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Legislation could change the definition of an eating disorder to help cover more people battling the disease

Posted at 8:31 PM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 21:40:08-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — 15 year-old Carolyn Howard started going through symptoms of an eating disorder. She was a star diver and felt the pressure from her coach and the competition to be thin.

"I think I used food to control something because I felt like I had no control in my life," Carolyn Howard said. Howard started missing meals and even would stop drinking water.

She is now 22 and is healthy but says she doesn't think her Anorexia will ever completly go away.

"There is physical aspects but it's the mental, it's the fear, it's the anxiety, it's the depression that goes with it," Howard said.

The mental health struggle is why Howard says treatment is so important. Making that treatment available for all people suffering from eating disorders is the goal for New York Senator Alessandra Biaggi. She sponsored a new bill to expand the definition of eating disorders so that people suffering with all forms-- not just anorexia and bulimia, will be able to get insurance for their treatment.

"The more people that we allow access to treatment the more people that we can save their lives," Biaggi said.

According the National Eating Disorders Association-- eating disorders have the second highest mortality rate of all mental health disorders, only surpassed by opioid addiction.

Biaggi says she hopes the bill-- if signed by Governor Cuomo-- will encourage more people suffering with the disease to get, what Howard says, is life saving treatment.

"I felt like I wasn't alone, I felt like I could be the voice for someone else," Howard said.

For more information or how to get help visit The National Eating Disorders Association website.