(NEW YORK) — He has achieved fame and fortune helping everyday people and celebrities battle their demons, but now TV host and addiction-specialist Dr. Drew Pinsky is facing issues closer to home.
His daughter, Paulina Pinsky, 21, revealed she fought her own battle with anorexia and bulimia for seven years.
The Barnard College junior spoke publicly for the first time while recently hosting the New York City school’s Body Positivity Week, saying the eating disorders started while she was training as an ice skater in her teens.
Initially broaching the subject in a piece she wrote on the Columbia Daily Spectator’s website in November, Pinsky also said she felt pressure from others, including her mother, Susan, writing, “She needed me to be perfect…I was the pretty blonde girl who was a cheerleader and an ice skater.”
And when Pinsky finally told her mom she’d been “throwing up since the seventh-grade,” she says her mother responded, “Well, get your teeth checked.”
Body-image expert Robyn Silverman told ABC News, “Many parents don’t know how much weight their words and their actions have on their daughters’ image. When a parent looks in the mirror and scowls at something that they see, they are reinforcing the messages that are out there that tell girls they must be thin in order to be considered valuable.”
Pinsky, whose father has helped shed taboos about therapy, says she realized she needed help about two years ago, writing, “I had hit rock bottom…and had put myself into therapy. Purging eight times in one day to cope with the emotional stress of being home during spring break had finally scared me enough to take action.”
She says her disclosure to her mother brought them closer and says she finally understands her reaction, writing, “It wasn’t just I who had been affected by society’s demands for my body. It was my mother and her mother before her.”
In a statement to ABC News late Sunday night, Dr. Drew said, “We are so proud of Paulina and her outreach to help others and particularly empower women. When she recognized she needed help, she sought treatment and actively engaged in the process. And now she is using her insights to help others.”
Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio
Karen Lehr, KIVI
Susan Scutti, CNN
Josh Friesen, Idaho State Journal