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On this page you will find articles on Anorexia and Bulimia, that will help you to understand more about eating disorders.

To read individual articles just click on the below links for each.

(1) Home Treatment for eating Disorders

(2) Can you fight bulimia and other food addictions with natural medicine?

(3) How to Cure Eating Disorders.

(4) Is your child at risk of developing an eating disorder?

(5) Eating Disorders and Prozac

(6) Eating Disorders are the Reverse Side of the Child Obesity Campaign

                                     Home Treatment for Eating Disorders.

As a doctor I have worked with many women struggling with eating disorders. I also a former suffer of anorexia and bulimia myself (this was a main reason why I decided to learn everything I can about these conditions and help other people to recover from it).

I believe that most eating disorders are learned behavior. It can therefore be unlearned. By behavior I mean not only actions but thought process and attitudes as well. As with many behavioral problems, early detection often speeds up the recovery.

Those who admit their eating problem in the early stage and are frightened that they might continue – often are able to change their destructive eating habits with relative ease.

Many of the sufferers I see have already had years of individual psychotherapy. Often their therapists have focused on deep-seated underlying causes, which did not help the women with the here and now. Some sufferers have continued to feel bizarre and alone, even though they were told that their behavior was not uncommon. And there are some who never admitted to their secret eating behavior.

Some therapists favor group therapy but I have found that group therapy are good and helpful until only the certain stage of recovery – the stage of admitting that "Yes, I do have a problem and I do need help." Than, to continue with treatment people should come to group therapy again and again. And here is what happens – they all become friends and get close to each other and understand each other. But to continue with the group you have be a member of it , to say another words you have to stay the same. Other ways if you recover you have to leave, but it is difficult for most of them and they prefer just stay the same.

While it is generally true that women in the early stages of eating disorder recover faster, two factors seem far more relevant. The first involves the level of commitment to change. Second, but of equal importance, are the strategies she employs to overcome eating disorder. What can she do in the face of anxiety?

What can she substitute for binge eating? If the woman can call upon more productive strategies to cope with the stresses of daily life, she is on her way to recovery. The commitment to initiate and maintain personal growth through alternative behaviors is therefore crucial.

The best treatment strategy, in my opinion, is when a person has a special recovery program to follow at home. But this is important to be very persistent and consistent with this kind of program so the role of therapist is actually to make sure that the patient is doing it every day and everything is clear regarding the program.

The best program I recommend my patients is made by Karen Phillips (the lady who treated her daughter from terrible anorexia and bulimia by herself). She wrote a book about the method "Mom Please Help." www.eatingdisorder-institute.com

It is very interesting method which helped many people to recover.

Dr Irina Webster.

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               Can you fight bulimia and other food addictions with natural medicine?

 Bulimics and other food addicts eat compulsively. They can’t stop their compulsion if they have started eating and disregard the consequences of their behaviors.

These people are persistently preoccupied with buying, preparing, cocking and eating food. They also can sneak or steal food, hide the food in their bags, cupboards, draws and other places.

When the food supply is cut off, withdrawal symptoms can occur, including chills, dizziness, headaches, poor concentration, nausea and lethargy.

 A food-related addiction can also be accompanied by co addictions.  Many bulimics may also binge on alcohol or get addicted to prescription drugs or even over-the-counter medications like diuretics and laxatives.

Bulimics may be addicted to cigarettes to help moderate their food cravings.

 The treatment for food addicts and bulimics is complex. Behavioral therapy, family therapy, nutritional therapy and even hospitalization can be used to treat sufferers.

But the most difficult things in the treatment process still remain the coping with cravings to binge or binge and purge during the recovery process. If only you can stop this cravings to overeat! Some sufferers even describe it as little voices in the head which force them to binge. If only you can stop them or at least make them not that strong.

 Many methods have been tried to kick a food addiction. The most beneficial methods are probably the ones which involved changing person’s way of thinking and dealing with emotions. But I also found that some herbal therapy can help you to fight your food addiction also.

These herbs seem to be useful for kicking food addiction: 

Gymnema blocks the taste and metabolism of sugar if consumed before eating. It can quickly help your body stop sugar dependency.

Amla  is rich in nutrients, especially vitamin C. Ayurvedic medicine uses it a lot to help people feel lighter and happier. It is also a mild laxative.

 Alfalfa is also rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. But the main benefit is that it contains enzymes that helps digest the food (for bulimics it is necessary because bulimics have slow digestive processes).

 Ginger stimulates circulation to all parts of the body. Also it improves digestion and gives body more energy.

 Burdock improves fat metabolism and eliminates extra water from the body. It is very beneficial for kidney, liver and bowel function.

