Citing her mental health problems, two-time U.S. figure skating champion Gracie Gold announced on Nov. 17, 2017, that she would not participate in the 2018 championships to be held in San Jose, California. The winner of the 2014 and 2016 championships said she was currently seeking professional treatment for an eating disorder, besides anxiety and depression. “It breaks my heart to withdraw from the 2018 U.S. championships. I am still undergoing treatment for depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. I have not had adequate training time in order to perform at the level at which I want to,” Gold (22) told the media.
Gold’s announcement has come at a time when the Skating Championships is all set to serve as the final selection event for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. In September 2017, Gold, who was a bronze medalist in the team event at the 2014 Sochi Games, had withdrawn from the Grand Prix Series citing the same reason.
Gold’s decision to take a break from professional life on health grounds has been applauded by her fellow skaters and friends Adam Rippon and Ashley Wagner. Appreciating her tough decision, Wagner said, “Taking a step back and actually taking time to focus on herself, as an athlete that’s one of the hardest decisions to make.” Rippon said that he admired her bravery and courage for sharing with the world about her condition. Commenting about her simplicity and openness, journalists who covered her performances described Gold as a “shining symbol of class and dignity in the midst of her struggles.”
Studies show recovering from an eating disorder could take several years and the rates of relapse are significantly high. Cultivating necessary coping skills and inculcating normal eating habits, which are essential to combat eating disorders, can be a time consuming process. However, support from family, friends and doctors goes a long way in overcoming the condition. Additionally, afflicted individuals need to address co-existing mental health problems like anxiety, depression or even trauma to prevent any kind of relapse in the future.
Eating disorder can co-exist with anxiety
Some individuals are known to reach out for comfort food whenever they experience emotional upheavals. However, frequent binging on food, particularly for emotional reasons, can be disastrous as the act has no relationship with hunger. Studies show that those battling anxiety disorders may resort to engaging in binge eating as a means to break free from situations that cause anxiety. However, when one does that frequently, they develop a habit of consuming large amounts of food during anxious moments, which, in turn, poses a great health hazard. It’s a clear case of dual diagnosis.
Such a condition needs to be addressed professionally in time. Eating disorders can develop irrespective of age, race, gender, culture or socioeconomic status. The associated stigma and shame has prevented many individuals from coming out and speaking about their condition. But now the discourse is changing. What was considered a taboo in the past is now rightfully being recognized as a serious mental health problem.
Eating disorders are treatable
The consequences resulting from eating disorders are immense and can be fatal, if unhealthy eating habits are not rectified at the right juncture. Studies suggest an eating disorder generally starts during adolescence and may continue throughout adulthood. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), in the U.S., 10 million men and 20 million women suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at any given point of time in their life. Most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia, binge eating disorder and other specified feeding or eating disorder (OSFED).
Sovereign Health is a top-notch mental health care provider. Specialists at our world-class eating disorder treatment centers in California are trained to identify the underlying causes and prescribe customized treatment as well as group psychotherapy based on the patient’s requirements. If you or your loved one is struggling with any kind of eating disorder, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives to know more about our treatment for eating disorders in California.