In my own recovery journey I’ve encountered people in varying stages of remission from their eating disorders. One conversation has stayed in my memory and made me think about whether or not full recovery is possible. In speaking with this particular person, she disclosed that she’d visited her doctor recently and was told to expect her eating disorder to be a lifelong struggle. When she heard this, she felt defeated. She thought she had come so far already; this statement by the doctor made her feel all the efforts at recovery were in vain. Continue reading
At some point in their lives, 20 million women and 10 million men in the United States will struggle with an eating disorder. These life-threatening illnesses are difficult to treat and the physical and emotional toll is high. Obviously, early intervention and appropriate treatment is essential for lasting recovery. As the prevalence of eating disorders increases, we learn more and more about these potentially deadly illnesses. Despite the clinical evidence outlining the psychological and physical impacts, treatment can be difficult and expensive to obtain even with insurance coverage. Ongoing research funding for eating disorders is also lacking. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has allocated $1.20 in research funding per eating disorder patient as opposed to $159 per patient for schizophrenia research.
Negative body image can be one of the initial triggers for an eating disorder and one of the most difficult symptoms to overcome in recovery. Body image encompasses how we see ourselves both in the mirror and in our minds. A distorted body image makes us see things that aren’t actually there, and also cause feelings of depression and isolation….and this can be one of the major catalysts that perpetuates eating disordered behavior. In recovery we work on overcoming behaviors, trauma, depression, anxiety, and try to normalize eating patterns. But body image tends to be the one thing that hangs on long after recovery has begun. It takes continual effort to arrive at body acceptance but it is possible! Here are some tips for overcoming negative body image and thriving in your new, recovered life.
Traveling with an eating disorder can be a monumental undertaking. The beauty about vacations is that they are meant to be fun and they also provide an opportunity to explore new cultures, people, and foods. The isolating, rigid nature of an eating disorder casts a shadow on what can be a life-changing experience. It is possible to travel with your eating disorder and still get the most from your vacation. The key is to know your limits and plan ahead so you feel supported and secure. Read on to learn about traveling with an eating disorder planning ahead is the best course of action.
We think of eating disorders as an adolescent’s illness, something that develops during the turbulent transitions of young lives. Unfortunately, instances of young children with eating disorders are on the rise. According to CNN, research by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that eating disorders in children under age 12 rose by 119% between 1999 and 2006.
People with eating disorders tend to be high-achieving. This is due in part to a perfectionistic trait that becomes very prevalent as an eating disorder develops. A child with near-perfect grades may crumble into distress at the very sight of a “B” on a report card. An adult may work himself into the ground, only to find that the endless pursuit of perfection in body and in the workplace is leading to serious health consequences. What is the connection between eating disorders and the perfectionist?
It’s That Time of the Year: Trick or Treat The Holiday Season is Upon Us!
Fall has officially arrived, and with it balmy days, chilly nights, sweaters, lovely foliage, and…Halloween. The popular October holiday is legendary fun for children and adults with trick or treating and costume parties the highlights of the day. It is also a holiday that is “food-centric.” Candy and treats abound, with children bringing their treats home after a night out in the neighborhood visiting neighbors for candy. Halloween also kicks off the fall/winter holiday season full of days that bring family and food together. For people with eating disorders, this can be a scary, isolating time. But it doesn’t have to be! Read on for tips to survive Halloween!
A New Study Highlights the Role Habit Plays in Anorexia
Anorexia is a notoriously difficult illness to treat, with sufferers considered to have extraordinary willpower to control their need for food. Recently, a new study has been published suggesting that anorexia may be a habitual behavior sparked by brain functions that originate in the dorsal striatum.
This new study, published in Nature Neuroscience, found that the dorsal striatum, an area of the brain that is a major player in decision-making and habit learning, showed increased activity when participants were asked to make food choices. According to the Washington Post, this is the same area of the brain found in previous studies to play a part in drug addiction.
Yoga and Eating Disorders Finding Peace in Recovery
Yoga is incredibly popular for its holistic benefits. Connecting mind, body, and spirit, yoga fosters peace and self-acceptance. For those in recovery from an eating disorder, a yoga practice can help improve body image and encourage a nonjudgmental space for healing. According to Yoga Journal, over half of inpatient eating disorder treatment centers in the United States incorporate yoga into their programming. In moderation and as part of a healthy recovery plan, yoga can strengthen the body and provide an outlet for stress.
Eating Disorders in Midlife: Not Just a Young Person’s Illness
What does the face of an eating disorder look like? Is it a young teenage girl struggling with body image? A college athlete trying to lose weight for a meet? The truth is, an eating disorder can strike anyone at any age. Midlife eating disorders are on the rise in both women and men, and the triggers are not just related to appearance and weight.
According to the National Eating Disorders Association , 43 million adult women in the United States are dieting to lose weight. Even among women aged 61 to 92, weight was identified as their most significant concern about their bodies. One-third of inpatient eating disorder admissions in 2003 were over 30 years old. These are alarming statistics that lay to rest any misconception that eating disorders are an adolescent illness.