Posts Tagged ‘Physical Health’

How to Screen for Eating Disorders

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With 9% of the U.S. population, or 28.8 million Americans, having an eating disorder in their lifetime (ANAD) and a person dying due to complications related to their eating disorder every 52 minutes, it is essential that healthcare professionals screen all their patients for eating disorders. The majority of people with eating disorders do come into contact with healthcare professionals, presenting an opportunity to detect symptoms and intervene early. 

October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, which works to bring awareness to the need for depression and mental health screenings. Screening for eating disorders should be included in all mental health screenings. When it comes to eating disorder detection, knowing the physical symptoms to look out for, the questions to ask, and the people often left out of screenings is essential knowledge to have as a provider. 

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How “Health” and “Wellness” Have Been Co-opted by the Diet Industry

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A common symptom of many eating disorders is a preoccupation with food and body size, and this symptom can be exacerbated by the toxicity of diet culture. Diet and weight loss have grown to be an over $70 billion industry—yet according to studies, 95% of diets fail. As it has become increasingly common knowledge that diets don’t work, the diet industry has reworked its language to disguise diets as being about “health” and “wellness.” Trying to determine if something is pro-diet culture or not can be tricky. To truly promote health and create a culture that is more supportive of those with eating disorders, we need to learn to identify diet culture and actively resist it. 

What is Diet Culture?

If you’re not familiar with the term “diet culture,” that is not uncommon. Diet culture is so entrenched in our everyday lives that it’s hard to even spot it. Diet culture is the belief that if we want to be more desirable, worthy, and good, then we should make our bodies smaller by dieting. Diet culture is dangerous and harms people of all sizes, including by perpetuating disordered eating and making eating disorder recovery all the more challenging. Even if you are not on a diet, you can still be caught up in the culture of dieting. Some people need to be on diets for medical reasons, such as diagnosed celiac disease or diabetes, but even those who have a reason for dieting other than weight loss can get caught up in a diet culture mindset. Many people don’t even realize that in pursuing “health” and “wellness,” they are living their life according to rules created by diet culture. 

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Physical Effects of ARFID

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What is ARFID?

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) is an eating disorder characterized by food avoidance or restriction that results in nutritional deficiencies and interferes with daily functioning. As in anorexia, ARFID can lead to significant weight loss or a failure to gain weight. It does not include concerns about body weight and shape, however. Instead, ARFID primarily manifests as avoidance related to the sensory properties of food and fear about eating.

Previously known as selective eating disorder (SED), ARFID was introduced in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The following criteria must be met for an individual to be diagnosed with this eating disorder:

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The Dangers of Dieting

Smoothie diet

Diet culture wreaks havoc all year long, compromising our joy, peace of mind, health, and trust in our bodies. And now, as in years past, it has hit its peak season. Dieting’s unfounded claims and empty promises show up with renewed energy after the holidays, as if right on schedule every year.

With the ring of the new year comes diet talk suggesting that we should “get back on track” after holiday eating or “jumpstart” the year with weight loss resolutions. Cleanses and detoxes and fasts galore, the clamor implies that we must change our bodies with the turn of the calendar. It sets an expectation that controlling our bodies will lead to happier, healthier lives via “new year, new me” goals.

But weight-loss dieting is a misguided approach to happiness and health. Not only is it ineffective for most people, but it can actually cause harm to our bodies.

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Crohn’s, Colitis, and Eating Disorders

A person experiencing stomach pain

We in the eating disorder field are generally wary of restriction. Dieting is a key risk factor in the development of eating disorders, and eliminating it and other disordered behaviors is central to healing. One of the biggest gifts of recovery is the opposite of restriction: a life where food is just food, and all foods fit.

Even so, “all foods fit” does not necessarily mean that all foods fit for all people at all times. Like any pithy “all” statement, this generalization does not represent any unique considerations. For those with special dietary restrictions, all foods quite literally do not fit. For those with allergies and intolerances, some foods are forever off-limits, and those with conditions like type 1 diabetes or celiac disease need to closely monitor ingredients to avoid triggering their physical illness.

Similarly, gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often require dietary restriction as part of their treatment. The relationship with food is especially complicated for people in this situation. IBD symptoms can overlap and interact with eating disorder ones, and there is no one nutritional plan proven to work for all of those suffering.

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How Does Bulimia Affect Your Teeth?

A dentist speaking with a patient

**Content warning: This post includes discussion of purging behaviors. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed. The following information is not intended as dental or medical advice or as a substitute for professional treatment.

By Dr. Kumar Kolar

With over 14 years’ experience, Dr. Kumar Kolar is a dentist in London, England. He is focused on empowering readers to learn about their dental health and have confidence in their teeth and smile. You can learn more about him on his website and read more of his articles on his blog

Like all eating disorders, bulimia nervosa is a mental health disorder that also affects the well-being of our physical bodies. One of the first places that exhibits physical signs of damage is the mouth and teeth. People with bulimia may experience pain, discomfort, and sensitivity when chewing as a result of bulimic behaviors.

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