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Spark, trigger, cause

Posted Dec 10 2010 3:07pm
There's a sloppy tendency to use a bunch of words to mean the same thing: "cause."

Spark, trigger, precipitate, risk, fall, contribute, lead to...

Here's how to tell: if the word is being used to explain or justify a treatment approach then it usually is meant as "cause."

I spoke at the recent Renfrew Foundation conference on the topic of agnosticism in treatment. This made more of an impression than anything else I said. The idea of being agnostic in what causes the illness pulled the rug out from so much that we are used to saying and thinking and arguing about eating disorders. Go ahead, try to discuss treatment without using causes. It's difficult. In the process, let's see if all the euphemisms for "cause" have to be set aside as well. Let's ask ourselves if there are other illnesses in which those words are used in the same way.
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