It's National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. And no one knows better than the staff at Rogers Memorial Hospital in Oconomowoc how important it is to promote education about eating disorders.
Statistics show that eating disorders including anorexia and bulimia have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness - but only 10% of those affected by it seek treatment. Only 35% receive treatment at a specialized facility. For adolescent females aged 15 to 24, anorexia's death rate is 12 times higher than any other cause of death.
Dr. Tracey Cornella-Carlson, MD, CEDS is the medical director of the child and adolescent eating disorder programs at Rogers Memorial Hospital, which was the first facility in the nation to offer specialized treatment to men and boys suffering from eating disorders.
She sat down with OnMilwaukee.com to weigh in on common misconceptions about the disease that 24 million Americans suffer from.
OnMilwaukee.com: Many people point the finger at the media for drilling the ideals of "perfection" into the population. Do you agree or disagree with that?
Tracey Cornella-Carlson: I would say I disagree and agree. I think that many teenage patients that I deal with tell me that they are bothered by the media and those messages that are sent. However, we do know that all of us are exposed to the media and not everyone develops an eating disorder. So I would say that it takes a predisposition to have an eating disorder, in conjunction with many different triggers, in order to produce an eating disorder. People themselves are likely perfectionists who develop an eating disorder. But the media doesn’t cause eating disorders.
OMC: Is an eating disorder more about self-image or more about control?
TCC: An eating disorder is about both self-image and control. Many teenagers will start dieting in an attempt to improve their self esteem or feel better about themselves. They may have been teased or bullied about being overweight, and that’s one way they t…Read more...