Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FREE Registration: NEDAwareness Week 2010 - February 21-27

NEDAwareness Week 2010: February 21-27

Theme: It's Time to Talk About It
Everyone can do...just one thing!

New: FREE Registration, free Educator Packet, Volunteer Speaker List, Activity-of-the-Day Schedule, and Collage Contest! Click here to purchase your kits and materials now.

View the electronic Educator Packet Table of Contents

View the Collage Contest Guidelines. The winning submission will be featured in the NORMAL In Schools Gala Fundraiser! Submission deadline is January 15, 2010.

Click here to view the list of NEDAwareness Week Partner Organizations (in formation). For information on becoming a Partner Organization, email

NEDAwareness Week reaches millions with messages of hope and recovery

The mission of NEDAwareness Week
Our aim of NEDAwareness Week is to ultimately prevent eating disorders and body image issues while reducing the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses — not choices — and it’s important to recognize the pressures, attitudes and behaviors that shape the disorder.

What is NEDAwareness Week?
NEDAwareness Week is a collective effort of primarily volunteers, eating disorder professionals, health care providers, educators, social workers, and individuals committed to raising awareness of the dangers surrounding eating disorders and the need for early intervention and treatment.

How NEDAwareness Week Works
This year, NEDA is calling for everyone to do just one thing to help raise awareness and provide accurate information about eating disorders. NEDAwareness Week participants can choose from a huge range of ways to contribute: Distribute info pamphlets and put up posters, write one letter for Media Watchdogs, register as a Volunteer Speaker or host a Volunteer Speaker, coordinate a NEDA Walk, or arrange interactive and educational activities such as panel discussions, fashion shows, body fairs, movie screenings, art exhibits and more. As an official NEDAwareness Week participant you can be involved in any way that works with your schedule, resources, community, and interests. These events and activities attract public media attention - on local, national and international levels.

NEDAwareness Week Registration and Kits

FAQ for potential NEDAwareness Week participants

Find events & Volunteer Speakers in your area

We NEDAwareness!: Activity-of-the-Day Schedule

Thanks to our 2010 NEDAwareness Week Partners, more people are participating in NEDAwarness Week than ever before!

Our Partners are promoting NEDAwareness Week and encouraging their constituents to commit to doing just one thing! Partner Organizations are offering discounted merchandise, hosting webinars and group art projects, organizing fun events and more!

Platinum Sustaining Sponsors
Rader Programs
Remuda Ranch Programs

Gold Sustaining Sponsors
Rogers Memorial Hospital

Silver Sustaining Sponsors
CRC Health
Park Nicollet Melrose Institute

Steel Sustaining Sponsor
McCallum Place

Copper NEDAwareness Week Sponsors
Center for Eating Disorders at Sheppard Pratt
Laureate Eating Disorders Program

Bronze Sustaining Sponsors
Cambridge Eating Disorder Center
Columbus Park Collaborative
Oliver-Pyatt Centers
Pine Grove Women's Center
The Renfrew Center

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

How to Handle My Eating Disorder in Your Home for the Holidays

From the article:  
"There are cookies and hams and mashed potatoes everywhere at the moment. You may have noticed this. You may be watching what you eat. If you have a teenage girl or young woman at your table over the holidays, she may be watching it more.

"For those of us who have struggled with eating disorders, being home for this season -- the combination of food and family -- is an incredibly fraught scenario. Factor in this year's debate about health care, and it's a potentially terrifying threat to us, to your daughter or sister or cousin. Her eating disorder, which is all about secrecy, is at risk of being exposed in the worst way."

Interesting perspective on ED's and the holidays.  One of the biggest mistakes family members can make is to criticize the food choices of people who are just starting to eat normally again.  I remember eating ice cream out of the carton on night after I came home from treatment for the first time, and my mother telling me I "shouldn't eat like that."  It took a long time for her to realize that food = medicine.

My Favorite ED Recovery Related Blogs

Since the year is coming to a close, I thought I'd provide you all with links to my top 5 favorite ED Recovery blogs.

Are you "Eating With Your Anorexic?"
The blog by Laura Collins.  Laura is the author of Eating with your Anorexic, moderator of the Around the Dinner Table forum, and founder of FEAST.

Written by the lovey Brie!  Brie, I love reading your blog and wish you and your family the best as you work on your recovery *hugs*

Eating Disorder Hope
This blog is has the absolute best contests each month!  I was the lucky winner of Goodbye Ed, Hello Me: Recover from Your Eating Disorder and Fall in Love with Life by Jenni Schaefer this year.  They also provided me with some great stuff for my school packets.

Eating Disorders Coalition News and Information
The absolute best blog for following ED related legislation in Washington, D.C.  I have lobbied with the EDC for three of the past four years, and can't wait to make my fourth lobby day this year!

Feed Me!
This is the blog by Harriet Brown, a very sweet lady.  She is the author of Feed Me!: Writers Dish About Food, Eating, Weight, and Body Image, one of the books I hope to profile here next year. 

Welcoming 2010

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to wish you all a happy and healthy New Year.  Recovery is possible to achieve and maintain.  I'm looking forward to expanding the blog in 2010 to include book reviews and hopefully some updates live from some recovery events!

Love, Kelly

Monday, December 21, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Disordered Eating May Affect 10 to 15 Percent of Women

ScienceDaily (Dec. 20, 2009) — Several maladaptive eating behaviors, beyond anorexia, can affect women. Indeed, some 10 to 15 percent of women have maladaptive eating behaviours and attitudes according to new study from the Université de Montréal and the Douglas Mental Health University Institute published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

"Our results are disquieting," says Lise Gauvin, a professor at the Université de Montréal Department of Social and Preventive Medicine. "Women are exposed to many contradictory messages. They are encouraged to lose weight yet also encouraged to eat for the simple pleasure of it."

Some 1,501 women took part in the phone survey on eating disorders and disordered eating. Not one participant was classified as anorexic. The average age of these urban-dwelling participants was 31, the majority of respondents were non-smokers and university graduates.

Dr. Gauvin says the study sheds new light on binge eating and bulimia, which are characterized in part by excessive eating accompanied by feelings of having lost control. "About 13.7 percent of women interviewed for this study reported binge eating one to five days or one to seven times per month," she says, noting 2.5 percent of women reported forcing themselves to vomit, use laxatives, or use diuretics to maintain their weight or shape.

The investigation also established a link between problematic eating behaviours and self-rated health. In other words, deviant eating behaviours are more likely to occur in women who perceived themselves to be in poor health.

Another finding of the study was that 28 percent of women complete intense exercise twice a month with the sole objective of losing weight or influencing. "We practice a sport for the pleasure it provides, to feel good, but when the activity is done to gain control over one's weight and figure, it is indicative of someone who could be excessively concerned about their weight," says Dr. Gauvin. "Our data suggests that a proportion of the female population displays maladaptive eating patterns."

This study was supported by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Support Group in Montclair, NJ

Eating Disorders Assoc. of NJ Support Group meets second Sundays and will hold a meeting from 10 to 11:30 a.m. second Sundays at Mountainside Hospital, 1 Bay Ave., Main Bldg., 1st Floor, Montclair. Donation $5. Call Maureen Kritzer-Lange at (973) 313-1691, Ilene Fishman at (973) 509-1400 or 1-800-522-2230 (day) or visit

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Research Videos Contributed by Jane Cawley

Jane is the newest member of the PFN Steering Committee and a co-chair of Maudsley Parents. She has embarked on a unique mission to provide up-to-date information to families in video format. The videos below have been posted to the NEDA website and are worth viewing!

“Understanding Eating Disorders” Thomas Insel, MD, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health provides a brief overview of eating disorder research. Click here to view.

“Anorexia Nervosa in Teens: What Parents Should Know” Katharine Loeb, PhD gives advice to parents, emphasizing the importance of early intervention and family support. Click here to view.

“Cognitive Styles in Eating Disorders” James Lock, MD, PhD talks about cognitive styles as a risk factor for eating disorders and discusses cognitive remediation therapy as a potential treatment. Click here to view.

Eating Disorders and Michelle’s Law By Michael B. Snyder, J.D.

Michelle Morse was a full-time college student from New Hampshire who suffered from cancer yet continued her course load, against the advice of doctors, in order to fulfill the requirement for health care coverage as a dependent. Eating disorder patients are faced with the same dilemma, but treatment or consequences of the illness often simply prevents continued full-time studies.

Michelle’s Mother, AnnMarie first pushed the New Hampshire legislature successfully, then the U.S. Congress, to pass “Michelle’s Law,” which is effective for most healthcare plans (including self-insured plans) beginning January 1, 2010. Michelle’s law requires group health plans to provide coverage for dependents who do not meet the requirements of full-time student status because of a “medically necessary” leave of absence. The rules are simple: a dependent’s treating physician must certify to the plan that the dependent has a serious illness or injury and that the leave of absence is medically necessary, and the dependent child must have been enrolled in the group health coverage on the basis of his or her full-time student status on the date immediately preceding the leave of absence.

