Let’s Talk
866.482.3876
Let’s Talk 866.957.5023

Center For Discovery In The News

Top Eating Disorders News

Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosabulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are recognized by psychologists and psychiatrists around the world and can result in severe co-morbidities and even death if left untreated. With the continued social stigma attached to eating disorders and in general, mental health disorders; often times it can be challenging to discern the truth from fiction. New innovations in treatment are continuously being published however the mainstream media often does not shed light on these important findings. Below are three published articles that had eating disorders professionals talking this week. 

7/10/17

Brain Responds Differently to Food Rewards in Bulimia Nervosa

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Diego discovered the sensitive connection between bulimia nervosa and the brain’s response to food rewards. Approximately five million women and two million men are diagnosed with bulimia nervosa in the United States. This disorder is characterized by restricting food or calories through self-induced purging such as exercise, vomiting or laxative abuse and these purging behaviors are often preceded by episodes of binging. The researchers targeted the areas of the brain that are responsible for taste and hunger and the results showed that individuals with bulimia nervosa were just as likely to be stimulated by food regardless if they were hungry or satiated.

“’Brain activation in the left amygdala was actually significantly greater in the group with a history of bulimia nervosa than in the control group when fed, indicating that taste response in these individuals may be insensitive to the effects of energy metabolism, exaggerating the value of food reward,’ said Ely. ‘If you’re full and your brain is telling you to keep eating, it could contribute to loss of control.’”

7/10/17

What’s Eating Our Patients? The Link Relationship between Trauma and Eating Disorders

Although the evidence to suggest that eating disorders (ED) have a biological basis has been described as irrefutable (e.g., Strober & Johnson, 2012), we know that the environment also plays a role in the development of an ED. One of the most prominently discussed environmental factors found in the literature—and in the therapy room—is trauma, and as EDs most often develop in late adolescence, the trauma is often experienced in childhood. Although research results have been somewhat mixed regarding the link of childhood trauma and anorexia, the link between childhood trauma and bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorders is more consistent (Caslini et al., 2016). 

However, it is noteworthy that much of the research utilizes strict definitions of trauma and does not include, for example, trauma at the hands of peers such as school bullying or nonconsensual sexual advances/contact by near-same-aged adolescents (e.g., the meta-analysis by Caslini et al., 2016). Yet, even unwanted sexual attention, versus actual sexual abuse, has been shown to lead to body image problems in adulthood (Whealin & Jackson, 2002), thus with wider definitions of childhood trauma, we may see more robust correlations between childhood abuse and EDs, including anorexia. In support of this notion, the US National Comorbidity Survey Replication Study found that virtually all 5,692 participants (2,382 of which were male) with AN, BN, and BED reported a history of at least subthreshold post-traumatic stress disorder (Mitchell, Mazzeo, Schlesinger, Brewerton, & Smith, 2012). 

7/9/17

Integrating Exercise Into Eating Disorder Recovery

Exercise is a healthy way to release stress and is known to increase positive energy in the form of endorphins. However exercise can be unhealthy in individuals living with an eating disorder, as excessive exercise is a form of restricting or purging behavior and therefore learning how to integrate healthy exercise while undergoing recovery for an eating disorder can be quite challenging. A recent article discussed how to integrate exercise back into your life if you are in recovery for an eating disorder and the following key points are important to keep in mind:

  • Find a new form of exercise you enjoy in order to replace your old exercise routine that was associated with your eating disorder.
  • Be mindful of why you are exercising.
  • Don’t label exercise as a “good” or “bad” behavior but rather consider a neutral part of your routine.
  • Start slowly and have fun.

“Just as your relationship with food will become normalized and mindful, so too exercise become normalized and mindful as well. It is important to discuss consideration of exercise with your team and to determine when and how to do so. The process of recovery is one that will allow for re-connection and enjoyment of food and exercise, as well as re-connection and enjoyment of all that life has to offer”.

7/05/17

Compassion focused therapy for eating disorders

Eating disorders are centered around low-self esteem due to the harsh criticism and judgment on weight and body image. It is nearly impossible to mention an eating disorder without someone passing judgment and as a result, many individuals have been less likely to enter treatment out of fear of being judged. Mental health professional agree that criticism and judgment should not be associated with any type of mental illness but rather these individuals should be shown empathy and compassion, especially throughout their recovery process. A recent study used an innovative approach known as Compassion focused therapy (CFT) to address underlying negative issues associated with eating disorders. Individuals with an eating disorder have been known to have less self-compassion and have higher levels of compassion fear than the general population. By using this approach, individuals can learn to understand their deep underlying issues with fear and negative emotions. The focus of this approach is to develop understanding, empathy, and compassion in order to recognize how emotions and eating disorders are linked.

