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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Food and Addiction

Food addiction and what it meansEating Disorders are a serious business, recent research from American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has thrown up some interesting theories. Food addiction isn’t a new phenomenon, we have known for many years that eating or indeed not eating is an addiction many of us fall prey to in our lives. Recent research however has been looking at the similarities in habituation/tolerance to food exposure and substance addiction with some interesting theories to consider.

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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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