Work with your treatment team and insurance company to ensure that even though your child’s treatment may interfere with her or his full-time post-high-school education, it will not prevent continued healthcare coverage.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Eating Disorder Hope drawings for free books and calendars

Visit Eating Disorder Hope for a chance to win new books and calendars each month!  I was the lucky winner of last month's drawing for a copy of Goodbye Ed, Hello Me. 

This month's drawing is for Life Without Ed by Jenni Schaefer.
Jenni had been in an abusive relationship with Ed for far too long. Ed's name comes from the initials E.D. - as in eating disorder. He controlled Jenni's life, distorted her self-image, and tried to physically harm her throughout their long affair. Then Jenni met psychotherapist and author Thom Rutledge. He taught her how to treat her eating disorder as a relationship, not a condition. By thinking of her eating disorder as a unique personality separate from her own, Jenni was able to break up with Ed once and for all.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

High Mortality Risk for Bulimia Nervosa and Unspecified Eating Disorders

Acknowlegement about the seriousness of EDs other than AN.  All EDs kill!

A large, long-term study extends the finding of high death rates in anorexia nervosa to bulimia nervosa and other eating disorders. Crow et al. (p. 1342) determined diagnoses for 1,885 outpatients with eating disorders evaluated between 1979 and 1997 and searched the National Death Index for matches through 2004. The crude mortality rates for the patients with diagnoses of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and "eating disorder not otherwise specified" were 4.0%, 3.9%, and 5.2%, respectively. Compared to national mortality data for demographically similar groups, the rate for eating disorder not otherwise specified was significantly elevated, suggesting that this diagnosis does not indicate a less severe disorder. In addition, 13 of the 84 deaths identified were due to suicide, and eight of these were among the patients with bulimia nervosa. These findings are discussed by Dr. Walter Kaye in an editorial on p. 1309.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Drawing back the curtain on binge eating - LA Times

With psychiatrists mulling whether to classify binge eating as a bona fide eating disorder -- laid out in a package of stories in today's Health section -- the blog Jezebel launches a more personal discussion of the problem.

That post notes: "As someone who has been fortunate enough to receive proper treatment for an eating disorder, I find it somewhat troublesome that the concern over including binge eating disorder in the DSM comes back to worrying about doctors over prescribing medication or patients who rely on the diagnosis as some excuse to continue engaging in unhealthy behavior. ... I was able to get proper treatment because my eating disorder was clearly defined in the DSM."

People who have struggled with binge eating then weigh in. Others opine about the merits of the DSM classification.

Here's the L.A. Times' story, by staff writer Melissa Healy: Is binge eating a psychiatric disorder?

It begins: "Rina Silverman's refrigerator is almost always empty. She keeps it that way to avert episodes of frantic food consumption, often at night after a full meal, in which she tastes nothing and feels nothing but can polish off a party-sized bag of chips or a container of ice cream, maybe a whole box of cereal. The food she's eating at these moments hardly matters."

And here are the related stories in the package:
Trying to define binge eating disorder
Binge eating: Is it a form of addiction?
Holidays can feed binge eaters' problems

And for more on binge eating, check out this collection of information, tips and resources from

— Tami Dennis

Friday, November 20, 2009

How to execute dietary management in eating disorder patients

Eating disorders (ED) patients display a high prevalence of gastrointestinal symptoms and functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. These symptoms may interfere with their nutritional management. Ingestion of fructose-sorbitol (F-S) is an established means of gastrointestinal symptom provocation in irritable bowel syndrome patients. Surprisingly, although ED patients are known to consume "diet" products containing fructose and sorbitol, their gastrointestinal symptom responses to F-S provocation have not been studied.

A research article published on November 14, 2009 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology describes the responses of 26 ED patients to F-S provocation. The research team, including Professors Kellow, Abraham and Hansen from the University of Sydney, Australia, monitored gastrointestinal symptoms and breath hydrogen concentration (a marker of small bowel absorption) for 3 h following ingestion of 50 g glucose on one day, and 25 g fructose/5 g sorbitol on the next day. Responses to F-S were compared to those of 20 asymptomatic healthy females.

F-S provoked gastrointestinal symptoms in 15 ED patients but only in one healthy control. In contrast, only one ED patient displayed symptom provocation to glucose, which does not usually provoke gastrointestinal symptoms; this shows specificity of the F-S response. A greater symptom response was observed in the most underweight ED patients (BMI ≤ 17.5 kg/m2) compared to those with a BMI >17.5 kg/m2. There were no differences in psychological scores, prevalence of functional gastrointestinal disorders or breath hydrogen responses between patients with and without an F-S response.

The key findings of this study are that F-S provoked gastrointestinal symptoms in more than half of the female ED patients, a significantly greater proportion than that found in healthy individuals; the response was specific for F-S ingestion; and there was a greater symptom response in patients at lower BMI values. Consistent with this last finding, symptom provocation was more common in anorexia nervosa patients. Hence negative energy balance appears to play a role in F-S sensitivity in these patients. As fructose and sorbitol are likely to be commonly ingested by ED patients, representing a potential source of gastrointestinal distress that would impact negatively on their nutritional management, F-S provocative testing could prove valuable in identifying those patients with symptom sensitivity to these substances.

Reference: Friesen N, Hansen RD, Abraham SF, Kellow JE. Fructosesorbitol ingestion provokes gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with eating disorders. World J Gastroenterol 2009; 15(42): 5295-5299

Correspondence to: Dr. John E Kellow, Department of Gastroenterology, Royal North Shore Hospital, St. Leonards, Sydney 2065, Australia.

Telephone: +61-2-99267355 Fax: +61-2-94363719

About World Journal of Gastroenterology
World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H. pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2008 IF: 2.081. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.

About The WJG Press
The WJG Press mainly publishes World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Athletes and Eating Disorders: Discussing the unique issues surrounding athletes with eating disorders.

When we think of athletes, typically we envision individuals who strive to maintain a healthy body. However, there are those athletes who take weight control and physical appearance to extremes and develop eating disorders as a result. It is important that we as parents, coaches, teachers and teammates are able to recognize the issue and provide support for the athlete as they work to overcome their eating disorder.

A variety of factors put an athlete at risk for developing an eating disorder, including: outside pressure to keep up athletic abilities, maintaining a healthy weight for optimal performance, and the type of sport (individual vs. team, and whether or not it focuses on physical appearance). The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) lists some risk factors here.

Coaches and parents should be aware of symptoms of eating disorders, such as having an intense fear of gaining weight, refusal to maintain a minimally healthy weight, believing that simply weighing less results in improved athletic performance, and increased exercise or obsession with exercise. More symptoms can be found on the NEDA's Web site. Anytime an athlete exhibits these signs, it is important to take immediate action before any severe physical damage occurs.

When assisting an athlete with an eating disorder, start by addressing the athlete's feelings first. These emotions can range from feeling lonely, isolated, and depressed, to feeling overly pressured to excel in athletic performance and setting unrealistic expectations for themselves. Athletes should have a safe environment in which they feel comfortable talking about pressures related to weight and performance, their self-image, and their self-esteem or perceived ability to perform well.

Being proactive in the prevention of disorders is essential, as it can help reduce their occurrence. Remember that talking about eating disorders does not necessarily mean an athlete will develop one. Take time to educate your athlete about the risks of an eating disorder and emphasize the importance of maintaining a healthy body for athletic competition. With these steps, hopefully the athletes you work with will develop a well-grounded view of what it means to be a healthy athlete.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eating Disorders Information Packet

I've been sending out a few school and sorority information packets each month.  If you would like a packet, I will send you one FREE OF CHARGE!  Just comment with your e-mail address, and I will be in touch.

Included in the packet are:
- ED related newletter or magazine (subject to availability)
- Introductory letter and contact card
- Can you eat too healthy?
- Harriet Brown's I-Love-My-Body Pledge
- Spanish language info sheet
- How to help your overweight child
- The truth about laxative abuse
- Exercise Prescription and eating disorders
- At Risk:  All cultural and ethnic groups
- Confront:  The plan for confronting someone you feel has an eating disorder
- Boys and eating disorders
- Book list
- Do's and don't's of helping someone recover from Binge Eating Disorder
- ANAD BMI testing in schools position statement
- FEAST press release
- Healthcare myths
- FEAST pamphlet
- Eating disorders ignored
- ANAD facts
- Physical consequences of eating disorders
- Symptoms lists and charts
- School program information
- ANAD pamphet

Kate Moss criticised over 'skinny is best' motto

Model Kate Moss has been criticised by campaigners after saying she lives by a slogan which encourages people with anorexia not to eat.

In an interview with fashion news website WWD, Moss said one of her mottoes was: "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."

