Eating Disorders Part 3: Eating Disorders in the LGBTQ Community

Members of the LGBTQ community experience an array of challenges that pose as risk factors in developing an eating disorder. Many members of the community experience fear of rejection from individuals they are close with and those outside their immediate circle; they often experience verbal or non- verbal violence, PTSD, discrimination, inability to meet the body image ideals within some LGBTQ contexts, internalized homophobia or transphobia, and more. These negative experiences can lead to depression or anxiety, which in turn can result in unhealthy coping mechanisms like an eating disorder. Past research indicates that about 54% of LGBT adolescents have been diagnosed with a full blown eating disorder (ED), and an additional 21% of LGBT adolescents reported they suspected having had an ED at some point in their lives. Further, about 61% of LGBT adolescents in one study reported that they had engaged in at least one disordered eating behavior in the past year. These statistics emphasize the importance of learning about the diverse, root causes of EDs within the community and how they manifest.

EDs manifest differently in the sub- groups of the LGBTQ community, and are experienced at higher rates compared to their straight or cis- gendered counterparts. In one study, adult and adolescent lesbians reported more binge eating, purging, and laxative use than their heterosexual counterparts, as well as the highest rate of binge- eating compared to any other sexual orientation. Lesbian women also report the highest rates of weight- based self- worth, while bisexual women have been found to report the highest levels of eating pathology compared to lesbian and gay men. Further, gay men report a higher likelihood of engaging in exercise with the intention of losing weight, restrictive eating, fasting, bingeing, purging, and diet pill use compared to their heterosexual counterparts. Lastly, transgender and gender- nonconforming youth seem to be at particular risk for developing an ED; this is due to all risk factors mentioned above, as well as conflicting gender identity and being dissatisfied with their body.

Despite these findings and the clear prevalence rate of such pathology within the community, and increased rates in relation to their straight/ cis- gendered counterparts, many members do not seek help. Many LGBTQ individuals fear their therapist or doctor won’t understand the unique problems within their community. In order to increase rates of treatment, we need to strive for cultural competency in which providers understand the unique experiences of LGBTQ individuals that can lead to EDs, and what EDs look like within the subgroups of the community.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://jeatdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40337-020-00327-y

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/lgbtq

https://jeatdisord.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40337-020-00327-y

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/eat.23257

Eating Disorders Part 2: Black Women with Eating Disorders

By: Abby Erasmus

Black women in America have a unique experience; their intersecting identities make them one of the most discriminated- against groups in America, resulting in mental health issues. Eating disorders (ED), for example, are not new within the Black community. Black women live with EDs at similar rates to all ethnic and demographic groups- but often times in the shadows. The majority of ED studies focus on white women. This ignores the fact that ED causes and manifestation can be different in other populations. Further, the most commonly researched ED is Anorexia Nervosa (AN), yet AN is not the typical ED experience of Black women. Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and Bulimia nervosa (BN) are the most common EDs among Black women, with Black girls being 50 times more likely to engage in BN behaviors than white girls. Because BED and BN aren’t frequently researched, they’re harder to correctly diagnose in patients; it is thus highly unlikely Black women will be diagnosed with an ED at all. To increase the likelihood that Black women will be correctly diagnosed and receive treatment, it is important to know the key symptoms of BED and BN. Listed here are some key symptoms:

BED: Recurrent, persistent episodes of binge eating & absence of compensatory behaviors like purging. The binge eating episodes are associated with 3 or more of the following: eating more rapidly than normal, eating until uncomfortably full, eating large amounts when not physically hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment of how much one is eating, feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty after overeating.

BN: Recurrent episodes of binging that are characterized by eating an amount of food within a 2- hour period that is definitively larger than what most people eat in that time period, accompanied by feeling unable to stop eating/ control the amount one is eating & recurrent compensatory behaviors like: self- induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, and more.

