I have to admit, when I was first introduced to the concept of orthorexia, a condition characterized by an obsession with healthy eating and food quality, I thought, I definitely know some people who have this. From my mom who has rotated between every kind of alternative milk known to man (she's currently on flax milk), to my vegan friend who gives me a 30-minute rant on chard at least twice a week, health-conscious individuals who seem to fit the characteristics of this disease are everywhere. Point being: many people in this day and age are extremely conscious of what they put in their bodies, but as I quickly learned, it takes much more than a strong interest in healthy eating to classify someone as having orthorexia. So what is the difference between people with healthy habits and people who cross over into orthorexia?
Articles tagged with: Research
Personality traits are often studied in reference to eating disorders in an attempt to better understand the illness and its causes. Two traits that have received a great deal of attention in people with anorexia are impulsivity and compulsivity.
People often think "Eating disorders are a woman's disease." This myth is constantly reinforced by character portrayals on television, targeted advertisements, and even studies and articles that draw from exclusively female samples. The sad reality is that eating disorders affect any and all genders, and those who do not identify as female may even suffer more with the very diagnosis of their disease due to the stereotype that eating disorders are feminine. Therefore, although eating disorders affect each individual differently, it is important to consider one's gender identification in order to increase efficacy for prevention, detection, and treatment of the disease.
The tween years (ages 8 to 14) are often plagued with acne, social anxiety, and desperate cries for independence. Although this life stage is disregarded in many psychological contexts, it's actually vital in the development of identity and reasoning capabilities. The exposure to social messages and expectations during the 'tween-age' years can set the mold for the rest of a person’s life. And considering tweens spend a lot of their time in front of screens—research shows that tweens spend 4.5 hours a day watching TV (and that's to say nothing of time spent online)—it’s important examine the messages that kids in this impressionable age group are consuming.
Research has demonstrated that ADHD shares many common symptoms with bingeing/purging eating disorders, such as impulsivity, hyperactivity, and attention deficit. While research detailing the relationship between ADHD and eating disorders is scarce, previous studies have indicated that children with ADHD are more likely to exhibit abnormal eating behaviors than children without ADHD, and that individuals with ADHD are three times more likely to develop an eating disorder than individuals without ADHD. Therefore, a diagnosis of ADHD is a crucial component to consider in eating disorder treatment, as many of the symptoms that accompany this attention deficit disorder may exacerbate or prompt disordered eating.
Massachusetts General Hospital’s Neuroendocrine Unit is seeking young women with Anorexia Nervosa for a bone density study.
Many previous studies have attempted to decipher how women perceive the disordered eating behaviors of other women. However, previous researchers have not extensively examined how young women perceive their own eating pathologies. Among college-aged women, eating disorders are extremely prevalent, but many of these individuals attribute their disordered eating to the normal stress of college. Of the very small percentage of women who do seek treatment, an even smaller percentage seek help specifically for an eating disorder. This lack of self-identification is deeply problematic because timely identification and treatment of an eating disorder is essential for maximizing the chances of a successful recovery.
We previously discussed research on "fitspiration" and the association between disordered eating and social media use, which suggests there is a relationship between social media and eating disorder behaviors. In a similar line of inquiry, a recent study looked specifically at fitness trackers (those trendy apps people use to record things like steps, calories, and heart rate) and eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.
We are excited to offer several free CEU events this spring and summer that will cover topics including basic signs and symptoms of eating disorders, new treatment techniques, and research updates.
Previous research suggests early response to eating disorder treatment predicts better outcomes, both at the end of treatment and at follow-up appointments. What do we mean by “early response”? The definition varies, but a recent research study exploring the time sensitivity of eating disorder treatment response defines early response as “a clinically meaningful improvement in behavioral symptoms within the first weeks of treatment.”
An individual’s level of reward and punishment sensitivity are believed to influence binge eating and compensatory behaviors.
Although anorexia and bulimia (BN) have high rates of suicidal ideation and behavior, the link has not been studied extensively in individuals struggling with binge eating disorder (BED).
A recent study suggests that pre-teens who develop eating disorder symptoms may exhibit risk factors as younger children. Over the course of the six-year longitudinal study, researchers collected data on eating disorder symptoms, feelings of depression, and body satisfaction at ages seven, nine, and 12.
Recent research has focused on how impaired social cognition might play a role in the development and persistence of anorexia nervosa (AN). (“Social cognition” refers to the thought processes that underlie social interaction, allowing people to empathize, decode others’ thoughts and emotions, and appropriately shape their own behavior in social situations.)
Katrina Hoch, Ph.D., M.S., R.D., C.D., Registered Dietitian at The Emily Program
Promoting body acceptance and weight diversity can be helpful not only for supporting recovery from eating disorders, but also for reducing the risk of emotional problems for all teens. In a study published in September in the Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, Jaana Juvonen and colleagues found that perception of weight-based peer discrimination in middle school contributed more than BMI to emotional problems. They also found that the effect of BMI itself on emotional problems in middle school is indirect, as it is mediated by peer mistreatment.