Eating disorders are frequently seen as psychological or societal diseases, but do they have an underlying biological cause? A new study shows that the levels of a brain protein differ between healthy and anorexic women. Anorexia is a serious and occasionally fatal eating disorder most commonly affecting women. Scientists do not yet understand the physical causes of anorexia, though some studies suggest a link to low levels of a brain protein called BDNF. Now, a study recommended by Cynthia Bulik, a member of Faculty of 1000 Medicine and leading expert in the field of psychiatry and eating disorders, shows that BDNF levels are higher in women who have recovered from anorexia.
A German study published in the current issue of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics addresses the differences between inpatient versus day clinic treatment of bulimia nervosa. In bulimia nervosa, more intense treatments are recommended if outpatient treatment fails. This is the first randomized controlled trial comparing the options of inpatient versus day clinic treatment. Patients with severe bulimia nervosa were randomly assigned to inpatient or day clinic treatment of similar length and intensity. Specific and general psychopathology was assessed at the end of treatment and a 3-month follow-up. Fifty-five patients were randomized; 22 day clinic patients and 21 inpatients started the program.
Young heterosexual men are falling prey to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia just as much as women and gay men - and their numbers are increasing, a leading specialist has warned. Dr John Morgan, a consultant psychiatrist and director of the Yorkshire Centre for Eating Disorders in Leeds, told the Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Liverpool that growing numbers of young men are increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies. In addition, the gap in the numbers of gay and straight men with eating disorders is closing. Dr Morgan told Annual Meeting delegates that men are: - less likely to recognise their eating disorder - more likely to be mis-diagnosed with other mental health problems such as depression and schizophrenia - less likely to be given treatment - less likely to be referred to a special eating disorder clinic.
Doctors and other health workers should be more aware of the high risk of eating disorders among people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and other anxiety disorders. According to new research presented today at the Royal College of Psychiatrists' 2009 Annual Meeting, as many as one in five people with OCD could also have some form of disordered eating. In addition, disordered eating may occur in as many as one in three patients with other anxiety disorders. OCD is a serious anxiety-related condition that affects 2-3% of the adult population. People with severe OCD may find it difficult to work regularly, or even take part in their family or social life.
Everyone checks their body to some extent, but many people with eating disorders repeatedly check their body and often in a way that's unusual. Sometimes body and weight checking becomes second nature and many individuals with eating disorders don't even realize they're doing it, " said Dena Cabrera, PsyD, psychologist at Remuda Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders. "Commonly, they check to feel for fatness, bones and any physical change in their body to subconsciously or consciously motivate their eating disorder behavior." Many individuals with eating disorders weigh themselves at frequent intervals, sometimes many times a day. As a result they become obsessed with the daily weight fluctuations that are a normal part of the body and would otherwise pass unnoticed.
People who feel pressure to look attractive are more fearful of being rejected because of their appearance than are their peers, according to a new study by researchers at the University at Buffalo and the University of Kent. The study of appearance-based rejection sensitivity among college students was conducted by Lora Park, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and graduate student Ann Marie DiRaddo, of the University at Buffalo, and Rachel Calogero, Ph.D., a lecturer in psychology at the University of Kent. It was published in the spring edition of Psychology of Women Quarterly (Vo. 33, Issue 1), a publication of the American Psychological Association.