The saying is widely used by anorexia and bulimia sufferers on websites.

Eating disorder charity Beat described the comments as "dangerous" and "very unhelpful" for sufferers.

In the interview Moss adds: "That's one of them. You try and remember, but it never works."

A spokeswoman for Beat said it was "a very unfortunate phrase" particularly as it was widely used on pro-anorexia websites.

"She probably doesn't realise how dangerous such comments can be. It's difficult enough for young people who are struggling to beat eating disorders, without comments like this which are very unhelpful," she said.

Katie Green, a former Ultimo underwear model, who has launched a Say No To Size Zero campaign with Liberal Democrat MP Lembit Opik, said the comments were "irresponsible".

She said: "I think Kate Moss should really have thought before she spoke like most of us do before giving interviews. Kate is a mother herself and how would parents with children suffering from eating disorders feel reading something like this?

"We are trying to get the government to put something in place to stamp out size zero models and comments like this aren't doing anything to help that."

Home for the Holidays: A FREE Webinar and Workshop for Those Recovering from an ED

Home for the Holidays:  Shine Your Light
A FREE Webinar and Workshop for Those Recovering from an Eating Disorder from the Renfrew Center

Topics include:
- Eating Challenges During the Holidays
- How to Alleviate Holiday Stress and Pressure
- Taking Responsibility for Your Own Health and Recovery
- Survival Strategies to Stay Focused on Your Recovery
- Creating and Sustaining Relationships at Home, Work, & School

Tuesday, December 15, 2009
12:00pm-1:00pm EST OR 8:00pm-9:00pm EST

Facilitated by Jennifer Nardozzi, PsyD and a Renfrew Alumna

Click here to register for the 12:00pm EST webinar.

Click here to register for the 8:00pm EST webinar.

Workshop at Non-Residential Sites
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Workshop Locations Include:
Radnor, PA • New York • New Jersey • Connecticut • North Carolina • Tennessee • Texas • Maryland

Click here to register for the Workshop at the Non-Residential Sites (except Florida).

Workshop at Florida Site
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Click here to register for the Workshop at the Florida site.

For more information, please call Jenna Hoskinson at 1-877-367-3383, ext. 3246 or

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Overeaters and Drug Abusers Share Addictive Brain Chemistry

WASHINGTON (ISNS) -- Failed dieters may be pushed to over-eat not by their stomachs, but by their brains. The brain chemistry that makes it hard for alcoholics, drug users and smokers to quit their addictions also punishes us for trading sugar for salad, according to a new study of food consumption in rats.

The research supports those who believe that overeating can, in extreme cases, be considered an addiction comparable to drug abuse or gambling.

Some eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, are already included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, which psychiatrists use to diagnose their patients. Overeating is a controversial candidate for inclusion in the next version of the manual.

"For people who are eating way beyond their need and storing excess fat, there's a debate as to whether you want to call that a disorder of the brain," said Charles O'Brien, director of the Center for Studies in Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and member of the task force for the new DSM.

Now Pietro Cottone and Valentina Sabino, co-directors of the Laboratory of Addictive Disorders at Boston University, have found that feeding unhealthy food to rats can alter the same region of the brain that changes when they are given alcohol, opiates or nicotine.

The scientists switched a group of rats from their normal diet of boring but nutritious rodent chow to a sugary diet of calorie-dense food. After two days of decadence, the animals were returned to a healthy diet. The pampered rats no longer cared for the healthy food; they ate less of it than their comrades who had never tried sugary food.

This change in appetite also happens in people who cycle back and forth between healthy and unhealthy foods, said Cottone. They also tend lose their desire for healthy foods enjoyed by others.

But it wasn't just that the healthy food had lost its appeal. Returning to a diet of normal food affected the amygdala of each rat, the region of the brain that produces anxiety. Brain cells in this area churned out five times the normal amount of a protein called corticotropin-releasing factor, or CRF -- the same chemical that punishes addicts who are trying to give up their drug of choice.

Relief from the anxiety-inducing chemical only came when the rats returned to a sugary diet and gorged themselves, increasing their consumption of food as compared to their first experience with it.

"This [CRF] punishment, this negative einforcement is causing anxiety and is increasing the probability that bad behavior is performed in the future to relieve anxiety," said Cottone.

The destructive eating habits of the rats improved when Cottone treated them with a substance that blocks CRF from attaching to the brain cells. They regained some of their taste for healthy foods and reduced the amount of sugar they ate.

Studies in the 1990s found that CRF blockers could help rats overcome exposure to drugs. For years, the pharmaceutical industry has been trying to develop drugs based on these chemicals for alcoholics, smokers and drug abusers.

Cottone suggests that they add compulsive eaters to their list of potential clientele.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Downward Dog Fights Eating Disorders

Yoga for teens could be more than a spiritual and physical boost—a new randomized controlled trial suggests that it may help those with anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders.

The study included 50 adolescents aged 11-16, the vast majority of whom were girls. They were seriously ill. Nearly half had previously been hospitalized because of their eating disorder—at the time of the study, they were being treated at an outpatient clinic at Seattle Children's hospital.

55% were suffering from anorexia, 17% had bulimia and the rest had been diagnosed with “eating disorder-not otherwise specified,” a condition in which people have some, but not all of the symptoms of anorexia or bulimia or both.

The study was led by T. Rain Carei Ph.D. of Seattle Children's Hospital and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Teens were randomized to receive either usual treatment at the clinic—or that treatment plus two hours a week of yoga classes, conducted by an instructor certified in Viniyoga by the Yoga Alliance. The study period lasted eight weeks.

While controls showed improvement on tests of eating disordered behaviors and thinking during treatment, these had fallen back to their previous levels when they were followed up a month afterwards.

But in the yoga, while improvement started slowly, a month later, these teens were doing much better than they had been at the start of treatment and had lower scores on these measures as a result. Yoga had no effect on weight, which was reassuring because underweight subjects needed to gain to recover and weight loss could cause more harm.

The researchers suspect that yoga may help by reducing the obsessive concern about weight associated with eating disorders. They write, “Food preoccupation may be reduced by focusing attention on yoga poses.” Some subjects even expressed this idea directly to the researchers, saying “This is the only hour in my week when I don't think about my weight."

If a larger study confirms these findings, a prescription for the child's pose and others could be in the future for teens with eating disorders.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pinpointing When Rates Of Binge Eating Converge Across Races

ScienceDaily (Oct. 25, 2009) — Existing research shows that rates of binge eating among adult women is virtually identical across race. However, among college age women, it's a different story: Caucasian women are more apt to exhibit binge eating behaviors than African American women, according to a study presented at this month's annual scientific meeting of the Obesity Society.
"We are trying to figure out when the diet trajectory changes, and when it is that African-Americans start to exhibit these behaviors. It's important to look at the eating habits of this group as they may contribute to early onset weight gain and obesity," said Melissa Napolitano, clinical psychologist at the Center for Obesity Research and Education and associate professor of kinesiology in the College of Health Professions.

In the study, 715 female college students completed an on-line survey about health habits, behaviors and attitudes. Each woman self-reported her height and weight. Answers were then compared to the Eating Disorder Diagnostic Scale, a questionnaire that is used to diagnose a variety of eating disorders, and the Binge Eating Scale, to gauge the severity of binge eating symptoms.

Binge Eating Disorder is classified by eating amounts of food larger than most people would consider normal within a 2-hour period; a sense of loss of control during these eating periods; eating past the point of feeling comfortably full; and feelings of embarrassment, depression, anxiety or guilt after eating.

Overall, the African-American students were less likely than the Caucasian students to meet criteria for binge eating and had less severe symptoms. However, researchers found that the predictors of binge eating symptom severity were similar, including depressed mood, and the perception of feeling fat.

The researchers say it is possible that culture plays a role in the diagnosis and that consuming larger portions may not be labeled as such by African Americans.

"These women could be binge eating, but they may have less anxiety and distress surrounding their eating habits, so they don't recognize it as an issue," said Napolitano, adding that more studies are needed to look at differences in eating patterns and behaviors among different cultures.

About 31-33 percent of college students are overweight, and weight gain has been shown to increase during their academic career. In this study 22 percent of Caucasians and 37 percent of African-Americans were overweight or obese. Existing research suggests that binge eating could be a factor in weight gain over time.

Coupled with the fact that rates of obesity are especially high among African American females, Napolitano says it's critical to have tailored treatments and educational programs available for women of diverse backgrounds.

"College age women are at a critical stage in their development, and there's almost no research that looks at binge eating behaviors among African American women. We need to do a better job at understanding these eating practices to help design and evaluate both prevention and treatment efforts," she said.

