Posts Tagged ‘Research’

The Link between Eating Disorders and Other Mental Health Diagnoses

Girl by river

One thing that makes eating disorders so difficult to live with and to treat is that they often do not exist in isolation. A very large number of people suffering from eating disorders may also suffer from another illness. For instance, it is extremely common for someone with an eating disorder to have significant anxiety—and there is likely a biological relationship between eating disorders and anxiety symptoms. Depression is also extremely common in relation to eating disorders. This may be related to biological traits that are similar; however, it may also be related to the change in brain chemistry that occurs with starvation, binging, purging, and/or other eating disorder behaviors. Or it may exist as a completely separate diagnosis.

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What to Know About Hunger and Fullness Cues

woman eating a meal

by Hilmar Wagner, MPH, RDN, CD

As you progress in your recovery from disordered eating, being able to use internal hunger and fullness cues can be a significant step towards self-regulation of intake. However, there are several important factors to help this important, but tricky, transition go smoothly.

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Physical Effects of Anorexia

tape measure wrapped around apple

What is Anorexia?

Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterized most notably by weight loss and nutrient deficiency. Those with anorexia have difficulty maintaining an appropriate weight for their size and shape. They may restrict their calorie intake, exercise compulsively, use laxatives and/or purge in order to keep their weight low. Anorexia affects people of all genders, ages or any other demographic categorizations. Anorexia cannot be diagnosed by simply looking at a person, because people can suffer from anorexia without looking like the stereotypical thin image. Those who live in larger bodies can be underweight and suffer from anorexia that is equally serious and severe.

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What should I blame for my eating disorder?

Thought bubble with Light Bulb

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.

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Eating Disorders in Athletes

Male gymnast

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.

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Are Social Difficulties a Risk Factor for Anorexia?

Young man sitting alone

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.

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