Tuesday, March 23, 2010

100 Questions and Answers about Anorexia


As a family physician, mother, and Girl Scout leader, I am always
excited to find new tools to help our youth. 100 Questions & Answers
about Anorexia Nervosa
fits the bill in all categories. Dr.
Shepphird's book is a practical, informative, accurate and thorough
resource appropriate not only for medical providers, but for patients,
family members and friends of anyone suffering from anorexia.

From the obvious but important first question, "What IS anorexia
nervosa?" to the deeper probing "My daughter recently said she just
wants to lose 'a little weight' in order to feel better about herself.
Should I be concerned?" these hundred questions tackle virtually every
aspect of an overwhelmingly prevalent disease.

Perhaps what sets Dr. Shepphird's book apart the most is her
powerful integration of personal comments in every section from two
successful women who have battled anorexia. Lynn was a world-class
athlete whose victories masked her eating disorders until her poor
health ultimately ended her competitive career. Sarah is a young
college student who began her struggles with anorexia in eighth grade.
Although (or perhaps I should say instead - not surprisingly,) Sarah
excelled in dance, school, and the social scene as she strove for
perfection across the board. Her slippery slope into eating disorders
began with the "success" of losing just three pounds. These stories
truly engage the reader. In fact, my teenage daughter found herself
skipping "the other parts" and simply reading all these stories
interspersed among the Q&A.

The statistics surrounding anorexia are staggering. Anorexia has the
highest premature death rate of any mental illness and it occurs most
often in our teenagers. We're fighting societal messages that you can
never be too thin, and that skinny equals success. Adult leaders
unaware of accurate eating disorder information can easily
inadvertently worsen the self-image of their teens, especially in
weight- focused sports or mirror-surrounded dance studios.
BOTTOM LINE: Coaches, teachers, scout leaders, clinicians and parents can all benefit from
reading 100 Questions and Answers about Anorexia.