The co-author of this study is Susan Himes, at the Mayo Clinic. Funding for this research was provided by Temple University.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

F.E.A.S.T. Position Statement: Parents do not cause eating disorders, Families are important allies during treatment

Despite all that has been learned in the past decade that dispels old ideas about eating disorders, a lingering history of blaming parents still exists. This assumption, sometimes stated and other times just implied, harms families and recoveries. At a time when families are most needed, this implication of guilt can disable a parent from taking assertive and life-saving action.

F.E.A.S.T., an organization committed to evidence-based care and parent empowerment, calls on the treatment community and society to put a true end to the era of parent blame. Freed of this burden parents can, when professionally supported and coached, be powerful allies during treatment.

  • Eating disorders are brain disorders, not a choice or a sign of poor parenting.
  • Theories of parent causation are often based on now-outdated ideas of the illness.
  • Correlation has been confused with causation for symptoms that are often genetically transmitted.
  • The risk of developing an eating disorder is 50-80% genetic.
  • The presence of an eating disorder or other mental illness in a family can by itself cause temporary dysfunctional reactions and interactions.
  • Eating disorder patients come from every type of family, just as the general population does.
  • There is no evidence to support eating disorder treatment that is based on repairing dysfunctional families.
  • Care-giving families need active assistance and reassurance to do their job well.
  • Eating disorder patients often suffer from temporary deficits that may distort memory and perception of family.
  • Evidence-based treatment of eating disorders indicates that family empowerment and involvement is one of the most powerful tools for early intervention and improved outcomes.
  • While parents do not cause eating disorders, they can be an active part of recovery.
While lingering concerns about parent pathology live on in some treatment practices and literature, we point to the following sources:

NEDA would like to send the clear message that families are NOT responsible for eating disorders.  The National Eating Disorders Association, US, January 2007
"No evidence exists to prove that families cause eating disorders." Treatment of Patients With Eating Disorders, Third Edition, APA Practice Guidelines,  May 2006
"FAMILIES DO NOT CAUSE ANOREXIA NERVOSA" Genetics of Anorexia Nervosa collaboration, January 7, 2007

       "For a long time the mothers have been blamed, or families have been blamed, and that's been pitiful." Lynn Grefe, National Eating Disorders Association, US.
       "This is a brain disorder." Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
       "I think traditionally, and not just traditionally I think today still a lot of providers would not see the parents as part of the solution but as part of the problem and I think that's been a pervasive attitude among a large number of clinicians in our field." Dr. Daniel le Grange, University of Chicago, US.
       "Parents often have this guilt, assuming that because they were the person in charge of their offspring they may have done something wrong, but there's no evidence for that, whatsoever." Dr. Janet Treasure, Maudsley Hospital, UK.
       "There are no data to support at this point that parents cause eating disorders." Lucene Wisniewski, Cleveland Center for Eating Disorders, US.
·       "Parents don't cause eating disorders." Jeanine Cogan, Eating Disorders Coalition, US
"Parents don't cause eating disorder." Professor Ivan Eisler, Kings College, London, UK
"What parents need to know is: eating disorders are biologically based illnesses. They didn't cause it. They need to let go of that guilt."   Kitty Westin, The Emily Program, US
"Parents do not cause eating disorders. Parents suffer just as much as their kids do." Dr. Walter Kaye, University of California at San Diego, US.
From "Do Parents Cause Eating Disorders" video interviews of eating disorder experts, October 2007

If you or your organization would like to support this statement, please fill out the form on the right or contact F.E.A.S.T.

For more information on eating disorders or F.E.A.S.T. please visit our website at
Contact: Laura Collins, Executive Director, F.E.A.S.T.
+1 (540) 227-8518

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

H1N1 and Eating Disorders: Does Your Eating Disorder Make the Swine Flu More Likely for You?

The 2009 novel H1N1 (swine flu) virus has raised concerns around the world. We know that nutrition can be a big part of helping the immune system function, and a healthy immune system is more able to defend against infection. So, if you have poor nutrition due to an eating disorder, are you at greater risk of catching H1N1?

H1N1 and Eating Disorders: Resilient Immunity

There is debate about how your eating disorder might be affecting your immune system and, therefore, your likelihood of catching the H1N1 virus. Levels of certain infection-fighting cells drop in people with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. But research seems to show that those with eating disorders are not significantly more vulnerable to infectious disease. This is surprising, since those who experience starvation against their will do become more vulnerable to infectious disease.

If you have anorexia nervosa, some researchers note, you've probably chosen to cut out fats and carbohydrates first. These researchers hypothesize that this selective restriction somehow allows the immune system to continue to maintain a higher level of protection than those who are simply starving.

If you have bulimia nervosa, you will have nutritional deficits from missing out on many of the nutrients you need. Plus, consistent vomiting can compromise the immune system. However, just as in anorexia, there seems to be little evidence of increased infection in those with bulimia.

Will Heavy Exercise Make H1N1 More Likely for You?

Exercise is another factor that affects your immune system. Moderate amounts help it, and extreme amounts -- the kind of exercise many with eating disorders perform -- can weaken it. If you exercise intensely as a way of trying to burn calories or to work off episodes of binge eating, you could be giving your immune system an extra challenge -- and giving H1N1 a greater chance of affecting you.

But again, there appears to be little research on differences in immunity between those with eating disorders who exercise excessively and those with eating disorders who don't. So, it seems premature to say that heavy exercise will make you more likely to contract the H1N1 virus if you have an eating disorder.

Your Vulnerability to H1N1 May Be Driven by Other Factors

Although your immune system may not be compromised directly if you have an eating disorder, that doesn't mean that you won't get the swine flu. You're probably as likely as anyone to contract the virus, and you may be at even higher risk if you're of school or college age (simply because you're around more people). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have suggestions for how to deal with H1N1 in schools.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Emerging Eating Disorder: Exercise Bulimia

A little-known form of the eating disorder bulimia is getting more and more attention from medical professionals -- exercise bulimia.

As's Cali Carlin reported on "The Early Show Saturday Edition," people with the disorder can't stop themselves from working out excessively and compulsively, with potentially serious health consequences.

This "startling" form of bulimia is of particular concern, Carlin says, because it happens in plain sight and doesn't involve the hidden vomiting-to-purge-calories marking the form of bulimia more people are familiar with, making exercise bulimia hard to recognize, and insidious.

In addition, she points out, eating disorders in general have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.

Carlin spoke with Robyn Yamanaka who is, ironically, a professional trainer.

Yamanaka told Carlin her exercise bulimia "started off innocently, (with workouts) maybe like three or four times a week. ... (But) it got to a point where I was working out three hours a day, if not more. ... I didn't take a day off for about 6 years. ... I have more health problems than someone who is overweight because I was underweight."

Dr. Maryanne Rosenthal, clinical director at Casa Palmera, an in-patient treatment center in San Diego says, "I think(exercise bulimia) is becoming epidemic. ... An exercise bulimic is focused on the ritual of exercising, and that is that method of purging.... People think they get a pass because they're not vomiting, they're not taking laxatives, so (they think) they're not really purging. ... It's very hard to diagnose, because exercise is great right?"

Health woes spurred by exercise bulimia can include fatigue,reproductive problems, depression and anxiety, Rosenthal observes.

Yamanaka, says Carlin, was "exercising herself to death. Her bones had weakened to the equivalent of a 65-year-old female. She suffered from osteoporosis, a stress fracture and lost her period for eight years."

Rosenthal calls exercise bulimia "an addiction and, when people are really heavily into their addictions, they can't stop without help."

Yamanaka tearfully told Carlin that her parents forced her to get treatment, and says she's recovering and even back on the job.

"Im really lucky," she observes.

Best-selling author and dieting expert Dr. Ian Smith told "Early Show Saturday Edition" co-anchor Erica Hill signs someone you know may be an exercise bulimic include that person missing work, parties or other important appointments to work out, not taking a break from working out for days at a time, working out for hours at a time each day, working out while injured or sick, or becoming severely depressed when not being able to work out.

Smith, who's also the medical and diet expert on VH1's highly-rated "Celebrity Fit Club," said to CBS News you should approach someone you're concerned about with caution: "Discuss with them the amount of time they're spending on working out relative to where they are with the goals they want to achieve from working out. Most of these people are already low in fat and within the healthy weight range. Try to bring it to their attention that they have had great success and results from working out. The quantity of time they're spending is out of proportion to what they need to maintain their results. Suggest they see a therapist who can help them sort out what's going on.

"Softly discuss what they may be neglecting so that they can work out. Try to get them to see that they are allowing exercise to disproportionately occupy time and space in their life. Maybe they are suffering some of the consequences of exercising too much (fatigue, dehydration, osteoporosis, arthritis, reproductive problems, injuries such as stress fractures, strains, and sprains), and pointing these consequences out may help them see what they're doing."

Smith noted that, "Unlike (with) classic bulimia, exercise bulimia is almost just as common in men as it is in women. Exercise bulimia is not about the person wanting to improve their health or train for a specific event. They exercise for the sake of exercise."

