Sheff writes: "[My son] admitted that he sometimes wished that he had any other illness, because no one would blame him. And yet cancer patients, for example, would be justifiably disgusted by this. All an addict or alcoholic has to do is stop drinking, stop using!" JUST EAT. Right?
I think anyone who has struggled with an eating disorder has felt stigmatized, guilty, ashamed, etc. at some point or another. It's hard not to. On one hand, you get endless praise for how skinny and awesome at dieting you are—and the next minute, your dad is crying next to you because he can't understand why you won't just eat. If you're lucky enough to have a family with resources, those resources get sucked down the drain pretty quickly to therapy, treatment centers, medications, and Boost. Even the clinicians themselves can succeed in making you feel pretty crappy. Why aren't you better yet?? It's damn near impossible for people to understand that sufferers of addiction or EDs aren't in control of their behaviors most of the time. They're completely out of control. They're not themselves. They're sick. That's the whole point.
I've never had a drug or alcohol problem, but it seems like there is a lot of overlap with eating disorders in terms of stigmatization, theories of etiology, and The Blame Game. Nothing but sympathy here for those suffering and their families.