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: 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/

Body Image: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Image: Body Dysmorphic Disorder
By Kaitlyn Choi

Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of obsessive-compulsive disorder that is marked by fixation on one’s imaginary or minor physical flaws. People who have body dysmorphia are overly worried about what are perceived as overt imperfections in their appearance. They continue to experience negative and anxious thoughts about their face, hair, and/or body. However, in reality, these perceived flaws are hardly noticeable by other people; there may not be any “defect” in their physical appearance at all. The amount of concern experienced by the individual is considerably disproportionate to the flaw they are obsessing over.

Symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder include preoccupation to the point of significant distress, impairment in functioning, or isolating oneself due to self-consciousness and insecurity. Moreover, people with body dysmorphia exhibit performance of repetitive behaviors such as mirror checking, excessive grooming, and skin picking. They may also seek reassurance from other people and compare their appearance with that of others throughout the day. Because they believe their physical flaw is so gross and noticeable, they may constantly try to “fix” these flaws by consulting with plastic surgeons or cosmetic professionals.

Primary treatments for body dysmorphic disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication. The goal of treatment is to recognize the triggers of the behaviors/thoughts, to improve management of the stress experienced, and to help patients learn to view themselves in a non-judgmental way.

In a society that glorifies only certain face and body types, many individuals can feel overwrought about their appearance and consequently experience symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder. It is crucial that individuals learn to love themselves and perceive themselves in a self-encouraging manner.

If you or someone you know is struggling with body image or body dysmorphia, 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.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/body-dysmorphic-disorder
https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9888-body-dysmorphic-disorder

Image Source:
https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-related-body-dysmorphic-disorder/

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

The Effect of Social Media and Eating Disorders

By: Sarah Cohen

Eating disorders are extremely serious and often deadly illnesses that include severe disturbances in eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. There have been numerous studies in which mass media consumption of the “thin ideal body” has been linked to eating disorders among women. Pressure from media has led to women and men internalizing the “thin ideal body” and led to extreme body dissatisfaction which can then lead to eating disorders. While the effect is smaller among men, they are still being subjected to pressure.

Studies have shown “significant change in the weight and size of female and male models portrayed throughout the media in western society and the concept of the ‘perfect or ideal body’.” This explains “why many adolescents are preoccupied with their bodies and dissatisfied with their body image and are willing to try a variety of dangerous weight-loss practices in their quest for the perfect body.”

Most people are usually not aware the amount of manipulation and digital editing done in the fashion industry to create ‘ideal’ female and male bodies. These false images encourage unrealistic and unhealthy standards that are impossible to attain. One study focused on body concerns in girls 16 years old and tried to understand the underlying motivations to be skinny. The element that exerted the largest pressure to be smaller was the media. Another study measured indicators of eating disorders in a population of young Fijian girls after the addition of Western television to their routine. The indicators of eating disorders were exceptionally more prevalent after extended television viewing, demonstrating a negative impact of media. A large component of the data recorded was the theme of subjects describing a new interest in weight loss as a method of modelling themselves after the television characters they viewed.

In order to prevent the effect of social media on disordered eating, here are three tips: choose what media you view and participate in carefully, limit the amount of exposure you have, and test each media’s message for body positivity by asking critical questions about what information they are attempting to spread.

If you or someone you know needs support with their marriage, 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.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792687/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2792687/

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/media-eating-disorders

Tiggemann M, Gardiner M, Slater A. “I would rather be size 10 than have straight A’s”: A focus group study of adolescent girls’ wish to be thinner. J Adolesc. 2000;23:645–59.

Becker AE, Burwell RA, Gilman SE, Herzog DB, Hamburg P. Eating behaviours and attitudes following exposure to television among ethnic Fijian adolescent girls. Br J Psychiatry. 2002;180:509–14.

Orthorexia Nervosa: an eating disorder in disguise

By Argie Dabrowski

Eating disorders are characterized by unhealthy relationships with food, whether it be excessive or restricted intake or cycles of binging and purging. The most common eating disorders today are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Orthorexia nervosa is a proposed eating disorder that, paradoxically, revolves around healthy eating. Orthorexic people are not focused on losing weight. Instead, they are trying to achieve the perfect diet, which they believe will be the solution to all of their problems.

Although not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, orthorexia nervosa has been the topic of many studies and can still be as dangerous as more well-known eating disorders. Those with orthorexia only eat food that fits their standards, such as only containing whole grains or being vegan. This means that they avoid many foods that they see as unclean or unhealthy. Some orthorexic individuals also avoid foods they believe they are allergic too, without actual advice from medical professionals.

At its core, orthorexia is an obsession and those who suffer from it are not simply eating healthy but revolving their entire lives around what and when they eat. Those who have orthorexia have described being completely fixated on food, making it difficult for them to maintain healthy social relationships. These people often avoid social events that involve eating, such as parties, because the food served may not meet their criteria for “healthy” eating. They connect their rigid diet to mortality, as well. Because of this, when failing to meet the standards of their rigid diets, these people feel immense guilt and anxiety.

Besides weight loss, orthorexic people often experience isolation due to the aforementioned social strains. This can lead to depression and further anxiety. Orthorexia nervosa is often clinically treated in a similar manner to anorexia nervosa and obsessive compulsive disorder, which is through exposure to avoided foods.