If someone resists getting help or receiving consul, Smith said, "There's not much you can do, unless they are a minor. This is not a condition where you can commit someone to a psychiatric clinic or make them go get help. The best thing to do at that point is to be as supportive as possible and encourage rather than mandate they seek at least some counsel."

Friends Don't Let Friends 'Fat Talk': Tri Delta Launches 2nd Annual 'Fat Talk Free(R) Week' to Combat Negative Body Image Among Women

ARLINGTON, Texas, Oct. 19, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tri Delta, a leader among social Greek organizations, announced the return of 'Fat Talk Free Week' (Oct. 19-23), an international 5-day body activism campaign to draw attention to body image issues and the damaging impact of the 'thin ideal' on women in society. This 2nd annual public awareness effort was borne from Tri Delta's award-winning peer-led body image education and eating disorders prevention program, Reflections.

"Fat Talk" is classified as statements that explicitly or implicitly reinforce the unattainable thin-ideal standard of female beauty promoted by our culture. Next week, women are encouraged to avoid using phrases like: "I feel fat today;" "I can't eat that, it will make me fat;" "she shouldn't wear that it because it makes her look fat;" or even "Wow, you look great - have you lost weight?" While it may seem harmless, research indicates that a mere 3-5 minutes of engaging in this type of talk substantially increases body dissatisfaction (Stice, 2003).

"We developed Fat Talk Free Week and Reflections as the catalyst to ignite a revolution of body activism among women everywhere," said Jackye Clark, president of Tri Delta. "As an organization with thousands of women joining each year, we are in a very unique position to actively work toward eliminating the devastating pattern of fat talk and chasing the thin ideal."

Today in the U.S., more than 10 million women are battling an eating disorder, which is more than four times the number of women suffering from breast cancer. Further, recent studies have shown that more than two thirds of women ages 18-25 would rather be mean or stupid than be fat and over 50 percent would rather be hit by a truck (Martin, 2007).

Tri Delta co-developed Reflections with Carolyn Becker, Ph.D, FAED, of Trinity University, and the local sororities on that campus. Reflections not only reduces eating disorder risk factors and improves body image perceptions among participants, it also enables facilitators to gain valuable academic and leadership experience and promotes a more cohesive community of women on campus.

Since introducing Fat Talk Free Week and the official launch of Reflections in 2008, Tri Delta has reached millions of women internationally through a variety of outlets including a viral video campaign distributed via email and You Tube, campus activism events and community outreach, media exposure and more.

Major partnerships include the Academy of Eating Disorders (AED), National Organization for Women Foundation (NOW), National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness, among many other non-profit organizations and for-profit corporations.

Fat Talk Free Week 2009 kicks off with a humbling message about the serious downside of pursuing the thin ideal and the damaging nature of everyday 'fat talk', as told through a powerful viral video campaign. Additional highlights throughout the week will include:

* Daily E-mail Challenges with thought-provoking statistics and simple, immediate body activism exercises

* Sign the Fat Talk Free Week Promise online, donate your Facebook profile to the cause, and promote the issue virally through social media

* Body Image Activism Events on college campuses around the country

* Community Special Events, including the Re(Define) (Real)ity(TM) Fashion Show, sponsored by the Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness and Little in the Middle

For more information about sponsors, events happening throughout the week and a direct link to the video, visit:

To date, Tri Delta has already rolled the program out to 22 Tri Delta chapters across the nation and over 34 campuses, impacting more than 6,600 women, with another 30 campuses scheduled by spring of 2010. Tri Delta is committed to educating at least 20,000 college women in coming years.

About Tri Delta
Having initiated over 200,000 women since its founding in 1888, Tri Delta is a leader among social Greek organizations through its passion for progress and visionary thinking. Through partnerships with nationally recognized organizations like St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, award-winning publications like The Trident, and innovative collegiate and alumnae initiatives, Tri Delta is committed to leveraging our timeless values to revitalize the sorority experience. For more information, please visit or call 817-633-8001.

For more information about Reflections - visit

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Open Letter to Facebook

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

Today we were alerted to the presence of a quickly growing application titled, “How much should you weigh?” The application not only determines a user’s “acceptable” weight, but posts that information to the user’s page. While we understand this application is meant to be lighthearted, to a person struggling with body image and eating disorders, this can be a trigger to a downward spiral.

Eating disorders are a growing concern to men and women in the United States and all across the world. Applications like “How much should you weigh?” can cause those struggling with eating disorders to relapse into dangerous habits. One Facebook user told us that as someone recovering from an eating disorder she was vulnerable to this application, but was far enough down the path of recovery to pay it no attention.

ANAD takes a strong stance against evaluating a person’s “ideal” weight, even in the case of formal BMI testing. Since it is known that the concentration and layout of the body varies widely between ethnic groups, age groups, and especially genders, this is a measurement that is, by its definition, impossible to standardize. There is no test that can determine what one ought to weigh, just as there is no test that can determine who one ought to love, or how one ought to raise children. When an informal, unscientific application makes such claims, the effect can be injurious to anyone struggling with eating disorders. We ask you to remove this application as it promotes hazardous thinking and behavior concerning body image and eating.


Laura Discipio, LCSW
Executive Director
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)

Bravo's Thintervention Inadvertently Recalls Horrifying Anorexia Lingo

Jackie Warner, one of the choicest reality TV lesbians of the modern era, is set to follow her first show Work Out with another Bravo reality program, this one entitled Thintervention with Jackie Warner. Catchy! Fierce! Totally ignorant of common, anorexia-related “thin” wordplay!

Thintervention uses the same pun as the chilling term “thinspiration.” Even a casual Google search of “Thinspiration” yields pages of anorexia-encouraging websites, forums dedicated to communal “pro-ana” experiences, and pin-up photos of emaciated teens that “thinspire” (or help trigger) eating-disordered behavior in like-minded women and men. What’s worse, “Thintervention” implies that Warner will intervene with out-of-shape patients and goad them into becoming “thin,” which is not the same thing as being “fit.”

The show’s official press release doesn’t save the title either, noting that the proceedings include “a grueling workout with Warner pushing her clients to their emotional and physical limits.” This might not be a terrible show. It just needs a titular overhaul, and fast.

On the plus side, maybe we’ll see less of Warner’s camera-eager indulgences like catty confessionals and staged trips to her father’s tombstone. She has large (or, petite and pointy) shoes to fill if she wants to reign as Bravo’s top didactic sorceress.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Confidentiality in Adolescent Psychotherapy by Dr. Sarah Ravin

Thank you to Laura Collins for the link.

Confidentiality is a cornerstone of the therapeutic relationship. The ethics of my profession require that all communication between my patients and me remains confidential. In other words, I cannot disclose the information a patient reveals in session, or my own impressions about a patient, to anyone without the patient’s explicit written consent. Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. I am a mandated reporter of child abuse, and if a patient is imminently suicidal or homicidal, I have a duty to notify the appropriate parties in order to save the patient’s life and protect the public. But these scenarios are relatively uncommon.

Undoubtedly, confidentiality is an important, if not essential, therapeutic tool. Patients are far more likely to enter therapy, and to be completely honest and forthcoming in therapy, when they know that “what happens in therapy stays in therapy.” I am honored and humbled, though not necessarily surprised, when a patient tells me that I am the first person she has ever told about a particular trauma, event, thought, or feeling. A therapist’s office is a safe place in which a patient can express anything and everything without fear of judgment, alienation, or other negative repercussions. Through this vulnerability and brutal honesty comes an opportunity for growth and meaningful change.

However, confidentiality is not without its problems. For example, psychologists often struggle with decisions as to whether to disclose information about adolescent patients to their parents. On the one hand, parents have a legal right to obtain health care information regarding their child, and they are technically the “holders” of any privileged communication between their child and her therapist. On the other hand, adolescents can undoubtedly benefit from discussing certain personal issues with a nonjudgmental third party outside their family, and they are less likely to raise such issues with their therapist if they know that the information will get back to mom and dad.

I know of some psychologists who share very little with the parents of their adolescent patients. After all, they argue, the primary developmental tasks of adolescence include separation from family and establishment of an independent identity. These psychologists believe that they are respecting the adolescent’s burgeoning sense of identity by excluding parents from treatment. They also believe that they are nurturing the therapeutic relationship by refusing to disclose all but the most essential information to an adolescent’s parents. Many of these therapists believe that the parents are guilty of causing or contributing to their child’s problems, and thus are best kept out of the treatment picture. As a result, many parents of adolescent patients are relegated to the role of chauffeur. They drive their child to her appointments and pay for her treatment without ever knowing what is going on in those sessions. Imagine how disempowering it must feel for a parent to be relegated to such a role.

