understood for so long.  This is so beneficial for families. It is a new baseline.  It is a place where families can start and it can inform what they ask for and what they can expect.

To all those at the table:  It was an extraordinary effort and the mutual respect was palpable.

Here are the basics….

Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.

Truth #2: Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.

Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.

Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

Truth #5: Eating disorders affect people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, body shapes and weights, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic statuses.

Truth #6: Eating disorders carry an increased risk for both suicide and medical complications.

Truth #7: Genes and environment play important roles in the development of eating disorders.

Truth #8:  Genes alone do not predict who will develop eating disorders.

Truth #9: Full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Early detection and intervention are important.

*The Nine Truths About Eating Disorders is produced in collaboration with Cynthia Bulik PhD, FAED, Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the Medical School of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, based on her 9 Eating Disorders Myths Busted talk at the National Institute on Mental Health in 2014.

The Science Behind the AED 9 Truths

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  1. Steffi Gillner

    How wonderful that this list exists and gives a baseline from where to work on.
    We are living in Switzerland (German part) and as engaged caregivers of our ill kids we would like to share the list with other parents, schools and treatment providers. Are we allowed to translate the list into German and print it for public use?

    I would like to thank all people who make F.E.A.S.T. possible! You helped us to survive, to learn, to stay strong and to seek out for the help we needed and still need! There is a lot of work to be done as in our area the myths about EDs are still very powerful and hold families back from reaching out and getting support they so desperately need! We would like to help spreading the knowledge and empower the families and their loved ones!

    Thank you very much🙏

    • Rachel Doell

      Steffi – I am also in the german part of switzerland and sadly just had to sign on to this group due to both my daughters having EDs. Are you still here? would love to connect if so and if you are willing.

  2. Tasha

    I’m only on Day 2 of the “First 30 Days program to transform parents into empowered caregivers” and am so far very, very pleased with the emails.

    I’m quite honestly scared , uncertain and feeling quite helpless right now. My 13 year old daughter was a social, well adjusted, carefree kid with so many interests and a strong athlete. She’s now been prohibited from PE, and all sports and is struggling to maintain her weight. It’s heartbreaking and scary….but I’m so grateful I was told about your organization. We live in Canada…

    Thank you F.E.A.S.T for this opportunity to understand what’s going on with my daughter and to give me hope to help her heal! ❤️

    • Jay

      Hi Tasha, we have 14yrs old daughter in a same situation and we’re also in Ontario, Canada. It’s been one of the worst thing to deal with in our lives, just only able to watch my beautiful daughter turning into i don’t know what. Not knowing how to help her. I’m so surprised that it’s so hard to find good help anywhere. Wish you guys all the best.

  3. TALI

    Everywhere i read and every professional i talk to it’s always mentioned that early detection is important. But i cant understand what does it mean early detection ? timewise ? weight ? blood test results ?
    thank you

    • Judy Krasna

      The earlier in the illness an eating disorder is detected, the more likely it is to have a positive outcome. Early refers to time; as with any illness, the earlier it is detected and treated, the greater the chance is of a full recovery.

  4. Deborah

    I’m extremely grateful that I found this website. Thank you so much. I’m trying to learn all I can to fight this beast. I want my 15 year old back!

  5. Katie

    I was given information about F.E.A.S.T by a friend who is a G.P. My daughter was diagnosed with an ED last October, it has been the hardest 6 months of our lives. I am ashamed to admit that,in addition to feeling immense guilt for being somehow responsible for causing my daughter to develop an ED I have also been so frustrated and sometimes so angry that why,as a bright 14 year old she can’t understand what damage she’s doing to her body and chose to eat more and gain weight. The tears and arguments have been just awful,for us all. Day 1’s E Mail flicked a switch for me and changed my outlook and my behaviour immediately. I know there is a long way to go yet and with such long delays before we get the external help she needs I feel less anxious about how she’ll cope and what effect it will have on her until this support begins. She has me and her dad and now I can wipe out all those negative all consuming feelings of guilt,anger and frustration I can concentrate my time on helping,supporting and understanding her.

  6. Melanie Stolz-Sumegi

    We are on day 2 – early but I feel empowered to have up to date tools to begin helping my 13 year old beautiful daughter with binge eating disorder . After reading Day 1’s email I shared what I had learnt with my daughter , it opened up the lines of communication ❤️

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