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Posts Tagged “Education”

January 25, 2024

Understanding the Connection Between Eating Disorders & Body Dysmorphic Disorder

You look in the mirror for what feels like all hours of the day. You cannot stop fixating on your perceived “flaws,” frequently examining your face for blemishes and picking at your skin to try to make it look “smooth.” These near-constant thoughts about your appearance are taking over your life, affecting your relationships, passions, school, and work. 

You may be experiencing more than commonplace appearance insecurities. Symptoms like yours could indicate an eating disorder, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or both. There are ways in which BDD and eating disorders overlap, but they are two distinct mental health conditions. 

December 21, 2023

5 Signs Your Patient May Be at Risk of an Eating Disorder Relapse

It’s arduous work to unlearn the negative self-beliefs and destructive patterns of an eating disorder. Even with robust, specialized treatment, a caring support system, and a firm personal commitment to recovery, many individuals will encounter lapses or relapse as they recover.

Eating disorders are highly recurrent by nature, meaning that relapse can be a normal part of the recovery process. Longitudinal cohort and treatment follow-up studies estimate that 20% to 50% of those with eating disorders will relapse. The risk of relapse is exceptionally high in individuals who are recovering from anorexia nervosa, especially those within the first year of their discharge from treatment.

Given the significant rates of relapse and their associated burdens—cognitive, emotional, social, financial, and physical/medical—effective relapse monitoring and assessment are vital. As a provider, you are an invaluable ally in helping your patient keep the path of recovery. By being prepared to intervene at the warning signs of a relapse, you can set your patient up for a strong and resilient recovery.

October 26, 2023

The Impact of Eating Disorders on Athletic Performance

The benefits of athletics are well-established. Participating in organized sports can help you build self-esteem, recognize the value of teamwork, set the foundation for a lifelong physical activity practice, improve mental health, promote social connections, open the doorway for scholarships or even a career, and teach important life skills, such as goal-setting and leadership.

However, these positive outcomes come with an important caveat. The pressures of athletic competition and the emphasis many sports place on body weight, shape, and size can contribute to psychological and physical stress. For individuals naturally predisposed to eating disorders, these stressors can be a tipping point into disordered territory.

Athletes frequently experience diminishing returns from disordered habits like restrictive dieting and over-training. Although it can be difficult for an athlete to step away from their sport, pursuing treatment increases their likelihood of safely returning—and can be lifesaving. Coaches, parents, teammates, and providers have a critical role in ensuring athletes are prioritized over the sport. Understanding the risks athletes face is key to providing preventative support.

August 24, 2023

Rethinking Exercise: Joyful Movement Is Possible in Eating Disorder Recovery

In our appearance-obsessed culture, exercise is often portrayed as a means to attain the “perfect” body, rather than a practice that can nourish your mind and body in ways unrelated to weight, shape, or size. As a result, societal pressures often distort the true value and potential benefits of physical activity, leading to unhealthy attitudes and behaviors related to exercise. 

When exercise becomes excessive, compulsive, or compensatory, your relationship with it has likely become disordered. In fact, overexercise is a common symptom in those with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. It can be a challenging process to rebuild a healthy relationship with activity once you’re in recovery. 

Learn how you might shift your mindset toward exercise and begin to embrace mindful movement instead.

July 27, 2023

What Eating Disorder Do I Have? How to Know and How to Treat It

When you imagine someone with an eating disorder, you may picture a young, thin, white teenage girl, but individuals affected with eating disorders don’t fit neatly into this narrow box. 

The truth is that these illnesses affect people of all ages, sizes, sexualities, races, genders, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses. While these complex, biologically based disorders are not uncommon (nearly 30 million Americans experience an eating disorder in their lifetime), there are environmental, social, and psychological factors that contribute to the development of eating disorders.

July 24, 2023

Eating Disorders in College Students

For many people, college is a time of tremendous transition and change. It provides new freedom and responsibility and offers lessons in life far beyond the classroom.

It is a milestone time—and one far too often hijacked by eating disorders.

All types of eating disorders can develop, return, or worsen in young people during their college years. Though these illnesses occur across the lifespan, they are particularly prevalent between the ages of 18 and 21. Research has found that the median age of onset is 18 for anorexia and bulimia and 21 for binge eating disorder, both findings within the age range of the traditional college student.

This article examines eating disorders in college students, including potential risk factors, warning signs, and tools for screening and intervention. Learn what makes college students particularly vulnerable to these complex mental illnesses as well as ways to identify and support those affected by them during college and beyond.

Get help. Find hope.