Sunday, July 5, 2009

Anxiety Disorders Risk Factor for Eating Problems

The results of a new study indicate that many individuals who suffer from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and other anxiety disorders may also suffer from disordered eating.

Dr. Lynne Drummond, a consultant psychiatrist at St. George's NHS Mental Health Trust and South West London, gathered data from individuals suffering from severe OCD who were referred to a specialist unit to receive treatment. Dr. Drummond also collected data from another group of individuals who were referred to the same unit for treatment of other anxiety disorders.

Interestingly, the study showed that one-fifth of individuals who suffered from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder also suffered from disordered eating behavior. Additionally, one-third of individuals with other types of anxiety disorders suffered from disordered eating.

Dr. Drummond suggests that clinicians should be aware that individuals suffering from anxiety disorders may also be suffering from an eating disorder or disordered eating. These individuals should be assessed for possible eating problems, the study suggests.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Family Systems Therapy Versus the Maudsley Approach for Treating Anorexia in Adolescents

A new study will compare the effectiveness of Family Systems Therapy versus Behavioral Family Therapy (also known as the Maudsley Approach) for treating anorexia nervosa in adolescents aged 12-18 years old.

Individuals with anorexia nervosa have an intense fear of gaining weight, even though they are underweight, refuse to maintain weight that is 85% of their expected weight given their height and age, have a distorted body image, and miss three consecutive menstrual cycles in a row (for females). Anorexia is a life-threatening illness and has a high morbidity rate.

Both of the therapies that will be examined in the study involve the use of the family in treatment. In the Maudsley Approach, the individual suffering with anorexia attends therapy sessions with his or her parents and siblings. Parents work with the therapist in order to figure out what types of foods and how much of these foods must be consumed in order for the affected individual to gain a healthy amount of weight back. Parents must supervise every meal and work at ensuring that each meal is completed. Siblings are encouraged to act as a support system to the affected individual. Once the affected individual has regained a healthy amount of weight, he or she is gradually granted increasing responsibility for choosing his or her own meals again. Additionally, once a healthy weight has been reached, family and developmental issues are addressed in therapy.

In Family Systems Therapy, family members can address any family stressors or problematic communication patterns during therapy sessions.

Two-hundred and forty adolescents aged 12-18 years old are being recruited to participate in this study. All participants must be between 75-87% of their healthy body weight, and medically stable. All families will be randomly assigned to participate in the Maudsley Approach or Family Systems Therapy for nine months. Each family will attend weekly therapy sessions for the first 7-8 weeks of the study, followed by six bi-weekly sessions, and finally monthly therapy sessions for the remainder of the study.

The study will be taking place at six different locations: New York Presbyterian/Westchester, Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore, University of Toronto, Stanford University in Palo Alto, Washington University in St. Louis, and University of California in San Diego.

If you are interested in participating in this study, you can e-mail the study's coordinator, Samantha Berthod at:

Monday, March 23, 2009

The New Face of Bulimia Nervosa

Researchers have generally believed bulimia nervosa affects predominantly white, affluent women. However, a recent study indicates this may not, in fact, be the case. Bulimia nervosa, may rather affect mostly black woman and those with lower incomes.

USC economist Michelle Goeree as well as fellow economists John Ham from the University of Maryland and Daniela Iorio from the Universitat de Autonoma in Barcelona Spain conducted a 10-year survey with more than 2,300 girls in schools in California, Washington, D.C., and Ohio to determine who really is affected by bulimia. Starting at age 9 or 10 years old the participants were surveyed every year regarding their eating habits as well as psychological characteristics that often accompany bulimia, such as depression and body image.

The results showed that black girls were 50% more likely to suffer from bulimic behavior, including binging and purging, than white girls. More specifically, while 1.7% of white girls were clinically bulimic, 2.6% of black girls were clinically bulimic. Overall, approximately 2.2% of all girls who were surveyed were clinically bulimic, which is close to the national average. Black girls also scored higher on a commonly used index to gage the severity of bulimia.

Bulimia was present among 1.5% of girls who had at least one parent with a college education. However, 3.3% of girls with parents with a high school diploma or less suffered from bulimia.

Finally, girls who had the lowest incomes were significantly more likely to suffer from bulimia than those in the highest income brackets.

The researchers assert that most studies of bulimia get their data from hospitals. Those who are able to be treated in a hospital are most often those who have good insurance and/or can pay out of pocket for eating disorder treatment. Those who have low income or who do not have a lot of education may not have insurance or may not be able to afford eating disorder treatment.

The researchers argue that bulimia may be better off classified as an addiction, given the presence of bulimia among lower income and less educated individuals. This way, they argue, more federal, state, and local treatment programs can be created for bulimia and the out-of-pocket costs to families can be reduced.


Psych Central: Black Girls At Risk for Bulimia

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Donation Button

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all having a good week so far!

Like many others, I am struggling in this tough economy. While I receive Disability benefits due to my health condition, it fails to fully cover life's expenses. If you enjoy this blog (or any of my other blogs) or if this blog has ever helped you in any way, perhaps you may consider making a donation to support my blog. Perhaps you want to buy me a gallon of milk, lunch, or some cat food for my companion cats. There is no donation that's too small, and all donations to support my blog and my writing career will be greatly appreciated.

If you wish to donate at any time, please do so by clicking on the, "Donate," button on the sidebar (to the right). Thank you so much for reading my updates. I hope you enjoy them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Self-Injury Study Needs Participants - Compensation Offered

I'm going to try to post here more often. I really miss posting on this blog, and I miss helping people with the info provided here - or at least I *hope* it has helped someone.

This came from a researcher. Please spread the word if you feel like it or get the chance!

Would you like to help us understand how to help people who self-harm?

Self-injury (sometimes called “self-harm”) involves harming yourself on purpose. Some examples include cutting or burning yourself, taking an overdose of pills, or banging your head. Right now, very little is known about why people start or stop self-harming. The Personality and Emotion Research Lab (PERL), a research team from Simon Fraser University in Canada, is conducting a study to learn more about the experiences of people who self-harm, and we want your help! We are interested in how emotions, life experiences, stress and coping styles affect self-harm. We hope that this research will help other people understand more about why people self-harm and what they can do to help.

What you can do: If you want to participate in this study, you will fill out online questionnaires on self-harm, emotions, coping, symptoms, and life events. These questionnaires will take approximately 2 hours to complete.

Who can participate: We are looking for people who currently self-harm (whether you are trying to stop or not) AND those who have self-harmed in the past and quit.

What’s in it for you: Participants who complete the questionnaires will be paid $5 CAD (either online gift certificates (e.g., Amazon) or money transfers via PayPal). You can also choose to participate in our long-term study, where you will fill out a shorter version of the questionnaires every three months for two years. You will be paid $5 CAD (either online gift certificates or money) each time you complete a set of questionnaires (about 30 min each), and you will get a $15 CAD bonus once you have completed all 9 sets for a total of $60 CAD. Telling us about your experiences will give us important information on how self-harm changes over time, and could help develop and improve treatments for people who want to stop self-harming.

Please contact us at if you are interested in participating or if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Personality and Emotion Research Laboratory (PERL)

Simon Fraser University

Department of PsychologyRCB5246, 8888
University DriveBurnaby, BC, Canada V5A 1S6