Anorexia and Bulimia may be Caused by Altered Brain Pathways

Image ProblemsA study from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has found a possible link between altered neural circuitry and anorexia and bulimia. The findings suggest that the altered wiring in the brain may contribute to the restrictive eating habits in people with eating disorders.

This new information could help scientists design new and better methods for treating eating disorders.

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Meditation May Help Improve Body Image of Those With Eating Disorders

Meditation and Body ImageFor many, analysing how we view our mind and body is not a consideration or common thought. It is often an instinctive, unconsidered element of our lives and study of it does not seem relative or immediately useful. That said, many in the west are turning to practices such as meditation and analysis of their opinions of their mind and body in order to help improve their quality of life. The topic of the ego and how we view our thoughts as well as our bodies is becoming an increasingly popular subject, with many meditation retreats and coaching services spreading across the western world.

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Suicide risk linked to extreme exercise in bulimic individuals

Exercise and BulimiaA study recently performed in the U.S. state of Ohio, has discovered a potential link between instances of extreme levels of exercise and suicide in bulimia sufferers. This shocking correlation sheds light on a new possible symptom that may be an indicator of extreme mental issues related to the disorder.

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Number of Teens Suffering from Eating Disorders Continues to Rise

b2ap3_thumbnail_childhood-obesity-family-health.jpgA London led study has confirmed an alarming concern; the numbers of teenagers afflicted with an eating disorder of some form is increasing. The results of this study as more scientific and media attention is focused on the problem of body understanding and confidence.

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Can Virtual Reality Be Used To Treat Eating Disorders?

b2ap3_thumbnail_virtual-reality.jpgResearch conducted in Spain has highlighted the possibility of virtual reality computer programs as a means to help educate individuals suffering from eating disorders.

The study was based around several different scenarios created electronically. The subject of body image disturbance is a significant indicator of possible eating disorders, with individuals suffering from, for instance, bulimia or binge eating viewing their bodies as smaller or larger than reality, respectively. The idea of employing technology in the form of computer programs was first analyzed in 2003, with the recent Canada based follow-up shedding new light on the possibilities of this type of support.

In one of the scenarios created for the purpose of the study, participants were tasked with adjusting the proportions of a computerized body until they felt it matched their own physical bodies. This allowed for clear and immediate indication of an individual being out of touch with their true physical size.

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Gluten-free Dieters Could Be Hiding An Eating Disorder

Anorexia BrainMedical experts have raised concern that individuals following a gluten-free diet may be using this method to disguise the fact they are suffering from an eating disorder.

According to the Daily Beast, some doctors are growing worried that many image-conscious members of the public are diagnosing themselves with a gluten allergy in order to give themselves a socially acceptable way to shed the pounds.

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Scientists Test Brain Implant for Anorexia

b2ap3_thumbnail_EDNOS.jpgMany people who are diagnosed with anorexia nervosa are led to believe that the mental illness has developed due to emotional problems that have manifested in an obsession with losing weight.

However, this outlook could all be about to change, potentially bringing about new and innovative methods of treatment, after scientists in Canada suggested the use of a brain implant to help those living with the condition.

Researchers have raised the question that deep stimulation in the brain could provide relief for individuals who are suffering from anorexia nervosa.

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Former male anorexia sufferer becomes internet hit

A former anorexia nervosa patient who opened up about his battles with an eating disorder in front of a video camera has become an internet sensation. Simon Metin - a student from King's College, Cambridge - has created a series of blogs that aim to help young men who are going through similar problems seek help for their condition.

The 20-year-old, who has now fully recovered from his battle with food, said he was just 13 when his obsession with dieting began after realising his intake was one of the only things he could control. He admitted he had never heard of anorexia at the time, but would focus on not being able to pinch any excess fat on his body. However, Simon claimed that when he looked in the mirror he would see someone who was getting bigger, not smaller. This is why within just six months, the young male had become anorexic - throwing his lunch in the bin at school and telling his parents - nurse Fay and Turkish-born businessman Yuksel - that he had eaten dinner at a friend's house. "My parents begged, cajoled, pleaded and shouted at me to eat," he said. "But by now I'd memorised the calorie count of every food and allowed myself 200 calories a day." At his worst, Simon weighed just four stone and was told by doctors he had just one month to live. However, the young man - whose battle with eating disorders was first highlighted in 2007 BBC documentary I'm A Boy Anorexic - is now committed to raising awareness of the illness in men. Simon said: "Cambridge gave me a completely fresh start. I've stopped counting calories and these days hardly ever even weigh myself." "While people are aware of anorexia in women, with men it seems to be taboo. I can only hope telling my story can help change that."

