Getting treatment for an eating disorder often requires the joint care of a therapist or counselor as well as a medical physician, if the disorder has progressed enough to cause bodily harm. But among some communities, acknowledging eating disorders (and mental health concerns in general) is difficult to do. The Orthodox Jewish community is one example, according to several doctors and counselors who specialize in eating disorders; they say that Orthodox Jewish patients are increasingly common, and that Israel has one of the highest rates of eating disorders worldwide. Because Orthodox Judaism includes specific dietary limitations and fasting, it can set up a slippery slope for those who struggle, and a fast may trigger a relapse for someone who’s recovered. Yet awareness is growing, marked by an increase in facilities, books, and documentaries. Aimed specifically at the Orthodox community, these resources address the problem, discourage stigma, and encourage therapy.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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