Posts Tagged ‘Research’

Why Eating Disorders are Serious

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Eating disorders are biologically based mental illnesses that are influenced by an individual’s environment, society, and psychological makeup. An eating disorder is an illness that causes an individual to experience disturbances in their eating habits and negative food or body-related thoughts and feelings. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) recognizes five kinds of eating disorders:

Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is characterized by extended and extreme food restriction and malnourishment that causes dramatic and sustained weight loss. Anorexia often presents with a fear of gaining weight and other body image issues.

Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). ARFID is a feeding or eating disorder typically driven by fear, a lack of interest in food, or an avoidance of certain foods, resulting in continued failure to meet an individual’s nutritional needs. ARFID often presents without a drive for thinness.

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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 undisputable 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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The Intersection of Eating Disorders and Diabetes

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Dr. Jillian Lampert, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., L.D., F.A.E.D., is The Emily Program’s Chief Strategy Officer. Additionally, she is the Co-Founder and President of the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium (REDC), an organization whose main goal is to ensure access to care and elevate standards of practice across treatment programs by working collaboratively to address issues that impact the eating disorder treatment community. One of Dr. Lampert’s primary goals in life is to have her fourteen-year-old daughter grow up loving her body and herself.

What are eating disorders?

Eating disorders are prevalent and often severe mental health illnesses that are categorized by a disturbance in eating behaviors and related changes in thoughts and emotions. There are many types of eating disorders and treatment is available. While serious, eating disorders do not have to be a lifelong illness. Individuals can experience recovery and continue on to live healthy, happy lives.

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The Residential Eating Disorders Consortium Introduces STEP

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The Emily Program is pleased to announce that the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium (REDC) has released the Standards of Excellence Project (STEP), a collection of works demonstrating REDC’s continued commitment to raising eating disorder industry standards.

What is the REDC?

Founded in 2011, the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium (REDC) is the only national professional association for eating disorder treatment providers. The REDC represents the majority of eating disorder industry leaders, with roughly 80% of treatment programs as members (including The Emily Program!). With this network of field leaders, the REDC raises the bar for industry standards and professionalism by offering members a seat at the table for the most critical discussions in the industry. Members of the REDC learn from each other and share resources, advancing eating disorder treatment across America.

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Eating Disorders, Trauma and Intimacy Difficulties

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**Please be aware that this blog covers topics of trauma and abuse. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak to your therapist or support system as needed. If you need someone to speak to about sexual assault or abuse, reach out to RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE. If you need to talk with someone or need help fleeing domestic violence, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

The existence of an eating disorder largely impacts a person’s ability and desire to be in sexual and/or emotionally intimate relationships. In those with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, or OSFED, one of the main symptoms is a concern about body weight, image, size and/or shape. These body image disturbances and obsessive negative thoughts can create barrier to entering into an intimate relationship or can prevent intimacy in current relationships. Oftentimes, those with eating disorders struggle getting close to others because their eating disorder becomes their primary focus.

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