To be sure, psychologists who practice this way make many valid points. However, I have a different perspective on my role as a therapist and on the role confidentiality plays in my work with adolescent patients. Consequently, I approach the issue of confidentiality with adolescent patients differently. Empirical research has demonstrated, and my own clinical experience has confirmed, that adolescent treatment generally works best when parents are fully informed and actively involved, and I communicate this point to my adolescent patients and their parents at the start of our work together. I am relatively unconcerned when I meet an adolescent patient who lacks insight or motivation or who resists treatment. I am very concerned when the parents of an adolescent patient are unwilling, unmotivated, or unable to play an active role in their child’s treatment.

When I work with adolescents with relatively normal social or developmental concerns (e.g., grief, problems with friends, sexuality, stress management, body dissatisfaction), parents play an important, though relatively minor, role in treatment. In these cases, the work is primarily between the adolescent and me. Even so, I involve parents in the initial evaluation, treatment planning, and discharge planning; I provide them with empirical literature on their child’s problem and the treatment approach I am using; I provide them with guidance as to how they can support their child at home; and I invite them to call me or schedule an appointment with me at any time if they have questions or concerns about their child.

In my work with adolescents with mental illnesses, parents play a central role as indispensable members of the treatment team. I take an authoritative stance regarding my knowledge of, say, major depression or anorexia nervosa, while also maintaining humility by respecting parents’ judgment and intuition regarding their child. I may be the expert on mental health, but they are the experts on their child.

Adolescents who are struggling with serious mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, major depression, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa, require treatment which is more intensive and more comprehensive. These patients need their parents to play an active role in managing their symptoms and creating an environment which is conducive to recovery. In order for parents to do this, they need to be informed about their child’s symptoms and progress. While I certainly do not share everything a teenage patient says in therapy with her parents, I do provide her parents with the information they need in order to help her get better.

The parents of adolescents with mental illnesses are often overly stressed, worried, isolated, and confused. These parents need considerable support, encouragement, and guidance as they learn to cope with their child’s illness and support her through her recovery. This one of the reasons why I am so fond of family-based treatment: I get to empower the family to support the patient, drawing upon the parents’ intimate knowledge of and investment in their child. Instead of pulling the patient away from her family, I strengthen her natural support system, which makes intuitive sense to me. After all, therapy is time-limited. Family is forever.

Family members are also vital in preventing relapse, as they are generally the first people to notice a change in their child’s mood or behavior. Equipped with the right knowledge and skills, parents can intervene immediately and help to pull their child back from the brink of relapse, often preventing the need for future treatment.

Does involving family members in treatment damage my relationship with my adolescent patients? In the short term, it often does. Keep in mind, though, that some families bring their adolescents to me after an unsuccessful course of traditional individual therapy in which the patient had a very special, exclusive relationship with her therapist (who may have implicated her parents in the etiology of her problems) but made no meaningful progress whatsoever. My therapeutic relationship with adolescent patients is certainly important, but it is far less important than strengthening her relationship with her family and taking the necessary steps to help her recover. As adolescent patients progress through recovery and gain more insight, they gain trust in me and in their parents. They gain faith in the recovery process, and most of them are grateful for the fact that their parents and I worked collaboratively to help them. As much as they may resist it, adolescents need boundaries and limits, and they need adults to work together on their behalf.

By involving parents so heavily in an adolescent’s treatment, am I disrupting the processes of separation and individuation? In the short term, yes. I would argue, however, that cutting, starving oneself, engaging in unprotected sex, and throwing up after meals are not acceptable ways of exerting control or establishing identity. The supposition that a certain unhealthy behavior serves a valuable emotional or developmental purpose does not justify allowing that behavior to go unchecked. It is the mental illness which hinders adolescent development, not the treatment. Adolescents struggling with crippling depression or anxiety, erratic mood swings, self-injury, or life-threatening eating disorders are unlikely to blossom into well-adjusted, independent young adults without significant support. Empowering an adolescent’s parents to help her overcome a mental illness is ultimately very respectful of adolescent development – it allows the patient to recover within the safety and security of her natural environment so that she may one day live independently, unencumbered by mental illness.

For these reasons, my relationship with the parents is just as important as my relationship with the adolescent patient. Parents need to trust my judgment and treatment methods. They are, after all, entrusting me with their child’s health and bright future. I believe that I earn parents’ trust by maintaining open lines of communication between us, by providing them with empirically-sound literature on their child’s condition and the treatment approach we are taking, by respecting their parental instincts and taking seriously their experiences with their child, by supporting them emotionally, by absolving them of guilt and self-blame for their child’s disorder, and by empowering them to take constructive action.
About the Author: In her own words
I am a trained scientist-practitioner, and in 2008 I received my Ph.D. in clinical psychology. A major component of my professional identity is staying informed about recent developments in the field so that I may provide my clients with scientifically sound information and evidence-based treatment.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Report: Inmate Was Denied Access to Medication

St. Albans, Vermont - September 30, 2009

Police say Ashley Ellis, 23, of Castleton, died in the state prison in St. Albans six weeks ago, about a day after she started serving a sentence for a probation violation.

She reportedly weighed only 87 pounds because she suffered from the eating disorder anorexia.

The state police investigation is not yet complete but Tuesday the state medical examiner ruled the cause of death as hypokalemic induced cardiac arrhythmia due to anorexia/bulimia nervosa and denial of access to medication.

She reportedly was supposed to be taking prescribed Potassium to treat her anorexia.

"Under no circumstance does a corrections employee, DOC employee, dispense medication or care to an offender," Vt. Corrections Commissioner Andy Pallito said.

Pallito says a private contracted health company Prison Health Services Incorporated from Tennessee is responsible for providing 100 percent of all health services including medications to Vermont inmates. Pallito says he has seen no evidence so far that DOC employees were involved in any way in treating Ellis or providing her medications.

Reporter Brian Joyce: Are you confident the department was in no way responsible for what happened to this young woman regarding her death?

Pallito: You know the investigation will yield things, I'm sure, that I don't know about. But standing here today I'm pretty confident that the Department of Corrections followed through on the information and passed that information along that we were supposed to.

Vt. Law School Professor and legal expert Cheryl Hanna said, "After reading the medical report on the cause of death, it suggests that there could be financial liability either on behalf of the company that was contracted to provide medical services at the prison. Or the state itself, depending on how the facts unravel in this case. The state itself could be liable for her death."

Hanna says criminal charges are also possible-- depending on the outcome of the police investigation.

State police say they expect to complete their investigation by the end of the week and turn over their findings to the Franklin County prosecutor. He will determine whether any criminal charges are warranted in this case.

The corrections department says under its contract with Prison Health Services, the state is indemnified against any lawsuits. But Hanna says despite any contractual arrangement, it's possible a court could find that the state shares in the financial liability.

Brian Joyce - WCAX News

Renfrew Event: A FREE Webinar for Those in Recovery

The Renfrew Center Foundation

The Art of Letting Go

A FREE Webinar for Those in Recovery

Thursday, October 15, 2009
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm EST
9:00 pm - 10:30 pm EST

Eating disorder recovery is a series of acts of letting go, which no longer serve your highest good. There are many things we hold onto that can suppress our highest self: thought patterns, behaviors, relationships, and even grudges to name a few. For many of us, letting go can be a struggle for various reasons. We hold on to things out of comfort, familiarity, sentimentality, or denial. Simply, we do not know another way. Facing our fears of letting go is often more difficult than the actual process of releasing.

In this webinar, we will discuss how to release the fixations in your life that are stopping you from fully recovering from your eating disorder. Liesel Winchester, a Renfrew alumna, will share her story and experience of how she continues to let go of her eating disorder to find healing and happiness.
**Please note that this webinar is for those who are recovering from an eating disorder.

Please choose from the following presentation times:

Thursday, October 15, 2009 from 12:00pm-1:30pm EST

To register online, visit:

Thursday, October 15, 2009 from 9:00pm-10:30pm EST
To register online, visit:

For more information or assistance, please call Jenna Hoskinson at 1-877-367-3383 or email

System Requirements for Webinar
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista
Macintosh®-based attendees
Required: Mac OS® X 10.3.9 (Panther®) or newer

Monday, September 21, 2009

Treatment Providers - New Jersey

Treatment Providers around New Jersey
I do not personally endorse any treatment provider or center, but I would like to have a list here for anyone looking for resources.


Cedar Knolls

Eating Disorder Center at ADHD Mood & Behavior Center
*Welcome to call for free advice*
210 Malapardis Rd.
Cedar Knolls, NJ 07927
Phone (973) 605-5000
Fax: (973) 898-9305
Treatment Models: Biopsychosocial, cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, individual sessions, family sessions, couples sessions, group sessions, support group sessions, psychopharm, IPT, family systems, medical/nutrition stabilization.
Clients Include: Children, adolescents, athletes, and college students, males and females, who suffer from eating disorders, co-morbid psychiatric disorder, and body image issues.


