Now that I have gone through treatment for my eating disorder and met many other people receiving treatment for eating disorders, I notice more people in my daily life who have untreated eating disorders and/or disordered eating. Maybe they are receiving/have received treatment and are not as open about it, statistics say that as many as 9 out of 10 eating disorder sufferers do not receive treatment. That makes me sad. Eating disorders can be fatal; they have the highest mortality rate (up to 20%) of any mental illness. Physical illnesses like asthma attacks and cardiac arrest can be fatal too. However, unlike for eating disorders, if people suffer from a physical ailment, they are more likely to seek treatment. I am not sure how, but I hope we can someday get a closer to 100% treatment rate for people with eating disorders.
There are ample examples in the media of people with untreated eating disorders/disordered eating. I do not know whether she ever received treatment, but Tori Spelling, who recently admitted to starving herself to lose her pregnancy weight rather than losing weight with a healthier method of safe dieting and exercise, definitely has eating disorder behaviors. Her arms are very often eating disorder skinny and it is frustrating that she and her publicist initially thought it was a good idea to market her unhealthy body as attainable through healthy self-care. I understand they have more than the average pressure to be thin, but many other actresses are flaunting untreated eating disorders? How many young, impressionable boys and girls accept and internalize those messages and develop their own eating disorders?
I used to want bony, eating disorder arms. Now, when I see skinny arms like that, I see the pain that the person with those arms is suffering. I wish I could convince them that treatment makes life so much better, that they can be more than a fragile body. And then I remember that I had to make my own decision to enter treatment. I did not see myself as too thin or realize that I needed help. I still wish I could do more to help people with untreated eating disorders and eating disorder behavior.