I've given a lot of thought to how those of us who have children with eating disorders can model our advocacy efforts after those of other groups. Parents of kids with autism, for instance, have been very effective in pushing for legislation covering treatments and other issues.
The thing is, most people aren't busy arguing about what causes autism in the first place, and they pretty much agree on treatments. Whereas folks in the e.d. world are divided in every possible way.
My friend Laura Collins says she'd like to lock all the e.d. experts in a room until they come to an agreement. Ha!
One of the biggest arguments, of course, is the biology-vs.-psychology one. Both parents and professionals have vested interests in taking one side or the other when it comes to both cause and treatment.
When I imagine trying to bring together a coalition of eating disorders parents and professionals to push for legislation and advocacy, I get a sense of how great the conflicts are. For instance, I don't think individual therapy is useful in treating anorexia, at least not during the active recovery phase, so I'm not sure I would want to push for legislation to cover lots and lots of individual therapy.
In case you couldn't tell, I'm of the biology camp, as in the Minnesota Starvation Study. I don't believe kids "think" their way into eating disorders, and I'm damn sure they don't think their way out of them.
I think what's needed most are more and better treatment studies, like the one Dan Le Grange is doing at University of Chicago. We need to know what the best treatments are for anorexia and bulimia.
What do you think we should be pushing for?