Laura Eickman thinks so. She's a Psy.D. with a private practice in Kansas who makes presentations on what she calls the danger zone, which she defines as the area between eating disorders and "healthy" behaviors. (Which, by my reckoning, is everything else. But I digress.)
Eickman gave a talk recently at Pittsburg State University, a fact that caught my eye because of her emphasis on prevention. The question of whether prevention efforts are effective is a controversial one; some say that few to none show any tangible results, while others see value in certain kinds of interventions.
It's a question that weigh heavily on my mind. Could my daughter's anorexia have been prevented? Her younger sister is at greater risk of developing an eating disorder now; what, if anything, can be done to prevent it?
I don't think Eickman has any answers, at least not judging from the news articles about her presentations. (I haven't seen them myself.)
This quote, from Collegionline, the PSU student independent online paper, disturbed me greatly:
Eickman says people in the danger zone take only one to two years to treat, while those with fully developed disorders take five to six years.
As I have reason to know, at least the last half of that sentence is a lie. My daughter was weight restored from severe anorexia in 11 months; her mental recovery took another 6 months or so. Today, about 3 years after she developed anorexia, she is healthy and happy, with a positive relationship to eating, food, and her body, thanks to the fact that we used family-based treatment to help her recover.
Maybe it's PTSD on my part, but I don't trust "experts" who make statements like the one attributed to Eickman. And somehow I suspect her so-called prevention program is little more than words.
Which is too bad. Because God knows we need prevention that works.