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Eating Disorders

Food Is the Best Medicine for Eating Disorders

Posted on February 22nd, 2017

By Steven Karp, DO, FACN

One of the first questions people struggling with eating disorders ask is how to get these crazy thoughts about food, weight and body image out of their head. What is the best treatment to stop these obsessive thoughts and the compulsive nature of the eating disorder behaviors?   The answer is simple, FOOD, in an adequate variety, quantity and quality so it can restore the body and brain to a healthy nutritional state.

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Disordered Eating During Pregnancy Can Have Devastating Consequences

Posted on March 11th, 2016

Eating disorders are serious illnesses that endanger the long-term health of the people suffering with them. Pregnancy can add an additional layer of concern to disordered eating, because the eating habits of pregnant women affect not only their own health, but also the health of their developing babies. Furthermore, weight gain is critical for most healthy pregnancies, which can cause women with a history of anorexia, bulimia and even binge eating disorder to suffer serious fear and anxiety.

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You Can End Food Addiction for Good

Posted on June 18th, 2015

You Can End Food Addiction for GoodFood addiction is a real problem for many people, and if you are one of those struggling with the disorder, you know how frustrating it is to try to stop eating and to be unable to control your urges. In official terms, this is called binge eating disorder, but it comes with symptoms so similar to drug addiction that many experts consider it a type of addiction. If you struggle with food addiction, you go on binges, eating in a way that is totally out of control, eating to the point of feeling sick, and then feeling depressed and ashamed afterward. It’s a vicious cycle, but it is one that you can end for good.

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Using Food to Relieve Stress Can Lead to Eating Disorders

Posted on April 22nd, 2015

Using Food to Relieve Stress Can Lead to Eating DisordersIt’s the rare person who has never turned to food in times of great stress, be it the proverbial pint of ice cream after a bad break-up or some other soothing indulgence. But some people become too reliant on stress eating, to the extent that it becomes their only means of handling stressful situations.

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Food Addiction vs. Eating Addiction

Posted on March 11th, 2015

Food Addiction vs. Eating AddictionBeing overweight means battling with food and eating every day. Headlines have suggested that sugar is addictive, fat is addictive, salt is addictive and that we can blame junk foods for getting overweight or obese. But is it really the food that has us hooked? Or is it the act of eating itself? New research says that we get addicted to the act of eating, the behavior of binging on food, not on individual types of food or ingredients. A better understanding of the addiction that leads to weight gain could help experts treat patients more effectively.

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What It Feels Like to Be a Food Addict

Posted on February 19th, 2015

What It Feels Like to Be a Food AddictTo many people, food addiction might sound like a joke. To those who battle it every day, it is anything but funny. As researchers delve deeper into the mysteries of the brain and how it responds to food, we are learning that food addiction is a real issue and that it may be underlying the struggle many people have with being overweight or obese. If you have never considered food addiction to be a real possibility, learn what it’s like to obsess about eating day in and day out. 

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5 Addictive Fast Food Ingredients

Posted on January 10th, 2015

5 Addictive Fast Food IngredientsDo you find yourself unable to avoid pulling into a fast food drive-in for lunch? Can you barely resist the urge to get a donut with your coffee? Have you stopped keeping chips in the house because you can’t control how many you eat in one sitting? If you can say yes to these questions, you’re not alone. Most of us find junk food and fast food irresistible, even when we know how harmful they are. These foods are carefully crafted by companies to make you want more. Here are five common fast food ingredients that keep you coming back for more:

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What Is the Overlap Between Eating Disorders and Body Dysmorphic Disorder?

Posted on January 8th, 2015

Impact of the New Criteria for Diagnosing Eating DisordersBody dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a mental health condition that causes affected individuals to negatively focus their attention on minor or nonexistent “flaws” in their physical appearance. The American Psychiatric Association classifies the condition as a close relative of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People affected by eating disorders also commonly have fixations regarding their appearance, but usually base those fixations specifically on weight-related concerns. In a study published in 2013 in the International Journal of Eating Disorders, a German research team sought to determine how many people with eating disorders also have body dysmorphic disorder. The members of this team concluded that significant numbers of people have coexisting cases of an eating disorder and BDD, or have an eating disorder combined with isolated BDD-related symptoms.

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Binge Eating Disorder vs. Bulimia

Posted on December 9th, 2014

1000 caloryThe Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health is the main tool for mental health professionals when diagnosing and treating patients with mental illness. The latest edition, known as DSM-V, included binge eating as a formal diagnosis, rather than its previous categorization as an Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. A recent global study finds that binge eating shares many of the same long-range outcomes as the more well-known eating disorder bulimia.

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Predictors for Eating Disorders Include Excessive Exercise

Posted on November 18th, 2014

Predictors-for-Eating-Disorders-Include-Excessive-ExerciseEating disorders affect over 11 million people in the United States, according to the National Eating Disorder Coalition. Those who suffer from eating disorders are 18 times more likely to die earlier than their peers without an eating disorder. A recent study was conducted to try and predict which individuals are most likely to develop the disorder in order to stop it before it starts.

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Horrible Trends Offer New Ways to Hate Your Body

Posted on October 29th, 2014

Body Image Distortion and BulimiaChances are, the first time you heard the term “thigh gap” it was from someone warning you not to worry about having one. In this world of lightening-fast information dissemination, it can be nearly impossible to trace the course of a term, idea, image, etc., that has gone “viral.” But all to often, it seems that the people professing the greatest concern about something spreading are the ones most responsible for the act of spreading it.

Eating disorder awareness is at an all-time high worldwide, as are diagnoses of eating disorders. This increased awareness almost certainly means that more people suffering from these illnesses are identified and treated. But it also means that the general public sometimes transforms into the eating disorder police, eager to make snap diagnoses of eating disorders for every celebrity who appears to be underweight, and quick to be loudly horrified over the latest body conscious terms that enter the public consciousness. 

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Selective Eating Disorder: You Are What You Don’t Eat

Posted on September 7th, 2014

SelectiveEatingDisorderYouAreWhatYouDontEatThe American Psychiatric Association’s latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which was published in May 2013, includes several disorders and syndromes that were not recognized as real mental illnesses in the past. One of these newly recognized conditions is avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder —which is more commonly known as selective eating disorder.

A condition that first appears in early childhood, selective eating disorder is sometimes referred to simply as “picky eating,” but the use of this phrase is highly misleading. While it is not uncommon for toddlers to be fussy about food and to refuse to eat certain dishes, selective eating disorder, or SED, is a much more extreme condition that causes those suffering from it to reject all but a very small sampling of the foods they are offered. In fact, SED victims will routinely reject entire food groups such as vegetables or meats, apparently because they are revolted by the texture, smell, or appearance of those items and cannot bear the thought of chewing and swallowing them.

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Risk of Food Addiction Soars in Women Abused as Children

Posted on September 4th, 2014

RiskofFoodAddictionSoarsinWomenAbusedasChildrenFood addiction is almost twice as common in women who were abused physically or sexually as children, according to a recent study. Being dependent on food is more than simply fulfilling your desire for sustenance; it’s when sugary, fatty and salty foods are used like a drug due to their ability to stimulate the release of dopamine. It can be simply described as “comfort eating” in the extreme, leading to trouble functioning, problems in relationships and having close links to the development of obesity. Finding out about the underlying mechanisms in food addiction is essential due to the potential physical and psychological consequences of food addiction, and the new research indicates that childhood abuse may be a key risk factor. 

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