Healthy Habits: Supporting Those With Eating Disorders

Interview originally featured on Motherhood Moment. Preview below.

The Wall Street Journal recently exposed TikTok’s malign effect on teen girls, inundating them with videos that promote starvation diets that put some in the hospital and on long-term recovery programs for their eating disorders. However, TikTok’s predatory algorithm only spotlights a long-brewing health problem; it is not the cause.

“Eating disorders are, together, the most lethal ailments known to psychiatric medicine, and illnesses for which the modern therapeutic arsenal is limited,” says psychiatrist James Greenblatt, MD, Chief Medical Officer for Walden Behavioral Care in Waltham, MA. “Make no mistake—we’re in the midst of a national eating disorder crisis which is magnified by the widespread social isolation and school closures tied to COVID.”

“Anorexia nervosa (AN), which has the highest patient fatality rate of all psychiatric disorders, is associated with a relapse rate of upwards of 50 percent within the first year following treatment. Five to ten percent of those with AN die within a decade of initial diagnosis, a figure that increases to between 18-20 percent by the two-decade mark,” explains Dr. Greenblatt, whose latest book is Answers to Anorexia.

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