New York Levies $1.6 Million Penalty for Wrongly Denied Eating Disorders Coverage

[This is a press release from the National Eating Disorders Association. I don't typical just "rip and run" press releases, but I am for this, which I consider important and significant.]

NEW YORK CITY, Aug. 24 — The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) applauds New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and the New York Health Care Bureau for the milestone, mental health-parity decision announced yesterday, which awards a $1.6 million settlement against Buffalo-based HealthNow, New York, Inc.

Adam Silberstein: "The world struggles with the concept of food addiction"

Welcome to another installment of "10 Words or Less," in which I ask brief questions and request brief answers of interesting people. Today’s participant is the clinical director of The Source Health and Wellness Treatment Center, which will treat food and tobacco addiction when it opens in Los Angeles next month. Remember, “10 words” is a goal, not a limit, so please, no counting. It’s not so easy; let’s see you do it.
Name Adam Silberstein


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Especially on the level of individuals, perhaps the biggest stumbling block to food addiction’s acceptance as a legitimate problem with specific remedies is that most folks don’t want to think they’re that bad off.

”Sure, I’ve developed a bit of a paunch, maybe, but I just have to be a bit more careful. But an addict? No way.” Certainly that sentiment is true for many people, but in a nation where two out of every three adults are overweight or obese, it may not be true for as many people who would say it.

Indiana TV station looks at food addiction

It's a little weird following Indiana TV reporter Jenny Anchondo on Twitter, because she tweets things like "Right two lanes of I-65 SB closed near Keystone Ave. due to crash," and "When @Fox59sjones is happy, everybody is happy. He got a 2 for 1 from the vending machine today. #Score."

Go big

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This squib from the Physician's Briefing website reflects some broad truths, considering it results from a survey of peoiple at risk for diabetes in Finland: Excerpts:

"Only 36 percent of at-risk men and 52 percent of at-risk women perceived the need for lifestyle counseling. ... Of those individuals who perceived the need for counseling, 35 percent refused to participate." About a third of the people who agreed to participate never showed up even once.

Vic Avon: "People think [eating disorders are] a choice"

Welcome to the latest round of “10 words or less,” in which I ask brief questions and request brief answers. Today’s subject is a NEDA Navigator, in which NEDA is the National Eating Disorder Association and navigators are laymen who’ve come through an eating disorder, either personally or familially, and now help others. Remember, please: No counting! 10 words is a goal, not a rule, and besides, let’s see you do it.

Vic Avon
Age 29
Residence Brick Township, N.J. 
Author “My Monster Within: My Story,” published in May 2010.
What your disorder was like “Very extreme, very deadly, a classic case of anorexia.”
When you were last active “I stepped into a hospital [University Medical Center, Princeton, N.J.] March 11, 2008.”
Can you recall a low point? “It was so bad that I prayed every night that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning.”

Further word from BED pioneer

I recently came aware of therapist Amy Pershing via a blog post on in which she was interviewed. I found a lot to agree with in what she said — that binge eating isn’t diet failure but is an eating disorder deserving of treatment, not societal scorn, for example.

But one passage bothered me enough to track her down for a few more questions. Here’s the passage, which came in response to interviewer Margarita Tartakovsky’s question: “What are common challenges that make it tougher to overcome BED or problems with overeating?”

”From a cultural perspective, we begin to teach people to distrust and dishonor their bodies from childhood. We do not, as a society, value size or shape diversity; in fact weigh bias and stigma fundamentally underlies any eating disorder. “Thin” has to be presumed more valued for the symptoms to coalesce. We are taught to distrust our food preferences and our appetites, especially as girls, from early in life. We are taught to “exercise,” but not to play. Children learn their bodies are to be controlled, not honored. So the ability to hear cues, to really feel the positive impact of playing and eating well, typically must be relearned.”

Additionally, weight and being “fat” is so completely vilified now that the idea of body wisdom is more remote than it has even been. We have a “war on obesity.” Literally now people are encouraged to be at odds with their bodies. Then, we are sold a profound “bill of goods” by the diet industry (with a 95% failure rate over 6 months), further removing us from simply listening to our needs. The current system makes recovery a veritable act of defiance. You have to be a renegade just to be in your body.

The learning curve of moderation?

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"Food addiction — nah"

That's the dismissive headline atop another of the serially disappointing blogs of, this time written by Pittsburgh therapist Pavel G. Somov, which says in part:

"If you have labeled yourself as a food addict, I suggest you retire this psychologically toxic concept from your mind. You are a seeker of wellbeing who is still mastering the learning curve of moderation."

OMG, sir, if you only knew. Which clearly you don't. (Though I'll acknowledge for the record that we're just two guys spoutin' on the Net, and that he's a Ph.D. and I'm not.)


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