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Eating disorders can be misunderstood

A common misconception regarding the reasons why people develop anorexia nervosa and bulimia during their life could be stopping some individuals from seeking the right treatment and their families from noticing the potentially life-threatening issue. The common belief upon discovering someone has an eating disorder is that they are attempting to become as skinny as possible in order to compete with models and actresses who fill the pages of tabloid newspapers.

Although this may be true in some cases, it is this stereotype that could result in thousands of sufferers hiding their issues with food from friends and family members for even longer, making it more difficult to resolve. When reading more deeply into the causes of eating disorders, it is easy to see that the mental illnesses are usually considered to be about control and perfectionism, which are traits a high number of patients are attempting to gain. Georgina Routen, 20, from Northamptonshire is one of many young women whose obsession with getting a handle on her everyday life resulted in her weight plummeting to dangerous levels and requiring professional treatment. Speaking to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, the young lady - who was affected by anorexia from the age of 14 - said it was not until she sought help from the Beat charity that she realised she was not alone. She said: "I was always a perfectionist … And that seems to be a trait that many people who have eating disorders have. I felt subconsiously that I wasn’t good enough compared to the people around me. Now I realise it was twisted, but I felt I could be good at being really thin." Ms Routen revealed to the newspaper what started out as a desire to consume five portions of fruit and vegetables every day soon spiralled out of control and resulted in her performing certain tasks at particular times of day in order to maintain a regimented lifestyle. Now a young ambassador for the eating disorder charity, the former patient said there is often a belief that developing anorexia and bulimia is about looking a certain way. She added: "It definitely crept up on me, it wasn’t, to begin with, about looking thin, I wasn’t even on a diet. I did not need to lose weight, I had a slender build anyway. It was just about being in control." While there are many potential causes that can trigger the start of an eating disorder, there is little to determine exactly why some individuals are affected and others are not - but many experts argue a particular event in a person's life can represent the starting point. BBC Health notes that while there is limited evidence to suggest the illnesses can run in families, it is unclear whether or not those who are raised around someone with anorexia nervosa or bulimia are more likely to develop the conditions themselves. Other factors that are thought to contribute to the start of an eating disorder could include anxiety for some control, a distorted body image, low self-esteem and an expression of deep emotions such as depression that a person struggles to communicate into words.

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More older women living with bulimia

The secretive nature of eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia nervosa means the problems can be extremely difficult to identify, leaving those living with the disease to suffer in silence as their symptoms go unnoticed.

And while the common belief among many individuals is that the mental illnesses are primarily endured by teenage girls who develop an obsession with their food intake in an attempt to be as skinny as possible, a more shocking picture is actually the reality. Clinics that treat patients suffering from anorexia nervosa and bulimia have reported a significant rise in the number of older women seeking professional help for eating disorders. In fact, some 78 per cent of deaths from anorexia occur in women over the age of 50 - which somewhat challenges the stereotype. Many older women develop the conditions after experiencing some kind of trauma or stress in later life, such as a divorce or the loss of a loved one, while others have managed to battle the problem in secret. For this reason, it is important for individuals to increase their knowledge on the symptoms of bulimia - which is usually more difficult to spot - if they are worried about a family member who seems to have been acting unusually in recent months. Among the main telltale signs of bulimia is binge eating, which involves consuming vast quantities of calorific food without having felt hungry or needing to eat, as this can often be carried out as an attempt to deal with emotional problems. The process of binge eating, which can quickly become obsessive, extremely quick and can make individuals feel extremely uncomfortable afterwards. While the majority of people are guilty of overindulging on their favourite desserts or a takeaway meal, those suffering from bulimia do so on a regular basis. Purging, which is another symptom of bulimia, usually comes as a response to binging and involves the emotional feelings of guilt, regret and self-hatred. However, the main impulse in this situation is the fear of gaining weight. Some people purge by making themselves sick or taking laxatives to encourage their body to pass the food quickly, while others take diet pills, carry out extreme exercise or endure periods of starvation to keep the weight off. And new mother Sara from Lanarkshire, who spoke openly about her fight with eating disorders to the Scottish Daily Record, admitted that every day is a battle to control the illness that once nearly killed her. She said: "Older people may have an added burden of feeling they’re somehow to blame for the condition, making it harder for them to seek or accept treatment, even though they were probably always disposed to developing an eating disorder. "We are aware that increasing numbers of mature women are seeking help for their eating disorder. "Successful older women, in their 40s and 50s, are given a higher media profile these days and become aspirational role models - this can affect some people who are particularly vulnerable because they are so driven to be perfect."

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Dieting can nurture an eating disorder gene, says expert

dieting may trigger genetic predispositions to eating disorders.
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Take the first step to recovery by understanding risks of eating disorders

disordered eatingThe risks and reasons behind eating disorders.One of the first steps in recovering from an eating disorder, such as anorexia or bulimia, is recognising you have a problem.

This can be difficult to admit to yourself as eating disorders are often about taking control of life through your weight.

Often teamed with feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety and the pressure to be thin like your favourite slim celebrity, eating disorders are hard to overcome without help.

Understanding the risks of eating disorders could help you take the first step to recovery, which is asking for aid.

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Vegetarianism Linked to Eating Disorders in Women and Teens

Vegetarianism may be a signs of an eating disorder according to a new study.
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How the Brain Influences Eating Disorders

eating disorder and the brainThe prevalence of eating disorders in western society is growing. Disorders such as anorexia and compulsive overeating are very damaging to both mental and physical health. New studies are beginning to shine some light on how the brains of those with eating disorders react differently to food in comparison to healthy individuals.One does not need to be a genius to know that eating is a vital component to survival. We all consume food every day; although some in healthier manner than others. On the list of important day-to-day activities, the intake of food places just behind breathing and drinking water. To many of us, the processes just outlined are an obvious part of our lives to which we hardly give a second thought.

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Binge Eating Affects Men the Same as Women

Much like depression, eating disorders appear to affect women more so than men. This viewpoint has been challeneged recently as experts have published more studies. Men tend to suffer from eating disorders as much as women, but do not admit their problems to others as readily.The well-known eating disorders anorexia and bulimia are more common in women than men. Compulsive eating disorder is different, affecting a similar percentage of both sexes, yet men often suffer in silence rather than seek professional eating disorder treatment. It has also been suggested that society is more accepting of overeating and obesity in men, viewing large fatty meals and weight gain as relatively “normal” for adult males. Men suffering from a compulsive eating disorder are therefore less likely than women to be the subject of an intervention by doctors, friends, or relatives.

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Overeating and the Brain

While binge eating leads to a number of overt physical problems, the psychological component of this disorder can be far more complex, and equally as dangerous. Proper treatment requires focusing on both the psychological and physical issues in order to bring about a full recovery.

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Men Suffer From Eating Disorders Too

Despite the common misconception, many men struggle with body image issues which in some cases can lead to damaging eating disorders. A number of factors can influence this problem, such as societal norms, advertising and career choice to name a few. The increasing awareness of male eating disorders is welcome progress.

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Adolescents and Eating Disorders

Being told you are too fat or too skinny could trigger an eating disorderSeptember marks the month when thousands of young people embark on, what will often be their final leg of their educational journey. Universities across England will be welcoming hopeful undergraduate students, many of whom will be living away from home for the first time. This transition may feel like a welcome change and for many this life stage will be remembered as one of the happiest in their lives. For some, however, this will come to mark the beginning of a life-long battle. Research shows that eating disorders flourish in the college/university environment, - in fact the onset for eating disorders typically happen around this time if not before. But what are the reasons for this and what are some of the things that family and friends can do in order to prevent your loved one from developing an eating disorder?

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Eating Disorder Recovery is not Perfect

recovery from an eating disorder may not always be a smooth processRelapses are quite common in eating disorder recovery and while they can easily derail an otherwise great effort to get better, it might be useful to view them as learning opportunities. According to eating disorder expert and psychologist, Sarah K. Ravin, many recovered persons are convinced they will not relapse because they no longer have a drive for thinness or a desire to relapse. While this is an understandable logic, according to Professor Ravin, eating disorders are not rational disorders. The very thing that may have sparked the disorder in the initial stages, such as dieting, might not be what triggers a relapse. It is possible to relapse unintentionally.

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Infertility and eating disorders

difficulty conceiving for women with a history of an eating disorderIt is perhaps not surprising that women who are or have a history of an eating disorder, are likely to face difficulty conceiving. Eating disorders have long been associated with infertility, due to the drastic weight changes and hormonal imbalances associated with the disorder. Researchers from King’s College and the University College London have examined data from surveys of more than 11.000 pregnant women, including about 500 with a history of Anorexia, Bulimia or both conditions. This is the largest study of its kind in the UK and findings show that not only did women with a current or history of an eating disorder have more fertility problems, but they are also subject to higher incidences of unplanned pregnancies along with negative feelings about having a child. It is therefore important that these women are offered extra support during the antenatal stage.

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