“For these clients, it may be that the soothing system is underdeveloped and unable to be accessed in such a way that the threat and drive systems become interlinked in a vicious cycle that leads to further distress. Furthermore, the dominance of the threat and drive systems also may prevent the development and activation of the soothing system that might otherwise play the role of affect regulation and self-soothing”.

4/14/17

Concerns About Your Child's Eating Habits? Is a Disorder Developing?

Childhood obesity is not the only epidemic associated with weight and eating in children and teenagers, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, binge-eating disorder and bulimia nervosa are becoming more common in the younger population due to peer pressure and the stress and influence of social media. This interview conducted by an expert physician in adolescent medicine at Akron Children's Hospital explores commonly asked questions about eating disorders and their prevalence among young individuals including the pediatric and adolescent population. 

"WHBC: What is the average age of onset of an eating disorder?
Dr. Sondike: There are 2 peaks we see a lot - around 12 to 13, and another peak at 18 to 19 years old. That 12-13-age peak is during puberty when people's body shape is naturally changing and leading to some discomfort. When you talk about that older group ? they may be out on their own for the first time with a lot of pressures. However, when I see someone around 18 to 19, I ask them when did they first become concerned about their size and shape. They tell me that was a very long time ? back to 13 or 14 but they weren?t able to act on it until they went away to college or went out in their own." 

4/14/17

Embrace Body Neutrality, Give Women a Realistic Standard

Many eating disorder experts often mention the importance of "self love" and why it is essential to learn to love your body however others argue if this is actually a realistic concept. Even individuals without a history of eating disorders may not necessarily love everything about their body. We always think about that stretch mark, or how one part of our body hugs our jeans in the wrong way or that scar or tiny defect that is visible to others. Many experts are beginning to wonder if changing this concept of "self love" to "self acceptance" is healthier for individuals who are in recovery or who are currently struggling with an eating disorder. Is self-love connected with high standards and perfectionism? Is the concept of body neutrality a healthier way to approach our body image and shape? 

"Body neutrality is looking at yourself in the mirror and maybe not liking how your thighs look in the shorts you are wearing, but allowing that to be a passing thought. It is going through the day wearing those shorts, pushing that idea to the back of your mind and realizing that it doesn't matter. It's much easier to lessen negative thoughts about your body or your self-image by focusing on acceptance, rather than a feeling of obligation. And according to the Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center, self-acceptance is one of the first steps to getting to self-love." 

4/14/17

First, Do No Harm-How To Help When You See Signs of An Eating Disorder

Dancers and gymnasts are two common populations that are associated with the eating disorder stigma. Whether through binging and purging or extreme dieting, dancers often feel obligated to maintain a thin figure in order to perform their best and look beautiful while dancing on stage. These dangerous behaviors can cost them their life and a recent article by Dance Informa, an online dance magazine, sheds light on how to recognize eating disorders in dancers and ways to help them before it is too late. 

4/14/17

First, Do No Harm-How To Help When You See Signs of An Eating Disorder

Dancers and gymnasts are two common populations that are associated with the eating disorder stigma. Whether through binging and purging or extreme dieting, dancers often feel obligated to maintain a thin figure in order to perform their best and look beautiful while dancing on stage. These dangerous behaviors can cost them their life and a recent article by Dance Informa, an online dance magazine, sheds light on how to recognize eating disorders in dancers and ways to help them before it is too late. 

3/17/17

Children Are Still Deeply Misinformed About Eating Disorders

Although awareness about eating disorders has increased tremendously over the years, there is still so much misinformation construed to society through news, social media, word of mouth and the Internet in general, which causes many individuals to adapt very unhealthy lifestyles when they actually ?think? they are eating healthy. From fixations with high intensity training, to eating ?clean? and sticking to diet plans; these behaviors are triggered by the obsession to stay thin and as a means of self-control people engage in these over the top behaviors; potentially leading them to develop an eating disorder. Even if you do not have an eating disorder per say, today?s youth are inundated with false information misconstruing the importance to be thin as having a thin body type does not necessarily equate to having a healthy lifestyle.

"As a youth instructor for Mental Health First Aid England, I still hear the most myths perpetuated by delegates when delivering the eating disorder section of the course. When working with children as young as 12, I worry about the amount of misinformation they have managed to glean on the topic."

3/17/17

Five Inspirational Changes That Will Actually Make You Feel Good About Yourself

Individuals with eating disorder often self-blame and self-insult if they make one little "mistake" of slip with their diet and this vicious cycle of insults results in self-hate and low-self esteem making their eating disorder worse. So here are five things to do instead of bashing yourself: 1) Take one selfie a day for a week. 2) Allow yourself to be vulnerable with someone. 3) Wear something you have been dying to wear but have been too self-conscious about what others will think. 4) Make time for yourself to do something that you enjoy 5) Every time you think bad thoughts about yourself, say something nice to yourself.

