A Reflection on Eating Disorders!

As I reflect on Eating Disorders Awareness Week 2020 (EDAW2020), I realize that there is so much education that needs to be disseminated to improve the care provided to people living with eating disorders.

Knowledge is POWER, when we know more, we do better.

About Eating Disorders

Eating disorders (ED) are complex mental illnesses with physical manifestations. Approximately 1 million Canadians, plus their families are affected by an eating disorder at any given time per year and many more remain undiagnosed. Very few people with eating disorders recover quickly and maintain lifelong recovery, typically illness duration is 2-7 years. Eating disorders are oftentimes accompanied with thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.

In fact, suicide is the most common cause of death among individuals with EDs not the ED itself. While EDs have the highest mortality rate of all psychiatric disorders, successful approaches to ED treatment include a multidisciplinary approach that focuses on psychological, physical, and social wellbeing.

Primary care providers (PCPs) are generally the first and most consistent point of contact for patients living with eating disorders. PCPs fulfill two key roles in the treatment of EDs.

1. To develop a radar for identifying people who might need more assistance

· Early identification, timely and thorough medical follow-up that helps eliminate potential chronicity of these disorders

2. Closely monitor the physical and mental health of their patients and advocating on their behalf.

The relationships established between PCPs, patients and their families are ones that will span over several years. Research has shown that the strength of this relationship is correlated to posi