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Tough topics, but families can do tough things: why are people talking about euthanasia and eating disorders?

The topic strikes terror into a parent’s heart. Our loved one, ill with an eating disorder, wants doctors to let them die. With an illness that may kill just by withdrawing active treatment, these are not idle thoughts.

Parents around the world are reporting that suicidal thoughts, despair, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness are being seriously considered reasons to withdraw care. Euthanasia, or more accurately “assisted death,” is a more and more common request by patients with eating disorders.

But: eating disorders are treatable.

We are hearing from parents who are asking why their loved ones’ eating disorders are being mistaken for hopeless conditions and why symptoms of hopelessness are being seen as prognoses.

Parents around the world are wondering why those suffering from these withering, grueling conditions who have been failed by treatment interventions are made to justify and demand more intervention in order to receive it.

We are puzzled why suicidality with eating disorders is being seen differently than with other conditions?

Why aren’t anosognosia, egosyntonic symptoms, and a global failure to intervene early and effectively and long enough the actual problems to address?

These are tough topics, and that’s why F.E.A.S.T. is facing them head on. As a global organization of parents we have the courage and, indeed, the responsibility to raise the issue so that no family out there is blindsided or alone when it is discussed by their loved ones or the clinical team. We want to empower families to speak up to policy-makers and the media, openly and directly.

Join me later today on a live discussion of the recent F.E.A.S.T. Position Statement on Euthanasia and of the recent inaccurate media coverage of a Dutch teenager’s death. Follow the Tough Topics Thursdays with the hashtag #ToughTopicThursdays!!

Tough Topic Thursdays: Euthanasia and Eating Disorders: Media Coverage and Context


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