 Nettle is a traditional remedy for cellulite. Also eliminates extra water from the body and stimulates blood circulation.

 Dandelion Root improves liver function and metabolism of fat. The leaf is a natural diuretic and is rich in trace minerals, especially potassium.

 Fennel Seed is a natural appetite suppressant and helps to control your cravings for specific foods.

Cola Nut is a stimulant. It contains caffeine and theobromine. It can be used to suppress hunger and mental exhaustion.

 Cinnamon is naturally sweet. It can lower the desire for other sugars. It also improves circulation.

 Cardamom helps to digest grains and dairy products.  It also improves circulation in the digestive system itself.

 St. John’s Wort is a natural antidepressant and anxiety reliever. It can help to stop emotional eating.

Valerian Root is a natural sedative. It also can be used to stop emotional eating.

 Yerba Mate works as an appetite suppressant, an antidepressant and a mild stimulant. It can stop a binging cycle.  It is also rich in nutrients, minerals and vitamins.

 Flaxseed oil can help to stop cravings for fatty food. Take a one tablespoon of this oil daily to stop fat cravings.

 This is only a few of many other herbs that can help to fight food addictions and bulimia.

For more information go to  www.eatingdisorder-institute.com

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      How to Cure Eating Disorders.

 I have been searching for a great treatment to cure Eating Disorders for a long time because I have a close friend whose daughter Amy suffered badly from Anorexia and then Bulimia.

 If you’ve been interested in finding the answer regarding a cure for an Eating Disorders then this article will help you. You know that eating disorders are conditions brought on when a person associate food e.g.: refusing to eat or on the contrary compulsive overeating and throwing up, with a feeling of being in control, pleasure, truth, confidence etc.

 To explain more: the person associates all their good positive feelings, control, pleasure, truth and self-confidence with food. They feel reassured by the control they have over their food intake and use it as a substitute for their lack of control over their feelings in the real world.

 So, the question is – how do you go about changing these distorted associations with food and what must be done exactly to get the sufferer to see other avenues for themselves other than their present conditions and misdirected dependence on food. More importantly can we get the sufferer to change at all?

 The answer is – Yes, we can.

But how can we do it? – We need to change the meaning she/he has attached to food, to break the endless cycle they find themselves in on to a totally different one: difficult yes, but not impossible.

Actually, all successes attributed to Psychotherapy only ever depends on how quickly people can change the meaning they attach to different things in life.

 Here are three Fundamentals to create a new meaning in life (in the case of eating disorder sufferers this is about food and Control):

 1)    Get leverage. This means you have get to the point where you believe you must change, you must change your eating habits and you MUST change it right now. You must believe that not to change will be more painful and that change will bring you pleasure.

 If you only get to the point of thinking that you maybe should change. This is not enough to create a long lasting change in your behavior. Only a definite MUST change will give you leverage.

 2)   Interrupt the pattern.

 This is when you do something totally unexpected in relation to your dominating thoughts in our case food.

 For example, when a bulimic person gets a bit stressed by the end of day or feels uncomfortable regarding something – the first thought reaction for her/him would be binge eat and purge (this is the way for her/him) to get pleasure, control and inner confidence. 

For anorexic – the thoughts of success and looking good and being confident associated with refusing to eat and starving yourself is their way of dealing with things. 

This pattern (thoughts association) needs to be interrupted with some unexpected comment or behaviors which shocks the person into paying more attention to what is going on right here and now in their mind. 

For example, I watch on TV once how one American Psychotherapist breaks the thoughts patterns of people with major phobias. One man had a major phobia with spiders (he saw spiders everywhere and was horrified just with his thoughts about spiders).  

The Psychotherapist asked the guy: ”How do you feel about spiders?”

The man turned pale and looked extremely anxious, and his answer was : “Not very good….” And at this particular moment the Psychotherapist jumped from his chair and started hopping on one foot in front of the man shouting very loudly “Yam, yam, yam, yam “ , making jerky and funny movements with his whole body.

 The man looked stunned, his attention was 100% on the Psychotherapist now, he forgot instantly about his scary feelings regarding spiders. 

After jumping and shouting for a minute Psychotherapist stopped, sit on his chair like nothing had happened (he looked normal and was smiling and happily).  

After a small pause he asks the man again how he feels about spiders. The man did not answer straight away because he actually needed a few seconds more to bring himself to the state of spider phobia again.

During the few seconds when the man was thinking, the Psychotherapist repeated what he did the first time, making the man completely confused of what’s going on. 

The Psychotherapist repeated whole procedure quite a few times (5 or 6). 

