Celebrity psychologist Dr. Drew Pinsky recently admitted on CNN to exercising obsessively to stay slim, a condition not technically a mental disorder, but what some call exercise bulimia.
He joked about his condition saying: “a little whiff of a mental health issue never hurt anybody.”
Doctors at The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore found the comment disturbing. They say that calling exercise bulimia a “mild” mental health disorder sends the wrong message to the public.
Something that may seem minor or mild could actually be indicative of a full-blown eating disorder or the first signs of one. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, according to Sheppard Pratt. Without treatment, anywhere from five to 20 percent of individuals with eating disorders may eventually die from complications related to their illness.
Here is a statement from Dr. Harry Brandt, director of The Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt:
“In the age of the internet and personal blogs there will always be misinformation out there, but it’s particularly concerning to see high profile medical professionals, in this case an internist, minimizing what is a very serious disorder for a lot of people. Eating disorders are difficult to identify and treat because they are a socially normative disease. Common symptoms like weight loss, dieting, negative body image and excessive exercise are all reinforced in our society. This can make it very difficult for people with serious eating disorders to recognize their behaviors as problematic and part of a more significant mental health problem. Statements like Dr. Drew’s trivialize a dangerous behavior and unfortunately make it more difficult for individuals to justify getting help.”
Here is a video of Dr. Drew's comments: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/05/25/iri-dr-drew.cnn,Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun