Posts Tagged ‘Anorexia’

Eating Disorders and Substance Use Disorders Comorbidity

Medication

Many individuals with eating disorders also struggle with alcohol and drugs. In fact, about half of all individuals diagnosed with an eating disorder also have a substance use disorder. Let’s take a look at the nature of both eating disorders and substance use disorders so we can examine their relationship and how to best treat these disorders when they co-occur.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are real, complex illnesses that are affected by biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors in an individual’s life. Eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in eating or food behaviors and are often accompanied by negative body image. Eating disorders often co-occur with other mental health disorders such as substance use, anxiety, or depression. Eating disorders are categorized in the DSM-5 as follows:

Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia revolves around the restriction of food intake and an obsession with body weight, size, or shape. It is the most fatal of all mental illnesses. Warning signs in preteens and teens may include a refusal to maintain an age-appropriate weight, body dysmorphia, over-exercising, and restrictive behavior around food.

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I Am

Erica Barreiro

**Content warning: some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, or symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your therapist or support system when needed.

Erica Barreiro is currently in her sophomore year of college at Kent State University studying Nursing. She loves to read, go hiking, and spend time with her family. Most of all, she likes helping people anytime she can! 

I am sixteen and sad. My dad takes me to get my first debit card and I just received my driver license. It is summer, the days are warm and long, and sunshine should be in my veins, however I am numb. I am sixteen and I took a sandwich to my bedroom to put it deep beneath my trash. I am sixteen and I have lost count of the days where food used to be a priority. I am sixteen when I found a more destructive way to try and solve my pain. Maybe I was trying to put the sunshine into my veins… I was sixteen when my dad found out, when I cried and screamed, “I can’t eat, I burned myself”. I was sixteen when he sat me down “to figure it out.” I was sixteen when he made me three scrambled eggs to remind myself food is of essence. I was sixteen when he told me to “be strong,” to “face my problems head on,” and most of all to “move on.” “Don’t worry your mother, she works a lot.” I was sixteen when my eating disorder most likely started.

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Episode 8: The Neurobiology of Eating Disorders

Brain Neurons

Episode description:

The Emily Program’s Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Jillian Lampert joins Peace Meal this week to discuss eating disorders and the brain. Dr. Lampert educates listeners on the two experiences of eating and how they play into each type of eating disorder. We wrap up the episode by comparing the brains of those with eating disorders to the brains of individuals who are unaffected by the illnesses.  

Episode show notes:

Dr. Jillian Lampert is The Emily Program’s Chief Strategy Officer and the co-founder of the Residential Eating Disorders Consortium. Dr. Lampert has a Master’s degree in nutrition and a Doctorate degree in nutrition and epidemiology. In addition to this, she is also the author of numerous book chapters and articles discussing eating disorders and she regularly speaks nationally about eating disorder related topics.

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A Tale of Two Cheeseburgers

Cheeseburger

For the past few months, I have been fortunate to sit in as the dietitian for a meal support group at The Emily Program. In this group, clients of all eating disorder diagnoses and levels of recovery bring in their own meal to eat. During this shared meal, clients use the support of trained staff and other group members to work through and process their own food issues.

At a recent group, it just so happened two group members brought in cheeseburgers for their meal.

At check-in prior to the meal, one participant made the observation that she felt hungrier at this meal because the aroma of the cheeseburger she was bringing filled the car on her way over. Her goal was to eat mindfully and stop when she noticed she was feeling physical fullness. She found that this goal was challenged by her heightened “hunger” and desire to eat due to the exposure to the food aroma.

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