What do you think happen to the man? He was completely cured of his phobia, just from one single Psychotherapy section. 

3) Breaking the old associations
 An interview with this man taken a few months later was shown on TV as well. In this interview he said that now he does not have scary feelings about spiders any more and he stop seeing them.

He also said that now if someone mentions to him about spiders he laughs, because he has a different association now, he associate spiders with these funny things the Psychotherapist did during the session where he was caught by surprise and even shocked with what had happened. 

Another American Psychotherapist I know use to splash cold water people’s into faces at the time when people are describing their fears or feelings of bad habits. Again it breaks the association with their habits or phobias.  

So the trick is to get the eating disorder sufferer to break their association with food by interrupting their thought processes when they feel compelled to not eat or eat and purge. You just need to workout the most appropriate time to do it. You may not be able to break their eating disorder with one single session but combined this with other things and it will be of great benefit.   

You can create lots of ways of interrupting someone’s behavioral pattern if you really start thinking about it. 

For more information about treating Eating Disorders (especially Anorexia and Bulimia) go to www.eatingdisorder-institute.com

 

Dr Irina Webster MD

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                            Is your child at risk of developing an eating disorder?

 Therapists normally assure parents that nobody is to blame for a child’s eating disorder and that the causes of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating are not fully known. But scientists have been able to identify the exact risk factors for developing these conditions.

 It was found that there is a strong connection between children avoiding conflict and how they manage their behaviors and their eating disorders.

Eating disorder sufferers tend to have family members who struggle with depression, alcohol dependency, drug abuse, anxiety, perfectionism, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors, or are real goal orientated people with a fixation on succeeding at all costs. It is important for these families where these issues are present to be aware that their children are at risk of developing an eating disorder than children from other families. These kids should avoid dieting at all and should not be nagged to lose weight, as dieting can trigger any genetic predisposition towards an eating disorder.

 Children who diet often are far more likely than non-dieters to develop an eating disorder. When dieting is started it is easy for vulnerable children to become fixated on counting calories and weighting-in all the time. Anorexia and bulimia are followed by obsessive attention to calories, fat content and weight. 

What can family and parents do to help keep their child healthy? The most important things are to encourage frank and honest communication with your child, and create a value system in your family that has your child value their mind, personality and spirit rather than body image.

Being healthy yourself is also extremely important as it sets the best example and a role model for your child. If they take their role models from fashion magazines or TV soap operas where all the people are just perfect, then these susceptible kids are in real trouble. 

What other recommendation can be suitable for parents whose children could be at risk of developing eating disorders?

First it is make sure you understand and educate your child about normal healthy physical changes that happen during puberty. Some kids especially girls can take change and weight gain which is just normal biological change as a sign they are getting fat, so they start excessive dieting, that leads to a eating disorder. 

Second is to help your children develop healthy eating habits: exposure to a good variety of food choices, encourage your child to be involvement in making menus for family, avoiding using food as punishment, reward or for comfort.

Third, always give to your child good feedback and focus your attention and praise on their strengths and achievements.

Forth, discourage dieting and focus on healthy eating. Help your child cope with the media’s barrage of mixed messages. 

And of course always when it is appropriate get help from other people who have the correct knowledge about eating disorders and this is not necessary doctors or the medical fraternity. You only have to look at the readmission statistics over 70% to see that there is a huge problem in that area.

The signs to watch for are: obsessive behavior around food, lying about what they are eating or don’t have time to eat. They also if have difficulty concentrating, suffer heart palpitations, or feeling continually cold and shaky even when it is not really cold.
 

Read about how to deal with eating disorder sufferers on www.eatingdisorder-institute.com

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Eating Disorders and Prozac

Why is it that some people get benefits from this medication and some do not? And should Prozac really be a first line medication for eating disorders?

First, let’s look at the reasons why Prozac as an eating disorder treatment could be effective.
Prozac is an antidepressant. And since up to half of eating disorders sufferers have an additional psychological disorder such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder, Prozac can help a sufferer by treating these disorders.
Also, Prozac is designed to restore and maintain healthy levels of a brain chemical called serotonin, which controls mood, feelings and appetite. So, by controlling mood, feelings and appetite Prozac makes a sufferer feel better and more in control.

So what is the other side to the use of this drug? Not all people who have an eating disorder suffer from depression or have other emotional problems. So, if people take Prozac just to restore and maintain their serotonin level in their brain they develop resistance to the drug and need higher and higher dose of Prozac as time goes by. Then if they stop the medication or decrease the dose they simply slip back to their old eating habits straight away and can also suffer debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

The question arises: how can we make the use of this medication more effective for more people?

