Posts Tagged ‘Education’

Worried about Relapse?

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Eating disorder recovery is challenging and it’s not one-size-fits-all. Recovery is often thought of as nonlinear because individuals sometimes don’t follow a predetermined path and may find themselves taking one step forward and two steps back. While this aspect of recovery can be frustrating, it’s important to remember that the correct path to recovery is the exact path that we are on. By not comparing ourselves to others in recovery or wishing we had an easier path, we can focus our efforts on healing and mending our relationship with food and body.

What Is Classified as a Relapse?

An eating disorder relapse is characterized by any return to eating disorder behaviors and symptoms. Common examples of returning to eating disorder behaviors include skipping meals, counting calories, or measuring weight. Warning signs of an impending relapse include:

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Eating Disorder Recovery and Grief

Man sitting on ledge

Eating disorders and grief have a multifaceted, complex relationship. Eating disorders may arise following a traumatic situation, after a loss, or during any period of grief. In addition to potentially being a provoking factor in the development of an eating disorder for predisposed individuals, grief may also complicate recovery and may make it more challenging. On top of this, individuals in recovery may also find themselves grieving their eating disorder, which adds another layer of difficulty onto the recovery process.

What is Grief?

Grief is a normal, albeit overwhelming, response to a loss of any kind. While grief is typically associated with death, grief can also follow a variety of experiences including relationship loss, a decline in health, miscarriage, physical or sexual assault, loss of a dream, etc.  

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Stages of Recovery

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Eating disorder recovery is a complex process that typically requires each client to progress through five stages. To have a diagnosis of an eating disorder implies that an individual’s life will experience significant, disruptive changes and a need for treatment over a period of time. Treatment for eating disorders usually improves and speeds recovery, however, someone who carries an eating disorder diagnosis should expect there to be a significant amount of time and several stages as they move towards recovery.

It is important to reiterate that these stages are general and each individual’s experience will be unique, but there are some common experiences and needs we see across individuals recovering from eating disorders. 

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Does Extreme Dieting Lead to Eating Disorders?

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When discussing the signs, symptoms, and roots of an eating disorder, it’s impossible to leave dieting out of the conversation. In recent years, research has uncovered the indisputable fact that dieting is a risk factor for the development of eating disorders.  According to NEDA, those who engage in moderate dieting are 5x more likely to develop an eating disorder and those who engage in extreme dieting are 18x more likely to develop an eating disorder.

What is dieting?

Dieting is defined as “the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person for a special reason (low-sodium diet to reduce high blood pressure)” or “a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight” or alter body size, shape, or appearance.  

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Physical Effects of Bulimia Nervosa

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What is Bulimia?

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by bingeing and purging. People diagnosed with bulimia frequently binge on food, eating thousands of calories in a single episode. Feelings of shame and disgust often accompany these binge eating episodes, leading to purging behaviors such as vomiting, laxative abuse, over-exercising, and/or fasting. This compensatory behavior is a tell-tale sign that an individual is suffering from bulimia. Despite attempts to lose weight by purging, those with bulimia generally maintain a body weight that is normal or slightly above average.

According to the DSM-5, the following criteria must be met for an individual to be diagnosed with bulimia (please note that if all of the following are not met, an individual may still have a serious eating disorder that requires treatment):

  1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
    1. Eating, within a two-hour window, an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat during a similar period of time and under similar circumstances.
    2. Lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that you cannot stop eating or control how much you are eating).
  1. Recurrent inappropriate compensatory behavior to prevent weight gain, such as self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or other medications, fasting, or excessive exercise.
  2. The binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behaviors both occur, on average, at least once a week for three months.
  3. Self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight.
  4. Binging or purging does not occur exclusively during episodes of behavior that would be common in those with anorexia nervosa.

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Episode 2: Eating Disorders 101

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Eating disorders are confusing and complex. On this month’s episode, host Claire Holtz sits down with Emily Program Site Director Jennifer Nelson to discuss what eating disorders are and what we can do to help those affected.

Episode show notes:

In this episode of Peace Meal, we discuss what eating disorders are, what to do if we are worried about ourselves or a loved one, and how to support those in recovery. Emily Program Site Director Jennifer Nelson answers the most common questions asked by those considering eating disorder treatment and offers advice to support people. 

About the podcast:

Peace Meal is an Emily Program podcast that discusses topics related to eating disorders, body image issues, and how society may contribute to distorted thinking.

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