Eating Disorders: An Overview

Linda Ciotola, M.Ed., CHES (ret.),TEP
Eating disorders result from a complicated interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors. People with eating disorders are intensely preoccupied with food, weight, and appearance, jeopardizing their health and adversely affecting relationships. Read more

Behaviors and Characteristics

Many of the following behavioral characteristics have been observed among eating-disorder patients

Dieting, restricting, fasting

Bingeing – a typical binge consists of 3,000 to 10,000 calories being ingested between 20-40 minutes

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Diet and Mood

Eating disorders often begin with diet. A person with low self-esteem attempts to feel better by dieting to look slimmer, perhaps in an attempt to conform to the current societal ideal (slender for women; lean and muscular for men).

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Down-to-earth mindfulness: Mindful eating

Active Pause is about the simple, down-to-earth ways in which we step out of “automatic pilot” to be more actively involved in what we do. In other words, we see “mindful” as “engaged” – – the opposite of being disengaged, of doing a task mindlessly. Read more

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FAMILY SCULPTURE IN PSYCHODRAMA: A REPORT

This report was written by the protagonist of the psychodrama described below, who preferred to remain anonymous. Edited slightly and posted by Adam Blatner September 4, 2009.

I was 21 when I came to the Menninger Hospital in Houston, Texas around 2003, to be treated for a case of severe anorexia nervosa. I have reconstructed these events from journal notes and a drawing I made on the day they occurred. I have changed all names for confidentiality, including my own name, here calling myself “Ruby.

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PSYCHODRAMA AND THE TREATMENT OF BULIMIA

Monica Leonie Callahan
This is Chapter 6, pp 101 – 120, in L. M. Hornyak & E. K. Baker (Eds.),
Experiential Therapies for Eating Disorders. New York: Guilford, 1989.)

Since 1981, I have been exploring ways of using psychodrama as part of individual and group psychotherapy with bulimics in an outpatient setting. Almost all of my clients are women; their ages range from the late teens to the early 50s. Psychotherapy is only one part of the treatment..

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A Coping Mechanism

However, getting someone with an eating disorder to treatment is often difficult since persons act upon their eating disorders (restricting, bingeing, purging, etc.) as ways of dealing with emotional distress. Eating disorders are symptoms of underlying emotional distress, a way to numb or distract from underlying painful feelings.

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