Stop, and take a minute to really absorb these pictures. Now ask yourself, does this person need medical treatment? And if so, do they deserve insurance coverage? Photos by JaciBerkopec
Startling Statistics 1 in 5 women will struggle with an eating disorder. 10 million Americans currently suffer from eating disorders. 90% of women with eating disorders are between the ages of 15 and 25. While eating disorders are typically associated with women, there are currently over one million men also suffering from an eating disorder. www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Did you know that more people die of anorexia than any other mental disease?
A person suffering from anorexia is 12 times more likely to die than other women her age.
5-10% of anorexics will die within ten years of onset and 18-20% percent die within twenty years of onset.
20% of people suffering from anorexia die from medical complications directly connected to their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems.
Research Funds Comparisons www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
Why won’t insurance companies cover treatment costs for eating disorders? Mental Health Parity Act of 1996 lets insurance companies decide how to cover inpatient and outpatient care Insurance companies view anorexia and bulimia as behavioral disorders as opposed to biological disorders. Anorexia and bulimia are not classified as serious mental disorders. http://www.now.org/nnt/winter-2007/eatingdisorders.html
Why Should insurance companies cover eating disorder treatment?
Anorexia and bulimia fall under the qualifications of a serious mental illness.
New scientific evidence showing anorexia and bulimia are biological disorders.
The average treatment can cost up to $30,000 a month. Without insurance, people can’t afford the help they desperately need.
What is a serious mental illness? According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a serious mental disorder is defined as “persons age 18 and over, who currently or at any time during the past year, have had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within the [DSM-IV], resulting in functional impairment which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.” Anorexia and bulimia are clearly serious mental disorders. During a recent study, eating disorder patients described their quality of life as poor and “after 2 years of treatment and follow-up, ED (eating disorder) patients were still more dysfunctional in all areas of life than women of the general population.” This clearly fits the definition of a serious mental illness causing interference with life activities and functional impairment. www.123rf.com www.samhsa.gov
Recent studies on twins estimate that 50-83% of the variation in anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are accounted for by genetic factors. Certain chromosomes have been identified through these genetic studies. Chromosomes 1, 4, and 10 have what are called “risk genes.”
Serotonin levels, neurotransmitters involved in food intake, are also linked to eating disorders. Studies on people suffering from anorexia and bulimia showing altered serotonin levels which lead to altered appetites, mood, impulse control, energy, and metabolism.
Mood and anxiety disorders are also known to shadow eating disorders. Anxiety disorder aids and abets anorexia into developing and major depression follows after recovery while personality disorders, major depression, anxiety disorder, and substance use disorders are commonly found amid bulimia patients. 80% of anorexia and bulimia patients will be diagnosed with another psychiatric disorder in their lifetime.
International Journal of Eating Disorders www.123rf.com
Dr. Thomas R. Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, says, “anorexia is a ‘brain disorder’ that can be cured with appropriate mental and physical treatments.” www.123rf.com http://www.now.org/nnt/winter-2007/eatingdisorders.html
Now ask yourself again. Does this person need medical treatment? And if so, do they deserve insurance coverage? Photos by JaciBerkopec