Additionally, stigma exists in the Black community in regard to receiving help due to complex stereotypes, histories, etc., and stigma in regard to EDs is dramatized as they are labeled a white woman’s problem. Once we call attention to ED prevalence and manifestation in the community, stigma will be reduced both within and outside of the community. This will then increase the likelihood that Black woman will receive an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment for their ED. Further, when providers are made aware of the daily micro and macro aggressions that can result in poor mental health and potentially maladaptive coping mechanisms like an ED, providers will be prepared to address such issues during sessions. The nuanced narrative of EDs within the Black community must be disseminated.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder,  please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/new-dsm-5-binge-eating-disorder

https://www.centralcoasttreatmentcenter.com/blog-1/invisibility-of-eating-disorders-in-the-black-community-its-more-than-the-eating-disorder-stereotype

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519712/table/ch3.t16/

Beyond “Eating Disorders Don’t Discriminate”

Eating Disorders Part 1: More than Just One Narrative

Eating Disorders Part 1: More than Just One Narrative

By: Abby Erasmus

Eating disorders don’t discriminate; about 1 in 7 male individuals and 1 in 5 female individuals experience an eating disorder by age 40. Girls as young as 8 or 9 are walking into the doctor’s office with cases of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and other types of eating disorders. Individuals regardless of race, class, gender, religion, and sexual orientation can suffer from an eating disorder (ED). EDs are an extremely serious matter; they have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses. Keeping all of this information in mind, it is extremely important to understand and acknowledge that EDs affect all demographic groups and can manifest differently within these groups. Different demographics have complex histories with different cultural backgrounds that can affect how one displays an ED, and why a group develops one. Because people are unaware that different demographic groups experience EDs, stigma often surrounds their diagnosis by both people within their community as well as outside the community. Knowing that EDs have the highest mortality rate, it is our responsibility to reduce the stigma by disseminating information about how EDs affect a wide variety of populations.

The typical narrative of an ED tells the struggle of a white, straight, cis- gender woman. This population does experience EDs, and it’s extremely important to provide them with appropriate help and support; however, this typical narrative leaves out the experience of many other groups of people with EDs and why different demographics might development them. In reality, the rates of EDs are about the same across demographic groups in the United States, but because one narrative is told, other groups are significantly less likely to receive treatment. In a series of blog posts, I will discuss how EDs affect different populations: Black women, the LGBTQ community, Asian American women, Latina Women, and men in general.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/article-abstract/2752577

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/features/changing-face-anorexia

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/people-color-and-eating-disorders#:~:text=Eating%20disorders%20have%20historically%20been,help%20for%20their%20eating%20issues.

Eating Disorders; How Stress Impacts Eating Disorders

By: Jillian Hoff

Stressful situations often can cause individuals to lean on food to cope. When someone has an eating disorder any stressful situation could possibly be one of the triggers for them. It is known that these individuals tend to have an increased desire to binge eat or restrict their diet so that they can feel more in control. This sense of stability to them is a means of a stress reliever. While stress in itself is not healthy for a person, the result of an eating disorder also tends to create problems for a person’s health. Eating disorders can often cause the individual to have a constant worry about their weight and the food that they are eating. At times this constant worry could lead to anxiety, low self-esteem and even depression. It is important especially for individuals who suffer from an eating disorder to find other ways to cope with stress so that they can try to decrease the chance of either binging or restricting food.

Some ways they can cope would to be to have some type of social support system. This would be someone that the individual can talk to at any time whether it is for emotional or financial help. The individual can also choose to focus on calming strategies like meditation or breathing exercises.  Writing down positive messages to yourself would also be a good coping mechanism especially due to the negative thoughts that they might feel due to their eating disorder. Some lifestyle changes could also help. This would include practicing time-management skills so that one does not feel overwhelmed. Also, by trying something new each day it could be used as a way to get your mind off any stressors in your life.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an eating disorder, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.mirasol.net/learning-center/chronic-stress.php

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/binge-eating-disorder/stress-binge-eating-disorder

Eating disorders: How You Can Help a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

Eating Disorders: How You Can Help a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

By: Hallie Katzman

Diet culture and body idealization are staples in society that often encourage people to overthink and become hyperaware of their body image, potentially leading to unhealthy relationships with food and exercise. Due to a combination of genetic and sociocultural factors, unfortunately eating disorders are very common and affect at least 9% of the population. Eating disorders take a strong mental, emotional and physical toll on peoples’ bodies. These symptoms can be scary or distressing for not only the person experiencing the symptoms firsthand, but also for their loved ones. Watching someone you care about struggle can make you feel helpless and worried.

Fortunately, there are supportive ways to help your loved one begin or continue their recovery journey. First, ask them if you can be involved in their eating disorder treatment to let them know that you are there for them and that you support them. Once the supportive, nonjudgmental relationship is fully established, you can consider encouraging them to go to therapy. This could mean group therapy, inpatient therapy or outpatient one on one therapy sessions with a mental health specialist. Additionally, supporting a loved one can be stressful or exhausting. Remember to take care of yourself and your own mental health as well. Be gentle towards your loved one and towards yourself and remember to not lose hope. Recovery is not always a linear process and the road to recovery may not always be easy, but it is possible.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or other mental health concerns, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New Jersey or New York to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at 201-368-3700 or 212-722-1920 to schedule an appointment. Please visit our website http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ for more information.

Sources: https://www.rtor.org/2017/02/07/dos-and-donts-eating-disorder-recovery/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxJqHBhC4ARIsAChq4au6fNUoIaQpHAwoyO3zvaQaUIPU4IdKB3ioYw5c3kEWhV58aJny_iEaAqtuEALw_wcB

https://anad.org/get-informed/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/?gclid=Cj0KCQjwxJqHBhC4ARIsAChq4atr2S1zgAy3MNj0_y9dXTNv7I6ObnrlxezDutSZg5l9CQrMwknDpQcaAlWGEALw_wcB

Image Source: https://unsplash.com/s/photos/support

Mental Health during Pride Month

By Charlotte Arehart

With June finally starting, this means that it is officially Pride Month! Pride Month is celebrated in June in the USA and many other countries. During Pride Month, we celebrate and recognize the impact that  lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer LGBTQ+ individuals have on their communities. We celebrate their history, whether it be locally, nationally, or internationally. Unfortunately, there is a stigma surrounding the LGBTQ+ community regarding mental health. There are a plethora of statistics about LGBTQ+ individuals and mental health, including the fact that members of the community are less likely to seek treatment for mental health, substance abuse, and eating disorders. This is largely due to fear of being discriminated against because of their sexuality. Pride Month is the perfect opportunity to prioritize and learn more about mental health for LGBTQ+ individuals.

There are many barriers that LGBTQ+ individuals face when it comes to finding mental health treatment. Many mental health centers lack culturally-competent or diverse staff and/or treatment. It was not very long ago that homosexuality and bisexuality were themselves considered mental illnesses. This was thought to be true until the 1960’s. Gay men and lesbian women were frequently forced to undergo “treatment” for their sexuality against their will, such as aversion, conversion, and even shock therapies. Also damaging to mental health, LGBTQ+ individuals are at a higher risk for bullying, and sometimes even hateful violent crimes. The best way to help the LGBTQ+ community regarding mental health efforts is to support the community not only through words but through actions. By reducing the stigma around mental health and making LGBTQ+ individuals feel as comfortable as possible, hopefully we can make mental health treatment more accessible for everyone. Luckily, the vast majority of mental health professionals today are accepting and positive towards the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone deserves to have efficient, effective, and professional mental health no matter how they identify as individuals.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

Image Source: https://lgbt-speakers.com/news/top-10-lists/10-lgbt-speakers-for-pride-month-2021

The Importance of Mental Health

By Charlotte Arehart

When thinking about their health, most people only consider the physical state of their bodies. However, it is important that we take our mental health into consideration as well. Not only are these two aspects equally important, but they are actually very closely related. People who have poor mental health are at greater risk of having poor physical health. For example, people who experience depression are at a 50% increased risk of dying from cancer and a 67% increase for heart disease. Stress and anxiety also have a huge impact on the body, affecting the respiratory system, the cardiovascular system, as well as the gastrointestinal system.

Since mental health is so important, why do people usually disregard it? Many people are afraid of the stigma that surrounds mental health. Since you cannot always “see” mental health problems, some people view them as “not real.” Many people fear that others will look at them differently if they seek mental help. They do not want to be seen as emotionally weak. People are especially worried that seeking mental help with affect their careers, however this is not true. In fact, taking proactive steps to help mental health will reduce possible repercussions for the future. It is better to address the issue sooner rather than later, since unchecked mental health symptoms usually worsen over time. If you are experiencing mental health troubles, by no means are you alone. Many mental health issues are actually more prevalent than one would expect. By realizing that there are tons people who are experiencing something similar to them, people may feel better about reaching out for mental health.

If you or someone you know needs mental health support, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/p/physical-health-and-mental-health

https://www.pdhealth.mil/news/blog/reducing-self-stigma-mental-health-important-physical-health

Image Source: https://www.hrcsb.org/may-mental-health-awareness-month/

Eating Disorders: Prevalence in College Students

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, no matter their gender, sexuality, age, or economic status. However, recent studies have shown a surge in occurrences of eating disorders among college students for both men and women. A 2011 study showed that occurrences of eating disorders specifically on college campuses increased from 7.9% to 25% in men, and 23.4% to 32.6% in women over the course of a 13 year period. While there are approximately 30 million people who struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their life, why is it so prevalent among college students?

