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Eating Disorder Expert and The Center Founder Says New Reality Series on Eating Disorders May Hurt More Than Help(January 10, 2012)
EDMONDS, WA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/10/12 -- Eating disorders are once again in the spotlight with the premiere of a Lifetime network reality show focusing on women who suffer from anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. It's not the first time reality TV has covered the subject, and eating disorders specialist and author Dr. Gregory Jantz cautions that these shows can do more harm than good.
Starving Secrets aired its first episodes in December, telling the stories of seven different women undergoing treatment for eating disorders. The show is hosted and co-produced by Tracey Gold, a teen star of the 1980s sitcom Growing Pains and one of the first celebrities to have her anorexia widely publicized in the media. Gold has since become a spokesperson and activist on eating disorders.
A&E has dealt with eating disorders on its popular reality show Intervention, and in 2010, the E! network ran What's Eating You?, a reality series devoted to the topic.
At best, these shows can raise awareness of eating disorders, says Dr. Jantz, and even that can have a down side. Watching such a program can be "triggering" to someone with a history of or predisposition to eating disorders, and may give sufferers ideas on ways to hide the problem from family and friends.
"A television show, no matter how well-intended, just can't show the true depth and complexity of problems like anorexia and bulimia, nor can it accurately portray the kind of treatment that's necessary for a person to recover from an eating disorder," says Dr. Jantz.
Dr. Jantz advocates a "whole-person" approach to promoting recovery from eating disorders, one that he practices at The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, a residential treatment facility in Edmonds, WA, that he founded in 1984. Dr. Jantz's whole-person methods address clients' physical and medical needs, as well as the psychological, emotional and spiritual components of their disorders.
In addition to his work as an eating disorder counselor, Dr. Jantz operates Caring Online, a website that offers information on eating disorders, and has written numerous acclaimed books. Jantz's bestselling Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders details his whole-person philosophy of treatment.
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