Financial woes, family denial and fear are all factors that people with eating disorders and their loved ones may cite when avoiding treatment for their illness. According to the Eating Recovery Center (, the premier treatment center for eating recovery, recent anecdotal evidence has shown that people with eating disorders are waiting longer to enter treatment, and are entering significantly sicker.

“Waiting to seek treatment for an eating disorder can be a fatal decision,” said Dr. Kenneth L. Weiner, founder and medical director of the Eating Recovery Center. “As an eating disorder progresses, the likelihood that it will lead to serious medical problems grows exponentially. It’s important that anyone with an eating disorder seek help as soon as symptoms arise.”

Eating disorder treatment is not the only medical area that has fallen victim to the recent economic decline; a recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly half of Americans say someone in their family has skipped pills or postponed medical care because of the cost. According to Weiner, an individual’s fear of gaining weight or reluctance to come to terms with the underlying roots of the disease may also play a part in a decision to ward off treatment. Weiner has also witnessed many instances where families delay treatment because they deny the gravity of their loved one’s disease or they feel frustration with their long recovery timeframe.

According to Weiner, eating disorders are serious and complex illnesses that require the attention of trained professionals. Although those with the disease may have the desire, it is almost impossible for “self treatment” to be effective; in fact, trying to go it alone will likely result in repeated failures. The Eating Recovery Center offers these top five reasons why anyone touched by an eating disorder should not put off treatment.

1. Eating disorders are the deadliest mental illness with mortality rates 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all causes of death among females ages 15-24 in the general population. Death is most commonly due to heart failure, suicide or other complications associated with the eating disorder.

2. Eating disorders can lead to significant health issues. When left unchecked, anorexia nervosa will starve the body of essential nutrients and can cause liver or kidney failure, heart problems and osteoporosis. Bulimia nervosa can do significant damage to the mouth, stomach and esophagus and can lead to tooth decay, peptic ulcers or gastric and esophageal ruptures.

3. Starvation can affect the brain’s ability to recover from the disease. Poor nutrition negatively impacts brain chemistry and functionality, leaving anyone at a very low weight less responsive to cognitive therapy or many pharmaceuticals. This can extend the life of a mental illness.

4. Eating recovery is a long-term process, not a quick fix. A prior visit to treatment is not a reason to avoid going again. Anorexia and bulimia are complicated, multi-faceted diseases that have a high rate of relapse, at 30 to 50 percent. Individuals with eating disorders may require ongoing treatment to truly experience a long-term recovery.

5. Eating recovery is an individualized process. Finding the best treatment option uniquely suited to each individual person may be a time-intensive process. The sooner this process begins, the better the outcome will be for the individual with the eating disorder.

“I was given a death sentence when my eating disorder caused an infection that doctors couldn’t initially identify,” said Toni Saiber, anorexia survivor and founder of the Eating Disorder Foundation. “I was lucky. Thousands of people every year are not. It’s vital that people dealing with these terrible diseases seek the appropriate treatment for their situation as soon as they can.”

Early detection and intervention has been proven to increase the chance of full recovery. It is essential for the person with the illness to get a professional assessment first, from a practitioner trained in eating recovery.

Author's Bio: 

Shannon Fern is a public relations professional specializing in the health industry.

About the Eating Recovery Center
Located in the heart of Denver’s medical district, the Eating Recovery Center is the only facility in the Rocky Mountain region that offers adults a full spectrum of eating recovery treatment options. From inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization and outpatient programs to meet each patient’s unique needs, the Eating Recovery Center combines highly-trained medical staff with a unique integrated treatment philosophy to make each patient's successful recovery a life-restoring event. For more information, visit