FREED bill reintroduced

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I'm a couple days behind on this, but wanted to register it nevertheless: Minnesota's senators (Franken and Klobuchar) and Tom Harkin of Iowa, again introduced FREED, the Federal Response to Eliminate Eating Disorders bill, last week.

It would do a number of things — such as expand federal research, train health professionals and educators to screen for eating disorders effectively, and create a patient advocacy program, according to a joint release by the senators.

Those, and its other specific aims, are all worthy, to be sure. But what I like most about the bill is that, just by its re-introduction (this is the third legislative session in which it has been proposed), it continues bring eating disorders formally into the public eye, at a time when lots of people don't concede that eating disorders exist.

'Course, I do have to say that the release references only anorexia and bulimia, the two eating-disorder strains to be sanctioned by the American Psychiatric Association. There's no mention of binge-eating disorder, which isn't in the APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual but almost certainly will be when the next revision comes out in 2013.

Even when that happens, the DSM will not reflect the totality of my experience as a food addict, which to me reflects the considerable distance that remains before food addicts can get the support we need to recover.

One of my goals for writing "Fat Boy Thin Man" was to win legitimacy for food addiction so that treatment options would expand. While the FREED act isn't all what I would want it to be, and I have no reason to expect it will fair any better this session than it did in 2009 or 2010, it is still the most concrete example of where we need to go. 

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