Letter: Countering anorexia myths

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Indy Lifestyle Online
I read with concern the article "In anger as much as sorrow" (Review, 16 November). Hester Lacey describes the traumatic circumstances in which Suzy Kendall gave birth and tried to bring up her twins. Her story is all too familiar for professionals like myself, working with individuals and families whose emotional distress is expressed through eating, or not eating.

But I was saddened that such a prestigious publication stopped short of researching and explaining what is now a recognised psychiatric disorder that has its roots in infancy and the family. I was left with the impression that those suffering this disorder would probably die, or were lucky if they avoided the "slippery road" down which all women might go. This is not so. About one-third of all anorexics die, a further third reach a stage of partial recovery and stay there. But one-third recover completely. Those suffering from bulimia, a much larger portion of the population, usually recover. To say it is a mysterious illness that can strike any woman at any time and that death is inevitable, especially for anorexics, is a mistaken notion.

Hannah Ward

Wokingham, Berkshire

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