When entering college, young adults are suddenly being faced with multiple issues that they have never had to face before. They have a new schedule, intense workloads, stress about making friends and getting good grades, as well as a new sense of freedom that they have probably never had until that moment. College life for most students is typically drastically less structured than life at home. In addition to these factors, most public media pushes a thin or slim ideal body type. Typical eating habits of college students also make it difficult for someone with an eating disorder to eat normally. Poor cafeteria food or access to lots of junk food makes it hard for students to maintain normal eating habits. Often times, the new stressors of college will re-surface pre-existing mental illnesses, or even cause new ones to emerge. When all of these factors combine with anxiety and self-esteem issues, it is highly likely that an individual will develop an unhealthy obsession with eating and body weight in an attempt to feel control in a stressful environment.

When someone is diagnosed with an eating disorder, it is important that their family and loved ones support them during this time. Eating disorders are dangerous and deadly; but there are ways to recover. There are specialized treatment centers for eating disorders, as well as the hotline at the National Eating Disorders Association (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline). If someone is developing an eating disorder, it is very beneficial for them to seek therapy as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10640266.2011.584805

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/eating-disorders-on-college-campuses-are-on-the-rise#Eating-disorders-on-the-rise

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Image Source: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/health-science/coronavirus/2020/12/17/387599/for-those-with-eating-disorders-holidays-in-a-pandemic-can-create-extra-anxiety/

Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, ADHD, Et al: How to Support a Friend with Mental Illness

By: Sarah Cohen

When helping a friend with a mental illness, the first step should be assessment of their symptoms. Sometimes they just might be going through a difficult time, but if certain common symptoms associated with mental health issues persist it is imperative to respond sensitively. Majority of the time, friends will just want to know they have your support and that you care about them. A good way to show your support is by talking to them. If you provide a non-judgmental space for them to speak about their issues it will help encourage them to be open with their problems. Let them lead the conversation and don’t pressure them to reveal information. It can be incredibly difficult and painful to speak about these issues and they might not be ready to share everything. If you aren’t their therapist do not diagnose them or make assumptions about how they are feeling, just listen and show you understand. If someone doesn’t want to speak with you, don’t take it personally, just continue to show them you care about their wellbeing and want to help as much as possible. Just knowing they have support can give them the strength they need to contact someone who can help them.

If a friend is having a crisis, such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, you must stay calm. Try not to overwhelm them by asking a lot of questions and confronting them in a public setting. Ask them gently what would be helpful to them right now or reassure them. If they hurt themselves, get first aid as soon as possible. If someone is suicidal, contact the suicide hotline at 800-237-8255 immediately.

The best way to help someone is by connecting them to professional help. By expressing your concern and support you can show them that they can get help and their mental health problems can be treated.

If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/friends-family-members

Mental Illness in Young Adults

By: Melissa Molina

You may think you’re all grown up, you might even be the tallest you’ll ever be at this point in your life but young adults, ages 18 to 29, are still experiencing cognitive development. Brain development does not stop once you reach 18. In fact, the cognitive growth process is only half way done. Parental controls, attending college, changes and experiences that happen to young adults in their early twenties can affect and significantly shape brain development. This is why mental illnesses can present at this time in life. 

Mental Illness envelops a wide assortment of issues that exist on a severity continuum. Some can be brief or temporary reactions to emergency or different encounters, while others are chronic conditions. Mental Illnesses have different causes and triggers and present in different ways.

Mental Illnesses that Commonly Present in Young Adults: 

  • Eating Disorders (anorexia,bulimia, bingeing) 
  • Addiction (opioids, tobacco, alcohol) 
  • Anxiety Disorders (social anxiety, generalized anxiety, phobias) 
  • Personality Disorders (antisocial, borderline personality disorder) 
  • Mood Disorders (bipolar disorders, major depressive disorder) 
  • Thought Disorders (schizophrenia)

Young adults are at a particularly vulnerable time in their development, which might give reason as to why 1 of every 5 is affected by mental illness. Given the right conditions, stress can trigger mental illness. 

Considering young adults’ brains are still developing, diagnosing mental illness and treating or managing it can improve chances of a great outcome. Most young adults with mental illness can learn to successfully manage symptoms and live happy lives with the right help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source: skylandtrail.org/onset-of-mental-illness-first-signs-and-symptoms-in-young-adults/

Image Source: images.app.goo.gl/4DkjJ5zpS5cuFP747