Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 09-May-2008, Vol 121 No 1273
Next To Nothing: a firsthand account of one teenager's experience with an eating disorder
Carrie Arnold, B Timothy Walsh. Published by Oxford University Press, 2007. ISBN13: 9780195309652. Contains 192 pages. Price $US30.00
This small soft-cover book on eating disorders is one of a series for general readers resulting from The Adolescent Mental Health Initiative set up in the USA in 2003 to assess research and treatment of mental disorders with onset between ages 10 and 22. Written by a young woman in recovery, it sets out to engage, inform, and advise those affected by these serious and dangerous illnesses.
The 8 chapters follow the course of an eating disorder, its recognition and treatment, made engaging by the frank and personal style of the author using her own experience to candidly illustrate pitfalls and misconceptions encountered along the way. With the sure hand of eating disorders expert B Timothy Walsh (Past President of the Academy for Eating Disorders and head of the DSM IV and IV task forces on Eating Disorders) clearly evident, a wealth of scientific and clinical information are woven into the text in readable and succinct fashion.
Understanding eating disorders is notoriously difficult for sufferers, families, and clinicians whose entrenched perceptions often fatally divide efforts to plan and effect treatment. The writing here is unsentimental avoiding praise and blame in order to accurately strike the points clinicians strive to make (sometimes unsuccessfully) in their daily work. Many are made as highlights or tips. Others are documented in tables. This is an illness. It is not glamorous or a choice. No one is to blame.
Finally there is an appendage directed at caregivers, a section on frequently asked questions, a glossary, list of treatment resources, and bibliography.
The result is an excellent volume that I happily recommend to a wide audience including patients, families, and clinicians who hope to resolve the many paradoxes of treating these disorders. I look forward to other books in this series.
South Island Eating Disorders Service
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