Monday, February 15, 2010

February is Eating Disorder Awareness Month

Canada, The United Kingdom and The United States use the month of February to bring awareness to Eating Disorders.

Generally, eating disorders involve self-critical, negative thoughts and feelings about body weight and food, and eating habits that disrupts normal body function, and daily life activities.

What causes eating disorders is not entirely clear, though a combination of psychological, genetic, social and family factors are thought to contribute to the disorder.

Types of Eating Disorders

Anorexia Nervosa~ Essentially self-starvation, this disorder involves a refusal to maintain a minimally normal body weight. In severe cases, anorexia can be life-threatening

Bulimia Nervosa ~ This involves repeated episodes of binge eating, followed by ways of trying to purge the food from the body or prevent expected weight gain. People can have this condition and be of normal weight.

Binge-eating Disorder~ This is characterized by frequent episodes of overeating without purging.

Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) ~ A range of other disordered eating patterns don’t fit into the other types of eating disorders. These eating patterns are still serious, and intervention and attention are necessary.

Left unattended, eating disorders can lead to serious health problems or even death.

Orbanic, S. (2010). What Every Therapist Needs to Know About Treating Eating & Weight Issues Eating Disorders, 18 (1), 78-79 DOI: 10.1080/10640260903439581


Awake In Rochester said...

I think that Mrs. Obama is wrong to target obesity in children. It is just one of many eating disorders. Also in being against it she is drawing to much negative attention on to heavy children. After all children can be mean to other children due to the differences. I think the focus of her campaign should have been health, not focusing on one minority group.

Dreaming again said...

I totally agree Awake ... it's frightening the prospect of 8 year olds who are listening to her, see the normal 'baby fat' and desperatey try to do something about it. Anorexia is THE single most deadly psychiatric disorder. (this includes binge eating disorder..which is..what they are targeting!!)

I know exactly how I would have reacted ... I'd probably have started my eating disorder at 8 or 10 instead of 14 ...

It's incredible that there is not an outcry from psychologists and psychiatrist about the increased risk for bullying, eating disorders, unhealthy coping mechanisms that are going to arise from Mrs. Obama's (and many others) war on obesity.

Fiona Place said...

I think Ms Obama is right to tackle obesity however the focus must be on the cause - the high sugar intake most children have. As well there needs to be a revisiting of the low fat high carb diet which is promoted as healthy - as it is in fact the same as a high sugar diet in its effects. As others have said focussing on the overweight person will simply backfire and create other problems.

Anonymous said...

Totally off topic, but I saw your tweet about the Shedler article. Psychodynamic therapy may be a helpful intervention for some people in some circumstances, but it's worth looking his article more closely to see how "rock-solid" the science is. &

Dr. Deb said...

The science is rock solid. Nothing like a meta analysis to help shed light.

PTC said...

I always feel like EDNOS is not a "real" disorder. I can see it as being really/serious in others, and that they need some sort of help, but in myself (not really sure if that's what I'm considered or not), I don't see it as being a big problem. Then again, I don't really believe it when my T calls me "anorexic."

Rose said...

We have to educate children early about being overweight, eating proper nutritional portions and exercising. Kids today are eating the wrong things, sitting back watching tv and playing too many tv games when they need to be out playing, jumping and running. This way that won't have to deal with issues like these listed disorders.

Lynn said...

Hi, PTC.

If you want to check your body mass index to make sure you are not below the minimum healthy mass, you can go here:

It's a good way for people to check to see if they are obese as well. I used this tool to set a minimum weight for myself and if I get too close to the light end of the chart, then I know I need to address my recent eating habits.

For anyone with a similar problem, it helped me more to focus on the nutritional content of my food instead of the amount. It was in this way that I found my way to believing that I deserved good nutrition and that food could help me instead of harm me. Of course, with issues like these at the root for me, it took more than watching a scale to get to a good weight. I can't stress that enough.

Hi, Deb!

Anonymous said...

i know a few dudes who have something like this.


Dr. Deb said...

BMI is better than looking at the number on the scale, but it still doesn't take into effect individual differences in bone structure and brain size, I say!

And yes, jeremy, Eating Disorders are prominent for women, but men do struggle with this as well.

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything against psychodynamic therapy, but the quality of any meta analysis is limited by the soundness of the included studies. It's always a good idea to look at source material rather than accepting conclusions uncritically. This is especially true in the case of Shedler's article.

PTC said...

Thanks Lynn!

I'm with you on BMI, Dr. Deb. It doesn't take into consideration muscle mass. You can have 2 men who are the same height and the same weight, but one might have a body fat % of 8% and one of 38% and they would have the same BMI. Not a good measuring tool, in my eyes.

tracy said...

My Psych/therapist has me diagnosed as "EDNODS" (Ed Knows!), because i don't eat during the day, then if/when i binge at night, he doesn't think the binges are large enough.....whatever the means i use to try to "get rid of" the food.
Hummmmmm... i'm not "officially" over weight, but i beg to differ...!