What did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening to me? I don’t understand why I can’t just eat. Why am I like this? These questions may plague those with eating disorders—and, that’s totally normal. When we feel overwhelmed and confused, it’s easy to assign blame as a way to make sense of what’s happening. If something bad happens to us, there must be an explanation. If I lose my job, it might be because I repeatedly showed up late. If one of my friends is mad at me, it’s probably because I’ve done something or because they are having a bad day. It’s natural to need a reason as to why certain things happen. This is a way to protect ourselves from the idea that some things are out of our control. And, that tendency to find an explanation is no different for those with eating disorders. Those suffering from disordered eating often wonder why—what made them develop an eating disorder and what is to blame?
The answer is that no one is to blame for your eating disorder. Not your parents. Not yourself. Not the one kid that poked fun at you in middle school. These may be contributing factors, but they aren’t the reason you developed an eating disorder. Eating disorders aren’t a choice, a fad, a phase or something caused by one specific reason. Current science suggests that eating disorders are caused by a complex combination of genetic, biochemical, psychological, environmental and social factors.
Articles tagged with: Research
Recently, conversations about eating disorders in athletes have been flooding the internet. People are wondering how coaches and parents can recognize symptoms and what the best treatment options are. There is a common misconception that athletics resulting in weight loss is the norm, but that’s not always the case. The main purpose of exercising is to build up body strength and muscle mass. Individuals who are driven to use athletics while restricting intake for weight loss are at a high risk of developing an eating disorder.
Research has consistently shown that many people living with Anorexia Nervosa report difficulties with social situations, smaller social networks, and trouble regulating emotions in some social settings. Here we'll explore why social difficulties are often a precursor to and maintenance factor of anorexia and what can be done to mitigate the issue.
Anorexia Nervosa is a severe eating disorder characterized by dramatic weight loss, excessive calorie restriction and obsessive thoughts about food and body image. While anorexia is an illness individuals can recover from, it has the highest morbidity rate among all psychiatric disorders, so it is essential to get treatment as soon as possible. Read more about anorexia here
I recently came across an article in The Mighty called, “37 Memes That Might Make You Laugh If You Live with ‘High-Functioning’ Anxiety,” and let me tell you, I did laugh and immediately forwarded the articles to three of my friends that I knew would relate. While hilarious, the article also highlights the reality of anxiety and, specifically, that anxiety isn’t just everyday stress.
Do you restrict what you eat to small quantities and a narrow variety of foods, but you aren't sure If it's anorexia? Do you wake up frequently, feeling you need to eat before you can go back to bed? Do you purge without binge eating? If you are experiencing eating disorder behaviors that don’t quite fall into the categories of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, or Binge Eating Disorder, you may have a condition that is classified as Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED). Formerly known as Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS), OSFED was developed to encompass conditions that did not meet diagnostic criteria for Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa but were still significant feeding or eating disorders (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
What is bariatic surgery?
The purpose of bariatric surgery is to alter the stomach and/or intestines to create a dramatic decrease in body weight. The resulting rapid reduction in body weight has made it a popular option for treating obesity, but in addition, it frequently addresses a host of medical conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, dyslipidemia, hypertension, gall stones, gastroesophageal reflux disease, obstructive sleep apnea and degenerative joint disease. Weight loss surgeries can be life changing—and lifesaving—to many individuals who undergo them.
We live in a society that’s always on the go, and this constant activity can often lead to stress and anxiety. When anxiety creeps up, we may feel overwhelmed, stuck or out of control. We may get distracted, hyperfocus or avoid responsibilities. While severe anxiety should be addressed with a therapist or medical doctor, there are some lifestyle changes you can make to alleviate symptoms of anxiety.
What does transgender mean?
According to the American Psychological Association, “Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity [internal sense of being male, female or another identity] or gender expression [how gender is communicated through behavior, clothing, body and other characteristics] does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth.” Simply put, it is a term used when a person doesn’t identify with the sex they were given. For example, if an individual is born and deemed male by a doctor but knows that they are female and chooses to present as such, that person may refer to themselves as being transgender. It is important to note that not everyone who appears gender-nonconforming will identify as transgender. In addition, being transgender is not related to a person’s sexual preferences.
A recent survey found that 1/3 of all US adults reported being on a diet or following a specific eating pattern in the past year. The most frequently mentioned diets were intermittent fasting, restricting carbohydrate intake, paleo, low-carbohydrate, Whole30, high-protein and ketogenic/high-fat diets.
Summer SAD: A lesser-known condition
Most of us understand what it’s like to get the winter blues, where the only thing we want to do is cuddle up and watch Netflix for hours on end. However, for some of us, these blues are serious enough to be classified as a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as SAD. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, SAD is a type of depression that’s directly related to the change of seasons and affects people at the same time every year. Symptoms may include: depression, loss of interest, low energy, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite or weight, negative thoughts, and/or thoughts of suicide (if you are having suicidal thoughts or ideations, talk to your therapist or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-274-8255. Chat is available here for those who are deaf or hard of hearing). While most people think SAD only appears in the winter, summer SAD is surprisingly common and starts in late spring and lasts until early fall. The most common symptoms of summer SAD are insomnia, poor appetite, weight loss, and anxiety (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
Every day we are faced with “now or later” decisions. Should I buy that piece of clothing I want now so I can wear it right away or should I wait and hopefully get it on sale? These types of decisions involve the concept of immediate or delayed gratification. Brain research is showing that people’s tendencies in this area often end up being expressed in their eating disorder.
Eating disorder treatment can be lengthy, complicated and may even take several treatment attempts for someone to fully recover.
We know early recognition and rapid intervention is the ideal standard of care and, in many instances, increases a patient’s chance for long-term success. So it’s critical that medical providers become experts at recognizing, referring and treating patients with eating disorders.
A new chapter in a landmark study
Researchers recently conducted a 57-year follow-up investigation of the Biology of Human Starvation study, commonly known as the ‘Minnesota Starvation Experiment’ or the ‘Keys Study.’ The original study, which took place following World War II, proved a remarkable model for the effects of semi-starvation, and has therefore been useful in better understanding restrictive types of eating disorders. To learn more about the original study and the follow-up investigation, we caught up with Dr. Susan Swigart, a co-author of the follow-up investigation and Emily Program psychiatrist.
We are excited to be hosting several continuing education and networking events this spring and summer! Topics for upcoming CEU opportunities including basic signs and symptoms of eating disorders, new treatment techniques, and research updates.
Check out our list of the top 5 online news items and stories that have found interesting or inspiring recently.