Posts Tagged ‘Research’

Eating Disorders in the Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community

A heart made from hands set with a rainbow filter

Eating disorders are disproportionately common in segments of the LGBTQ community. Disproving the myth that these illnesses impact only straight, cisgender people, research and personal accounts show that all sexual and gender identities are affected—and sexual and gender minorities perhaps even more so than non-LGBTQ people.

The LGBTQ acronym encompasses several distinct sexual and gender identities. It is an umbrella term that represents a group as diverse and varied as non-LGBTQ people, though often treated as a singular group. While we cannot generalize eating disorder experiences within the LGBTQ community—or outside of it—here we explore eating disorders in one segment: those who identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB). These terms refer to sexual orientation, while “transgender” refers to gender identity. For more on eating disorders in those who identify as transgender, please read Eating Disorders in the Transgender Community.

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Beyond “Eating Disorders Don’t Discriminate”

A Black woman looking to the side

When those of us in the field say “eating disorders don’t discriminate,” we’re trying to express that eating disorders affect everyone. The intention is to challenge the stereotype of the thin, white woman and recognize a diversity of experiences and identities.

And while it’s true that eating disorders affect all social groups, this statement is inadequate. Much like “eating disorders see no color,” it lacks nuance and complexity. Taken alone, it doesn’t advance meaningful conversation about race-related body, food, and illness experiences. 

The conversation about eating disorders in the Black community cannot stop here. 

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The 2010s: A Decade in Review

Highlights of the decade

At The Emily Program we spend a lot of time looking ahead. To hope and healing. To expanded access to care for people with eating disorders. To advanced awareness, education, and treatment. Our vision is a future of peaceful relationships with food, weight, and body, where anyone affected by an eating disorder can experience full, lifelong recovery.

As we work to heal the future, we also acknowledge the past and present. We accept where we are and where we’ve been, both as an organization and a culture at large. We pause and we reflect so that we can move forward with greater clarity, knowledge, and compassion.

To that end, we are using the start of this new decade to reflect on the previous decade in the world of eating disorders. The 2010s witnessed changes in the fields of eating disorder awareness, research, and care, as well as the culture surrounding them.

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Eating Disorders in Older Adults

Woman standing on a bridge

There are many stereotypes that feed into society’s perception of the type of people afflicted by eating disorders. If we could, those of us at The Emily Program would scream it from the rooftops: Eating disorders do not discriminate! A person’s sex, race, age, socioeconomic status, and culture don’t matter when it comes to disordered thinking about food! In this post, we focus on age and the similarities and differences of eating disorders in older adults compared to young and middle-aged adults. We will also cover the importance of seeking help, no matter a person’s life stage.

Setting the record straight on eating disorders and age

Many people think eating disorders only affect young or middle-aged adults and that beyond those years, the disorders disappear. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Eating disorders do primarily affect younger populations, and they often manifest in younger adults. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), it is true that eating disorders appear in early adulthood: the median age of onset for bulimia and anorexia is 18, while the median age of onset for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is 21. However, if one of those eating disorders—or any disordered eating—goes untreated early on, that simply means that those with the eating disorder will likely continue to suffer into late adulthood. In other words, if an older adult is suffering from an eating disorder, that person has been plagued with the symptoms for decades. Adding to that heartbreak, because these adults have suffered for so long, it’s less likely that they will seek help during their golden years.

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Make Peace With You – A Live Podcast with Jessie Diggins and Jana Shortal

Jana Jessie and Jillian onstage at the live podcast

We had a fantastic time at The Emily Program’s first live podcast event, Make Peace With You! Our discussion covered topics of perfectionism, social media, and eating disorder recovery.

jessie laughing at autograph table

jessie, jillian, jana

crowd at autograph table

signing

Episode description:

Make Peace with You is a special live episode of Peace Meal focused on stories of embracing individuality and practicing self-acceptance. On November 2nd, host Dr. Jillian Lampert talked with Olympian Jessie Diggins and journalist Jana Shortal about how they learned to come to terms with body image issues and other challenges. 

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Episode 18: The Minnesota Starvation Experiment

Ancel Keys

Episode description:

Ancel Keys’ Minnesota Starvation Experiment was a 1944-1945 study where 36 men voluntarily starved themselves to aid researchers in discovering ways to help those affected by the war recover from starvation. While the study shed light on starvation recovery, it also became an important study in the eating disorder field. Susan Swigart, an Emily Program psychiatrist, explains why.

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