EDMONDS, Wash.--(eating disorders at some point in their lives, and that comes as no surprise to best-selling author and psychologist Dr. Gregory Jantz, who says that many eating disorder sufferers share certain traits with people who are driven to success and fame.)--Three prominent American women revealed last week that they have struggled with
“but people should be aware that some of their own family members and friends could be putting excessive pressure on themselves to be ‘perfect’ and high-achieving, and that the results can be equally serious.”
“People who become national stars in highly competitive fields like movies, television and music often hold themselves to very exacting standards,” explains Dr. Jantz, the founder and director of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources, a residential eating disorder treatment facility in Edmonds, Wash. “Many of the people that we treat for conditions like anorexia and bulimia show a similarly strong degree of striving toward perfectionism.”
Last week, talk-show host Katie Couric, 55, TV star and fashion guru Stacy London, 43, and pop superstar Lady Gaga, 26, all talked publicly for the first time about their struggles with eating disorders. Such celebrity revelations have become familiar over the last 30 years, ever since the nation was shocked by the death of singer Karen Carpenter as a result of anorexia.
“Today the public is more aware of the emotional price that fame can come with,” says Dr. Jantz, author of Hope, Help and Healing for Eating Disorders, one of the most well-regarded books in the field, “but people should be aware that some of their own family members and friends could be putting excessive pressure on themselves to be ‘perfect’ and high-achieving, and that the results can be equally serious.”
Dr. Jantz, who since 1984 has treated people of all ages and from all walks of life at The Center, including some celebrity clients, says that having standards to live by and an internal drive to achieve obviously can be positive, healthy and productive. Many eating disorder sufferers, however, engage in self-destructive behaviors in part because they have internalized the pursuit of perfection to a degree that makes them extremely self-critical.
Treatment at The Center is based on Dr. Jantz’s “whole-person” philosophy of addressing the emotional, mental, psychological, social, spiritual and physical needs of eating disorder sufferers.