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20/20 vision - into the past

Posted Aug 25 2008 2:47pm

My husband and I watched the segment on 20/20 last night about adult anorexia with dismay and disappointment.

In 2008 to spend 3.5 minutes on national TV discussing eating disorders without mentioning genetics, neurobiology, and the physiology of malnutrition is unconscionable. This family’s story was used to perpetuate antiquated -- and damaging -- ideas about the illness and to serve as a free advertisement for a specific treatment clinic.

Ms. Harootunian is made to look like a victim of society, her husband, and her parents. 20 years of malnutrition are considered stabilized in nine days of re-feeding -- enough to begin the psychotherapy that is the real reason for her recovery. From malnutrition to full meals appears, on TV, deceptively simple. The overall impression: that this patient needed to find her "voice" in order to recover.

Shame on ABC for creating a “news” item with content that belongs more in the 1970s than 2008.

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