If you or someone you know needs support 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:
pro.psychcentral.com/3-warning-signs-that-a-patient-might-be-struggling-with-orthorexia/
psychcentral.com/blog/understanding-orthorexia/
pro.psychcentral.com/orthorexia-nervosa-disease-that-masquerades-as-health/
nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/other/orthorexia

Image Source:
ojo.pe/mujer/el-color-de-los-vegetales-280442-noticia/

Anorexia: Silent Suffering

By: Elyse Ganss

Anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to as anorexia, is an eating disorder that includes symptoms of often an extremely low body weight, a fear of gaining weight, and body dysmorphia. People suffering from anorexia are usually consumed by thoughts of their body image.

Extreme focus on weight and shape is experienced by those who have anorexia. This often leads to a dangerous restriction of calories to lose and restrict weight. Those suffering from anorexia may excessively exercise, consume laxatives, or vomit after eating to stop weight gain. Even when the person suffering from anorexia reaches an extremely thin and unhealthy body weight/shape, they will not stop the restriction of food.

Anorexia can have serious health complications including heart problems, bone loss, infertility, kidney problems, and more. Anorexia is common with people who have perfectionist/high-achieving personality types. People suffering from anorexia feel as though they gain a sense of control by restricting their intake of food.

Anorexia can be undiagnosed for a long time if symptoms are not detected. It is common for people with anorexia to deny their eating disorder and not want to seek help. By meeting with a therapist, treatment plans can be established. Normally this would include a plan to get the person to a healthy weight, finding out what emotional issues the person is having, and changing their thought processes/outlook on their body image.

If you or someone you know needs support 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.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anorexia-nervosa/symptoms-causes/syc=2-353591

https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/eating-disorders/anorexia-nervosa/default.htm

Image Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/science-practice/202002/therapy-can-help-even-those-who-did-not-benefit

Binge Eating Disorder: Know the Signs

secreteating

Binge Eating Disorder: Know the Signs

By Jessica Burgess

It is Tuesday night and Jocelyn has sat down after a long day of work and has just finished dinner. She feels a sudden urge to eat two pork chops, a mound of potatoes, and half a pan of the cornbread she had planned to stretch out for the next week with her family. When she is done, she goes to the store and replaces the pan of cornbread before her husband comes home and sees. She feels uncomfortably full, ashamed, and depressed. Why can’t she control her eating?

Jocelyn and many people like her, suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (BED), an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of overeating, usually quickly until the person is overly full. It is not related to hunger and, in fact, some sufferers are not hungry when the binge begins. People with BED, unlike those with bulimia, tend to not compensate for overeating by purging and BED occurs separately from bulimia or anorexia. Episodes of Binge Eating Disorder are characterized by:

  • Eating, in a certain period of time, more food than most people would eat during that time period
  • And a sense of lack of control during the episode

Episodes also tend to include:

  • Eating faster than normal
  • Eating alone due to embarrassment
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or guilty after an episode

 

If you or someone you know is suffering from binge eating disorder, speak with one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists. Contact us at our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 respectively to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Source: https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/by-eating-disorder/bed

Image: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&id=F2C76AFE8AC6C4FF8D667FDD533D889D451488BE&thid=OIP.dKasBi7oeYi1Epsf0KKDcgHaLG&mediaurl=http%3A%2F%2Fblogs.psychcentral.com%2Fnlp%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F11%2Fsecreteating.jpg&exph=499&expw=333&q=Secret+Eating&selectedindex=0&ajaxhist=0&vt=0&eim=1,2,6

Anorexia and Amenorrhea: How Anorexia can be the Reason for Losing your Period

By: Sanjita Ekhelikar

Eating disorders are ruthless mental illnesses which severely impact on one’s mental and physical well-being. One such eating disorder is Anorexia Nervosa. This ailment is characterized by a severely distorted body image, a fear of gaining weight, extreme starvation and restriction of food intake, and a very low body weight. This deprivation of food and nutrients can have detrimental effects to the body. Anorexia Nervosa is primarily prevalent among younger females, although impacting males as well. One side effect of this eating disorder in females is amenorrhea, or losing one’s menstrual cycle.

Amenorrhea can be classified into two forms: primary and secondary. Primary amenorrhea occurs when a female does not begin her menstrual cycle by sixteen years of age. Secondary amenorrhea, loss of the menstrual cycle after it has already begun, is prevalent in many females with anorexia nervosa. The loss of one’s period can be attributed to low body weight, extreme amounts of exercise, and greater stress levels. The loss of such a regulated bodily cycle in a female’s body is dangerous, and can indicate the severity of and impairment caused by anorexia nervosa.

If amenorrhea and the underlying causes of its occurrence are not addressed, women are at risk of becoming infertile. In addition, the levels of estrogen decrease in the female body, leading to the development of pre-menopausal symptoms including loss of sleep, night sweats, and irritable moods. Finally, amenorrhea and the resulting reduction in estrogen can deplete amounts of calcium, thus making bones brittle and more susceptible to breakage. This can even occur in younger women with anorexia who are struggling through amenorrhea.

It is imperative that one seeks treatment if they are struggling with Anorexia Nervosa, and especially if one is also experiencing amenorrhea. Therapy and medication can be of assistance in overcoming this disorder, and in restoring one’s menstrual and mental well-being.

If you or someone you know is dealing with Anorexia Nervosa and/or amenorrhea, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry 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/.