The hidden costs of eating disorders


Eating disorders can take a terrible toll on a person. Of course, most people are at least somewhat aware of the physical and mental effect these conditions can have as they ravage a body for nutrition. Less known, though, are the financial costs.

Even before seeking expensive treatment that is often not covered by insurance plans, eating disorders can rack up significant costs, such as the expense of binging on foods, buying laxatives, diet teas, or pills, and buying clothes of different sizes as weight fluctuates. Gym memberships or memberships to dieting groups can also add to these costs, as Sophie Jackson recently noted in an essay for The Independent.

“The endless cycle of buying food I knew I didn’t need or want, making myself ill, running out of money and doing it all over again felt like something I would never escape,” she continued. “The financial burden only heightened my stress, thereby encouraging the disordered behaviors that I unwillingly used to cope with stress in the first place.”

Melanie Rogers, founder and CEO of Balance eating disorder treatment center in New York, says Jackson is far from the only person with an eating disorder who found her situation exacerbated by increasing costs and rising debt. As she explained to Market Watch, Rogers believes this behavior is tied to the impulsive behavior that “goes hand-in-hand” with bulimia.

This phenomenon is only made worse when you consider that people from low-income backgrounds are particularly vulnerable to eating disorders, to start with. This creates a self-fueling cycle that prevents low-income people with eating disorders from receiving treatment while their condition is made more severe by their financial situation.

A significant number may never receive treatment at all because of this cycle.

While Sophie Jackson was eventually able to receive treatment and is financially recovering, many aren’t as lucky. “Until the reality of the financial stress of eating disorders is taken seriously, many will continue to suffer in silence, trapped by the very habits that once helped them to cope with serial poverty and stress.,” she concludes.

Tags: , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply