Friday November 29, 2013
I have recently added a category entitled 'personal stories.' I am looking forward to adding profiles of celebrities and reviews of eating disorder memoirs over the coming months. However, I also want to include the stories of real-life people who are struggling with eating disorders and are in recovery from readers (that means you!)
Please consider sharing your recovery story. If you don't see a question or topic that you are interested in writing about now, please keep an eye out as others will be added. You are also welcome to suggest topics to me at email@example.com. You are also welcome to share about yourself or discuss topics related to eating disorders and recovery in the forum.
As you write, please remember that all submissions are edited for content prior to publication. The following link provides guidelines to keep in mind.
Wednesday October 30, 2013
Pressures to conform one's body to the 'thin ideal' are extremely prevalent in our society today - so much so that it is considered somewhat 'normal' to be unsatisfied and critical of one's body.
In an effort to find out what fights against negative body mage and self-objectification, researchers at San Jose State University in California, interviewed adult women who practice yoga on a regular basis. Out of all of the participants, 74% reported that at some point in their lives they had struggled with their weight or with negative body image. Interestingly, 75% of participants reported that their body acceptance and appreciation increased after developing a yoga practice.
Not only did these women report increased body acceptance, but they also reported that they attribute positive feelings and a feeling of well-being to their yoga practice. They also expressed "greater connection to themselves, to others, and to their notion of the divine" and were more likely to practice intuitive eating. The researchers concluded that yoga seems to have helped these women by improving physical and emotional awareness and providing a method for grounding and introspection or meditation.
Do you practice yoga as part of your recovery? What has been your experience?
Dittman, K.A. & Freedman, M.R. (2009). Body awareness, eating attitudes, and spiritual beliefs of women practicing yoga. Eating Disorders, 17. 273-292.
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Monday September 30, 2013
As more and more of our lives and businesses are conducted online, the mental health world is no different. Many therapists have looked into providing services online, whether it be through video-conferencing or e-mail. Other providers have designed online based treatment programs and self-help software for various issues as well. Online and computer-based treatment options have many benefits such as being cost effective and anonymous, but, are these treatment options actually effective?
A recent review of the literature by researchers in the Netherlands examined twenty-one different studies that looked at the efficacy of internet-based treatments on eating disorder symptoms. Although the majority of the studies did show improvement in symptoms, the results were truly mixed. For example, the most improvement was seen in people suffering from binge eating and purging symptoms with little improvement seen in people struggling with restrictive eating symptoms. And, as might be expected, the most improvement was seen in people with the fewest and least severe eating disorder symptoms as well as those without any other types co-occurring issues.
One of the major limitations of this research is that all of the studies compared internet-based treatment options to people who were on a waiting list for treatment (not currently receiving treatment) rather comparing them than to traditional face-to-face therapy. The authors did note that there is currently a study being done to compare internet-based treatment with face-to-face cognitive behavioral therapy so hopefully more information on these types of treatments will be forthcoming in the future.
In short, while internet-based treatment may be helpful for a select few people who have few symptoms and are extremely self-motivated, it's probably not for everyone (or even most people). It may also be important for treatment providers to work the kinks out of any current internet-based programs to see how they can be made more helpful.
Do you have any experience with internet-based therapy, either as a primary form of treatment or as an adjunct to traditional therapies?
Aardoom, J.J., Dingemans, A.E., Spinhoven, P., &Van Furth, E.F. (2013). Treating eating disorders over the internet: A systematic review and future research directions. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46(6). 539-552.
Tuesday August 27, 2013
Researchers, clinicians, and sufferers are often interested in finding out what leads to eating disorders, what causes them, and how we can predict them (if at all). A recent research study done in Norway and published by the Journal of Eating Disorders sought to do just that.
Researchers used results from a 15-year-long longitudinal community study to investigate risk factors from early childhood (before age 5) for adolescent eating problems. The study began with 921 mothers completing questionnaires regarding their 1 ½ year old child. 784 mothers completed questionnaires at age 2 ½ and 737 at age 4 ½. When the children were 16 years old, 373 mothers also completed a questionnaire about eating problems called the Eating Attitudes Test.
The study looked at several possible risk factors from early childhood including picky eating in early childhood, sleep problems, internalizing problems, shyness, and emotionality. Interestingly, the only risk factor that was associated with the development of eating problems in adolescence was early childhood sleep problems.
Although this does not mean that sleep problems cause eating disorders, it may mean that there is some type of psychological or biological problem that results in both sleep problems in early childhood and eating problems in adolescence. However, given that this is the only study to show a such a correlation, the results must be duplicated before anyone begins to worry about a sleepless two-year-old developing an eating disorder at age 16.
Interestingly, picky eating in early childhood was not correlated with the development of eating disorders late in life (much to the relief of toddler parents everywhere).
If you have a child with an eating disorder, did they suffer from sleep problems as a toddler? Do you think this study's findings have enough merit to be followed up on?
Hafstad, G.S., von Soest, T., Torgersen, L. (2013). Early childhood precursors for eating problems in adolescence: A 15-year longitudinal community study. Journal of Eating Disorders, 1(35).