The Koch Center
40 North Van Brunt Street
Englewood, NJ 07631

(201) 670-6450
Treatment Model:  Comprehensive Psychological Services with a Specialty in Eating Disorders.  When a person is struggling, they need to be able to get the best possible help in the easiest and most comfortable way. We are dedicated to providing the utmost in personalized quality care. That is why we customize our treatment to meet your needs and offer so many services in one place.
Far Hills

Jennifer L Stull, MSW, LCSW
*Welcome to call for free advice*
Marillac Behavioral Health
P.O. Box 603
Far Hills, NJ 07931
Phone: (908) 310-8476
Fax: (908) 781-5731
Treatment Models: Individual sessions, family sessions, couples sessions, group sessions, support groups sessions, biopsychosocial, cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, family systems.
Clients Include: Those who suffer from eating disorders, co-morbid psychiatric disorder, body image issues, and self-injury issues.

Florham Park

Susan Simon-Fleischer, MSW, LCSW, CSW-R, BCD
*Welcome to call for free advice*
Medical Arts Building
205 Ridgedale Avenue
Florham Park, NJ 07932 USA
Office Phone: (973) 535-3626
Treatment Models: Individual sessions, family sessions, couples sessions, group sessions, support groups sessions, CBT, psychodynamic, DBT, feminist, bariatric evaluations, consultations.

Populations: Adolescents, athletes, body image, college students, eating disorders, males, self injury, sexual abuse, co-morbid psychiatric disorders, bariatric patients, compulsive over eaters


Ani Orphanides, RD
405 Omni Drive
Hillsborough, NJ 18077
Office Phone: 908.874.8600 ext. 2

Center for the Treatment of Eating Disorders

79 Hudson Street, Suite 203, Hoboken, NJ 07030
973-740-0234 Fax 973-740-0702


Center for the Treatment of Eating Disorders

570 West Mount Pleasant Ave, Suite 108
Livingston, NJ 07039
973-740-0234 Fax 973-740-0702


Barbara Reese, LCSW, MSW, MPS, ADTR
*Free Monthly ANAD Support Group, Multifamily*  *Welcome to call for free advice*
460 Bloomfield Ave., Suite 307
Montclair, NJ 07042
(973) 783-2292
Treatment Models: Psychodynamics, feminist therapy, weekly private therapy groups. Individual, family, couples, group and support group sessions.
Clients Include: Children, adolescents, college students, athletes, males and females, who are medically ill, suffer from eating disorders, co-morbid psychiatric disorder, depression, anxiety, PTSD, issues related to body image, self-injury, and sexual abuse.

Joanna Scheier, MSW, LCSW, LSW
209 Cooper Ave., Suite 9A
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043
(973) 744-4414
Treatment Models: Individual sessions, family sessions, couples sessions, group sessions, biopsychosocial, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamics, family systems, and feminist models.
Clients Include: Adolescents, and college students, who suffer from eating disorders, alcohol/drug addictions, self-injury issues, and sexual abuse issues.

Midland Park

R. Hope Eliasof, LCSW
666 Godwin Ave
Midland Park, NJ 07432
Phone: (201)445-0550
Fax: (201)767-8897
Treatment Models: Individual sessions, couples sessions, group sessions, biopsychosocial, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamics, and feminist.
Clients Include: College students, males and females, who suffer from Body image issues, bulimia and compulsive overeating.

Medical Center at Princeton

Eating Disorder Program
Princeton, New Jersey
(609) 497-4490
Treatment Models:  Our board certified psychiatrists evaluate each patient individually to develop a treatment plan designed to achieve a full recovery. Our multidisciplinary approach is comprehensive to address all aspects of a patient’s care - Medical management, Individual psychotherapy, Nutrition counseling, Family therapy, Group psychotherapy, Tutoring, Art therapy, Relaxation, Yoga

Ridgewood, NJ

Nancy Feldman, RD
65 N. Maple Ave.
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
Treatment Models: Individual, Nutritional, CBT, Medical/Nutrition Stabilization.
Populations: Adolescents, Body Image, Children, College Students, Eating Disorders, Males, Medically Ill.

The Renfrew Center of Northern New Jersey
174 Union Street
Ridgewood, NJ 07450
Fax: 201-652-6253
Programs:  Day Treatment, Intensive Outpatient, Outpatient Services, Adolescent Eating Disorders Group, Emotional Eating Group. Eating Disorders Aftercare Group. Nutrition Group
The Renfrew Center is JCAHO accredited. Treatment programs and services are covered by most insurance policies.


Michell Gursky, MS, RD
*Welcome to call for free advice*
168 Tamarack Circle
Skillman, NJ 08558
(732) 670-9574
Treatment Models: Individual sessions, family sessions, nutritional support, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medical/nutrition stabilization.
Clients Include: Adolescents, children, and college students, who suffer from eating disorders, and issues related to body image.


Nan Lehmann, LCSW
*Welcome to call for free advice*
579 West Englewood Ave.
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Phone: (201) 836-4239
Fax: (201) 836-5228
Treatment Models: Individual sessions, family sessions, couple sessions, support groups, biopsychosocial, cognitive behavioral, IPT, psychodynamic, medical/nutritional stabilization, DBT, feminist.
Populations: Alcohol and drug addiction, adolescents, athletes, body image, dollege students, eating disorders, males, medically ill, self injury, sexual abuse, co-morbid psychiatric disorders.

Tinton Falls

Donald E. Erwin, PhD
*Support Groups*  *Accepts Medicaid/Medicare.* *Sliding Fee Scale.*
*Welcome to call for free advice. *
Monmouth Psychological Associates
620 Shrewsbury Ave.
Tinton Falls, NJ 07701
(732) 530-9029
Treatment Models: Family sessions, individual sessions, couples sessions, group sessions, support groups, nutritional therapy, biopsychosocial, cognitive behavioral therapy, DPT, medical/nutritional therapy, feminist, dialectical behavior therapy.
Clients Include: Children, adolescents, athletes, and college students, males and females, who are medically ill, suffer from eating disorders, issues related to body image, self-injury, co-morbid psychiatric Disorder, and sexual abuse.


The Koch Center
71 Franklin Turnpike
Waldwick, NJ 07463
(201) 670-6450
Treatment Model: Comprehensive Psychological Services with a Specialty in Eating Disorders.  When a person is struggling, they need to be able to get the best possible help in the easiest and most comfortable way. We are dedicated to providing the utmost in personalized quality care. That is why we customize our treatment to meet your needs and offer so many services in one place.


Carol McCrea, PhD
*Welcome to call for free advice*
27 Mountain Blvd. Ste 10
Warren, NJ 07059
Phone: (908) 704-0770
Fax: (908) 279-7948
Treatment Models: Individual, family, biopsychosocial, 12 step, CBT, Family Systems.
Clients Include: Individual, Adolescents, Body Image, College Students, Males, Self Injury, Sexual Abuse, Co-morbid psychiatric disorders, alcohol and drug addiction.


Kathy Most, LCSW
*Welcome to call for free advice*
209 Ross PL., Westfield, NJ 01090
(908) 499-5491
Treatment Models: Family sessions, couples sessions, biopsychosocial, cognitive behavioral therapy, and psychodynamic behavior therapy.
Clients Include: Adolescents, athletes, and college students, including males and females, who suffer from eating disorders, co-morbid psychiatric disorder, and issues related to body image, self-injury, and sexual abuse.


Anne Cavaliere, MA
The Starting Point
215 Highland Avenue,Suite C
Westmont, NJ 08108
Phone: 856-854-3155 x119
Fax: 856-854-0992
Anne specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and food addiction, and she works with adults and adolescents in both individual and group therapy.

Get involved with a Local NEDA Event!

New Jersey Benefit Luncheon on Sept. 29th at Baltusrol featuring Diana Williams, WABC-TV Anchor, author Jenni Schaefer. Honorees Susan Maccia and Dawn Beye; NEDA Long Island Comedy Night October 9th; NEDA LI Public Conference on October 10th with Jenni Schaefer; and the 1st ever NEDA WALK in NYC’s Riverside Park on October 11th! Please read below for further details!

New Jersey Benefit Luncheon
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Baltusrol Golf Club
201, Shunpike Road
Springfield, NJ 07081

Special Honored Guest
Diana Williams of WABC-TV

Dawn Beye & Susan Maccia

Featured Guest Speaker and Author
Jenni Schaefer (Author of Life Without ED)

Tickets can be reserved individually ($100 or $150 each) or by table(s) of 10 ($2500.00). Please RSVP no later than September 22, 2009 by contacting (908) 273-5382.

Reservations and checks can be mailed to:
NEDA Luncheon
PO Box 1505
Summit, NJ 07902-1505

NEDA Long Island Friday Night Fundraiser

October 9, 2009
NEDA-Long Island invites you to a comedy club for an entertaining night of comedy and laughs in support of NEDA-LI. To reserve a space at the Friday Night Fundraiser, print and mail this downloadable form. The Omni Building,333 Earle Ovington Blvd,Uniondale, Long Island, NY 11553

NEDA Long Island Public Conference and Luncheon
Saturday - October 10, 2009 - 10:00am-12:00pm (Conference)
12:45pm-2:30pm (Luncheon)

The Omni Building
333 Earle Ovington Blvd
Uniondale, Long Island, NY 11553
$75 Donation / $125 VIP Package

NEDA-Long Island and the Center for Change present: Goodbye ED, Hello Me: Life After an Eating Disorder featuring Jenni Schaefer, speaker, singer/songwriter, NEDA Ambassador and Sondra Kronberg, MS, RD, CDN, nutrition therapist, national speaker, NEDA-LI Liaison and recipient of NEDA 2004 Excellence in Practice Award.

Following the Conference, a Luncheon will be held, giving attendees a chance to meet Jenni Schaeffer, and Sondra Kronberg, MS, RD, CDN. Luncheon hosted by NEDA-LI and Avalon Hills Residential Eating Disorders Program.

Download and mail this form to reserve your space at this Conference and Luncheon!

NEW YORK CITY’s 1st Annual Walk

Riverside Park at West 83rd Street
Sunday, October 11th
Register Today at

Websites 'normalising anorexia'

The Royal College of Psychiatrists is calling for action to address the danger to girls which, it says, comes from websites that promote eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Dr John Morgan, director of the Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders, discusses whether the internet poses a danger to young people.

Video at source.

Girls from educated families more at risk of eating disorders

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Girls from well educated families who do well at school appear to be more at risk of developing an eating disorder, maybe because they feel more pressure to succeed, according to Swedish researchers.

A study which followed more than 13,000 women born in Sweden between 1952 and 1989 found that as parents' or grandmothers' education increased, so did girls' risk of being hospitalized for anorexia or another eating disorder.

The risk also climbed in tandem with the girls' own grades in high school, the researchers from Stockholm's Karolinska Institute reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

"It's possible that these girls feel more pressure from family to succeed -- which for some could translate into an obsession with controlling their eating and body weight," the researchers said in a statement.

They added that higher-achieving girls may also be more likely to have certain personality traits, such as perfectionism, that make them relatively more vulnerable to eating disorders.

Such demands likely play an "important role" in eating disorder development, researcher Jennie Ahren-Moonga told Reuters Health.

"This is even more relevant when combined with low self- esteem, as the feeling of not being able to live up to expectations plays a crucial role in both anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa," she said.

The vast majority of girls in the study were never treated for an eating disorder, regardless of family education and grades with only 55 out of 13,376 hospitalized during the study period.

The researchers said the findings did not prove that greater education and school achievement lead to eating disorders but suggest that girls from families with higher academic achievement were at relatively greater risk which could help prevent the onset of such problems.

Girls whose parents went to college had about twice the risk of being treated for an eating disorder as those whose parents had only an elementary-school education.

The risk was six times higher among girls whose maternal grandmothers had a college education, compared with those whose grandmothers went only to elementary school.

Similarly, girls with the highest grades at age 15 had twice the risk of hospitalization as girls with the lowest grades.

Ahren-Moonga said parents should be aware of the potential signs of an eating disorder, such as when a child begins to skip meals, routinely goes to the bathroom after a meal or loses weight for no clear reason.

(Reporting by Reuters Health, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Critics Blast Insurers for Poor Coverage of Eating Disorders

More than 11 million people in the United States have eating disorders.

And because an eating disorder can be a life-threatening condition with serious medical consequences, you'd assume that most health insurances polices would cover it. But many people living with eating disorders are falling through the cracks when it comes to health insurance, because in most cases, their treatment is not adequately covered, according to the National Eating Disorders Association.

No one knows that better than the Gomez family. Emily Gomez, 17, is fighting for her life, and her parents are fighting with their insurance company to pay for her treatment.

Emily, who lives on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, is a trained singer who dreams of performing on Broadway one day. But a few months ago, instead of travelling to the Great White Way, she travelled instead to an eating disorder clinic called Timberline Knolls in a quiet suburb of Chicago, more than 1,000 miles from home.

"You know, I'd eat a normal dinner and then afterwards just go through my pantry and anything I could find I'd eat," Emily said. "Then I'd go upstairs to my bathroom and then I'd usually end up purging."

Emily now suffers from bulimia, but when she was first diagnosed with an eating disorder about three and a half years ago, she suffered from anorexia. She tried to hide it from her family, but it soon became obvious that Emily was starving herself.

"She would eat two slices of like deli ham and a couple of pieces of lettuce," recalled her mother, Leigh Gomez. "And she would eat some carrots and some cucumbers up to the 300 calorie level. And that would be it for the whole day."

Emily started passing out in school and several times she wound up in the hospital. Her doctor said something had to be done -- and fast. "Her doctor would look at me and say, 'You have got to do something and quick. … This child is extremely sick, and if you don't do something immediately, you're going to find her dead on the floor,'" Leigh Gomez said.

A team of pediatricians said outpatient care wasn't enough. They said Emily needed long-term residential treatment.

But that treatment is expensive, ranging from $750 to $1,000 a day. Because Emily was so sick, her parents assumed the treatment would be covered by their insurer, but they were wrong.

"Each time I called, they just said I'm sorry, there's nothing we can do for you,'" Leigh Gomez said.

Serious Health Consequences of Eating Disorders

The insurer said nothing could be done, because one section of the family's Blue Cross Blue Shield North Carolina policy -- written in fine print -- caps coverage for mental illnesses at $2,000. And because eating disorders are considered a mental illness by the insurer, that is all it would pay, even though Emily's treatment cost the Gomez family more than $50,000.

"It's not covering my family," Leigh Gomez said. "It is destroying my family."

Lynn Grefe, the CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, said eating disorders are one of the leading causes of death among young people.

According to the association, 10 percent of people with anorexia nervosa die as a result of complications from the illness. Still, victims struggle for adequate insurance coverage.

"Everything is wrong with this situation," Grefe said. "I mean, you have young people. They're usually very young women, some men, who are just fighting for their lives."

Dr. Tom Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, agrees that eating disorders have dangerous medical consequences.

"In the case of anorexia nervosa, you've got an illness with very severe disability [that] frequently ends up with a long-term hospitalization and high mortality" Insel said. "So for women between the ages of 15 and 24, there's about a 12-fold increase in mortality."

"Good Morning America" talked to the medical director of the Gomez's insurer, Dr. John Bradley.

He acknowledged that while the insurance company won't pay for the treatment of a child like Emily Gomez, it would cover complications that result from an eating disorder, such as a heart condition. He said that policy "absolutely" makes sense.

"This is true for depression, if someone attempts to commit suicide and they end up in the hospital ... we cover that," Bradley said.

When asked if he believes the coverage for eating disorders is inadequate, Bradley said, "I think the coverage of a lot of conditions is inadequate."

"The financial situation that this family finds themselves in is in no small part due to the cost of the care that was delivered," he said.

Hope for Daughter's 'Health and Well-Being'

Emily Gomez is back home now. Her family just submitted a new $20,000 claim for her recent stay at Timberline Knolls, which was also denied. So to pay for Emily's treatment, her family had to do something drastic.

"Well it's just really hard when you have to cash your child's college fund in because you can't get your insurance to help you," Leigh Gomez said.

The Gomez family has complained to the North Carolina Department of Insurance, saying its insurer failed to tell the family about treatment options for Emily when they were most needed. The Gomezes are now considering a lawsuit against their insurer for negligence, but Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina says they handled the Gomez's claims properly and did in fact tell the family about their treatment options.

People suffering from eating disorders have won major settlements against their health insurers in court, after arguing in class action lawsuits that the disease is biologically based and that treatment should be adequately covered.

Forty-eight states have some form of parity laws, which force insurers to cover mental health disorders the same way they cover physical disorders, but only 25 of the states have laws that apply specifically to eating disorders, and the state parity laws don't affect all insurance plans, including the Gomez's.

However, a new bill recently introduced in the House of Representatives, called the FREED Act (Federal Response to End Eating Disorders), if it became law, would require insurers offering group health insurance to specifically cover eating disorders.

While the Gomez's insurer wouldn't pay their claims, after "GMA" called the treatment center Emily first stayed at -- Remuda Ranch -- the center offered free residential treatment to her if she ever needs it again.

Leigh Gomez still has hope for a healthy future for Emily.

"I hope she finds a peace of mind," she said. "That she lays down this burden that she has. That she finds health, well-being, and that she takes Broadway by storm."

On October 11, the National Eating Disorders Association will be holding its first New York City walk to raise awareness in Riverside Park.

Project HEAL is a not-for-profit organization that raises money for people suffering from eating disorders and cannot afford treatment. For more information on this organization CLICK HERE. And CLICK HERE to visit to find out how you can get involved in Project HEAL.