3/17/17

University Removes Weight Scales From the Gym Because They Are "Triggering" Students

Scales can be the biggest triggers leading to low-self esteem and the desire for weight. Many individuals often measure their success by a number on a scale. You weight has nothing to do with being healthy and most of us know that muscle ways more than fat. Many professionals in the eating disorder believe that scales can cause more harm than good in individuals who are struggling with weight loss and eating disorders. As a result, institutions are starting to remove scales from gyms and public places. 

"Carleton University removed the scales, claiming that weight on its own ?does not provide a good indication of health and, here at Athletics, we have chosen to move away from focusing solely on body weight," according to the Ottawa Citizen.

Bruce Marshall, the manager of the university's wellness programs, told the publication in an email that the decision was "in keeping with current fitness and social trends."

3/10/17

Eating Disorders Group Wraps Up Successful Awareness Week

Eating disorder awareness week kicked off on February 26, 2017 and ended March 4, 2017. This National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) kicks off this annual awareness week every year in order to raise awareness and reduce the stigma on eating disorders. This year they held a social media campaign where eating disorder survivors were encouraged to take photos of themselves with their personal heroes who supported them through their journey and posted these photos on Instagram with the #NEDAwareness hashtag.

"Recovery from an eating disorder doesn't happen in a vacuum - friends, family members, treatment professionals, activists, and inspirational figures all play important roles. The #RecoveryHeroes campaign is an opportunity to celebrate all of the people who make recovery possible," according to the NEDA website.

3/10/17

Living with the "sissy issue" of men's eating disorders

Eating disorders are often misconstrued by the media as being disorders only affecting women however statistics show that 10 million men will be diagnosed with an eating disorder at some point in their life. Eating disorders, like all other mental health disorders do not discriminate against gender. Unfortunately the stigma associated with eating disorders is greater for men then it is for women and as a result not enough awareness is spread on men in relation to this issue. The causes for eating disorders are the same form men as they are for women; past trauma, abuse and low self-esteem. After all, we are all susceptible to the same advertisements, fashion magazines and media images of the "perfect body type." 

"I've seen it with so many families, where they've said 'my son suffers from depression', or 'I couldn't accept that my son has a sissy issue'," she says. "A lack of understanding causes stigma. Eating disorders in men have always been there, we just didn't see them."

3/10/17

The Healing of Therapy Animals in Eating Disorder Recovery

To many people, pets are long time companions who bring joy, purpose and responsibility to their human companions. Studies have shown that dogs and cats have been known to reduce depression, lower blood pressure and increase overall well being in their human counterparts. Equine therapy and other forms of animal therapy have been quintessential in the mental health world and it is no surprise that dogs and other loving animals are considered to help individuals overcome their personal battle with eating disorders. The human-animal bond is one of the purest and loving bonds found in life and animals have the potential to teach us love, patience, kindness and loyalty; common characteristics many people who are battling with an eating disorder struggle to find. 

"That love - love the most desperate dogs showed me at my most desperate times - is the reason I'm alive today. It is also the reason I've partnered with Dr. Annie Petersen to create SoulPaws Recovery Project, offering free animal-assisted therapy to those affected by eating disorders. By creating a free and easily accessible therapeutic community, SoulPaws animal-assisted therapy helps to combat the shame and secrecy so inherent in eating disorders. Our aim is to create a pack of recovery and love that can remind us, particularly on the days when we want to isolate, that we are never alone." 

3/10/17

The Healing of Therapy Animals in Eating Disorder Recovery

To many people, pets are long time companions who bring joy, purpose and responsibility to their human companions. Studies have shown that dogs and cats have been known to reduce depression, lower blood pressure and increase overall well being in their human counterparts. Equine therapy and other forms of animal therapy have been quintessential in the mental health world and it is no surprise that dogs and other loving animals are considered to help individuals overcome their personal battle with eating disorders. The human-animal bond is one of the purest and loving bonds found in life and animals have the potential to teach us love, patience, kindness and loyalty; common characteristics many people who are battling with an eating disorder struggle to find. 

"That love - love the most desperate dogs showed me at my most desperate times - is the reason I'm alive today. It is also the reason I've partnered with Dr. Annie Petersen to create SoulPaws Recovery Project, offering free animal-assisted therapy to those affected by eating disorders. By creating a free and easily accessible therapeutic community, SoulPaws animal-assisted therapy helps to combat the shame and secrecy so inherent in eating disorders. Our aim is to create a pack of recovery and love that can remind us, particularly on the days when we want to isolate, that we are never alone." 

We're here to help
Speak with one of our Treatment Consultants

Please wait...

Let's Talk

Please wait...

Take a tour of our Eating Disorder Treatment

Center For Discovery Treatment Centers specializes in treating eating disorders and the co-occurring conditions that are accompanied with them, with unique treatment programs for every individual to get them on their way to eating disorder recovery.

For more information, resources, or to consult with an eating disorder treatment specialist, call 866.482.3876

Center For Discovery