Oprah And Eating Disorder Rehab: Some Thoughts

Rumor has it the almighty Oprah is going to launch a series about eating disorder treatment on her network (OWN). Rumor also has it that the show will be filmed at the Shades of Hope treatment center in Texas. I’ve been mulling this over for awhile, trying to decide how I feel about this. On one hand: Maybe the participants/patients will receive free treatment that they might not otherwise have been able to receive. Perhaps this show will also urge people suffering from eating disorders to seek help. Maybe, this will be a positive thing.

However, I believe that there is certainly the potential for this to be an utter disaster. Rehab is not pretty. It’s also a very private thing. I can’t imagine someone filming my stay in residential treatment. I think having cameras in your face when you’re trying to overcome an eating disorder is counterintuitive. It would be distracting, to say the least. Plus, we expect any “reality” television we watch to be filled with drama. I don’t think this bodes well.

Then, we have Oprah, someone who very possibly has an eating disorder of her own. Her weight goes up, her weight goes down. Does anyone remember the year Oprah did a liquid diet? I do. Whether we like it or not, Oprah is a powerful woman. I hope she uses her platform to do right by the participants in her ED rehab show. It would be great if Oprah talked about her own weight struggles in an honest way. Who cares what size clothes the Olsen twins wear? Why don’t we talk about why we are so size-obsessed in the first place?

I’m curious as to how all of this will unfold. I think there is great potential to do good, and great potential to do harm.

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