Most conventional health care professionals believe that the most effective approach is an integrated treatment strategy: one that uses a combination of Prozac treatment with active counseling to treat an eating disorder. But any counseling treatment should include active self-help, self-education and family therapy.

The problem is many people although on Prozac, fail to control their eating disorder while on their own after returning from the therapist or the clinic, so slip backwards.

People should not think that they can simply walk into a doctor's office and be given a pill and that is the end of it; where suddenly the eating disorder disappears overnight.
This is a sure fire remedy for failure.

If you have been prescribed a pill (like Prozac); you should immediately seek out more education and psychological help regarding your disorder. You have to develop good strategies of self-control, self-evaluation and self-presentation. Without mastering all of these strategies you will always slip back to old eating habits despite the help of Prozac.

Self-help and self-education are important as they teach the sufferer to act while on their own at home, as the eating disorder lives with you at home and not in the doctor’s office.
I suggest you start your self-education and self-help by reading books. One of the best books about eating disorder management and treatment is at www.mom-please-help.com

In conclusion, it is fair to say that Prozac can be very helpful for some eating disorder sufferers, especially for those who combine it with an active behavioral treatment. But there are many others who will not benefit from it at all: due to individual specifics, wrong consumption or other reasons. So learning more about the disorder and seeking other ways to improve yourself could be the right way to win against your eating disorder.

Dr Irina Webster
www.bulimia-cure.com
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Eating Disorders are the Reverse Side of the Child Obesity Campaign.

In 2006 the Australian Government launched a $6 million campaign to reduce Child obesity and the Australian Medical Association (AMA) welcomed the focus on kids' health.

The idea was to focus on junk food and get parents to stop the child from eating fast foods, sweets and other unhealthy foods. TV, radio and newspapers were running government sponsored ads to point out the dangers of these kinds of foods, with the idea to get kids eating more healthy foods.

This at the time seemed a very noble cause as overweight kids are a big problem in all western countries. The government was correct that for these overweight kids there was a great risk to their health from diseases such as diabetes, heart problems and high blood pressure etc, in later life.

What they did not factor in was the psychological effects on these overweight kids and may have inadvertently created a whole new generation of eating disorder victims.

Kids were encouraged to start diet clubs at school and there have been stories of kids being weighed at school, at times in front of the whole class. We learn of incidents of bullying and social isolation of larger children which is another anecdotal trigger for eating disorders.

What has now happened is a lot of these overweight kids are starting to be ostracized by their peers and so much pressure being placed on them that they are starting to suffer from stress and other psychological ailments, like anorexia and bulimia.

What the so call experts in the government ranks forgot was that the child brain is like a giant sponge and very plastic. It absorbs huge amounts of information forming neuronal pathways with the information that is deemed to be important.

So constant teasing and emotional abuse from other kids for being a bit overweight can have a devastating effect on the child and the way they see themselves, or to put it simply their body image.

This added to the fact that the so called perfect body type is the emancipated Hollywood stars and the super thin catwalk models they see in the media: it is easy for the plastic brain of the child to form a distorted view of reality.

Even shows like Australian Idol and American Idol favor the slimmer better looking contestant, with the bigger contestant voted out of the show even if they are fantastic singers. They just don’t fit that TV mode or what a modern singing idol should look like. This is an extremely bad role model for the slightly overweight child or teenager who watches these shows; it sends a lot of false messages to their brain.

The major problem that arises from all this negative bombardment on the child about weight is the fact that it will be formed in a child brain and formed by child logic, e.g. eating food equals becoming fat, equals being teased, equals bad emotions. So the remedy is to stop eating, loose lots of weight and you will be accepted.

When these kids become adults this faulty distorted thinking will be a full blown case of an eating disorder and extremely difficult to treat because it was formed in the plastic brain of a child with child logic and emotions.
 
But luckily there have been major breakthroughs in the treatment of eating disorders using the fact that our brains remain plastic even into adulthood, it is call neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is a method where we are able to form new neuronal pathways by using a set of mental exercises built on new positive emotional input. Once these new pathways have been built and are used instead of the old destructive ones, the old pathways will loose their power: hence the eating disorder will disappear.

Will this be easy for this new generation of eating disorder sufferers to do: no absolutely not. The problem as stated is the fact that these faulty neuronal pathways have been build in the child brain and will be extremely hard to shift.

Unfortunately a lot of children will fail and suffer lifelong eating disorders, but luckily a lot of people will succeed using the neuroplasticity approach. Many more than will succeed with this new approach than the conventional treatment used today to treat eating disorders.

William Webster
http://www.eatingdisorder-cure.com


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