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Fighting Anorexia: No One to Blame

Dec. 5, 2005 Newsweek issue – “The age of their youngest patients has slipped to 9 years old, and doctors have begun to research the roots of this disease. Anorexia is probably hard-wired, the new thinking goes, and the best treatment is a family affair.”

In summary:

  • “At a National Institute of Mental Health conference last spring, anorexia’s youngest victims were a small part of the official agenda—but they were the only thing anyone talked about in the hallways…”
  • “Six months ago the Eating Disorders Program at Penn State began to treat the youngest ones, too—20 of them so far, some as young as 8.”
  • “Doctors now compare anorexia to alcoholism and depression, potentially fatal diseases that may be set off by environmental factors such as stress or trauma, but have their roots in a complex combination of genes and brain chemistry.”
  • “In a 2000 study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University studied 2,163 female twins and found that 77 of them suffered from symptoms of anorexia.”
  • “Anorexia is a killer—it has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, including depression. About half of anorexics get better. About 10 percent of them die. The rest remain chronically ill…”

From the report in Newsweek: “Fighting Anorexia: No One to Blame”

By Peg Tyre
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