Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Death By Anorexia

A colleague of mine, who has specialized in the field of eating
disorder treatment, recently lost a client to anorexia The client was
a woman in her mid-30’s who had been through 6 inpatient treatment
centers and engaged in outpatient eating disorder treatment with a
team of a psychologist, nutritionist, cardiologist, and physician.
She also struggled with alcoholism and attended AA periodically.

It appears that the cause of death was heart failure. This young woman
lived a very isolated life and was not discovered dead in her home
until a week after her death. She had a family that was able to
provide her a very comfortable lifestyle and financial security. She
was smart, attractive and kind.

I know we have all seen cases like this over and over again. In
hindsight, it is apparent that even with the best of care, this woman
simply could not choose recovery over her anorexia. She was a strong
woman; full of discipline…I do not fault her for lack of
determination…but rather am sad to acknowledge we do not yet know
enough of the physiological/neurological causes of eating disorders.

This woman’s death is a tragic loss. However, we will continue to
research and uncover the genetic, environmental, familial and social
factors that contribute to eating disorders.

I take my sadness over this loss and use it to fuel my passion to
continue to explore and promote eating disorder recovery.

Please share any other known deaths by eating disorders here. Perhaps a site visitor will read it as a wake up call, and hopefully those who have lost a loved one or patient
to an eating disorder will find comfort in knowing they are not alone.

Jacquelyn Ekern, MS