Eating Disorder Education in the Community

Re-posted from Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders (CCED) blog archives. CCED and The Emily Program partnered in 2014.

By Dr. Mark Warren

I co-taught a day-long conference at the Gestalt Institute a few weeks ago on eating disorders, the science behind them, when to refer, and when to treat. It’s a topic that forms the core of the work we do and is very dear to my heart. The participants at the conference were a terrific group.

Those who attended this event took a day off from work and paid a fee to learn more about eating disorders. I believe this speaks to the commitment of mental health professionals in our community to keep themselves educated and up to date on recent research and treatments. I also realized, more than I had in the past, that those who work in the field of eating disorders may live in a bubble. Given that we treat eating disorders day in and day out, we understand the biology of eating disorders, new treatments for the illness, and the experience of our patients on a deep level. When we step outside of this bubble we realize this information may not be the common knowledge we sometimes expect it to be. My take away from this training was that mental health practitioners are dedicated and hopeful about being able to work with and help those with eating disorders, but the information and resources aren’t always easily accessible. Most people with an eating disorder never receive specialty care. Our goal is to teach the general mental health and primary care world how to recognize an eating disorder, understand when a crisis is present, and how to refer the patient in crisis to the appropriate specialist. With increased education and support for providers our hope to reach those in need so they receive the most effective care possible.

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