Sunday Smörgåsbord

It's once again time for your weekly Sunday Smorgasbord, where I trawl the web in search of the latest ED-related news, research, and more, so you don't have to.

The imagination diet: People who imagined indulging in sweet/salty foods ended up eating less of the actual food. It's interesting to think that one of the symptoms of starvation (obsession with food) might actually make it easier to go without food. It makes evolutionary sense--there's no point in wanting to eat if there's nothing to eat.

Gene-environment interaction in anorexia nervosa: relevance of non-shared environment and the serotonin transporter gene.

Eating Disorders in Pregnancy - Risk of Miscarriage.

New Study Questions Parents' Influence on Their Children's Eating Habits--suggests it's limited.

Body image and eating disorder symptoms in sexual minority men: A test and extension of objectification theory.

New study of 4 holiday gifter profiles + what constitutes a "great" gift. Also, my gift picks for the scientists and geeks in your life.

Ballet's big fat body issues.

Body dissatisfaction, ethnic identity, and disordered eating among African American women.

Intuitive Eaters' Holiday Bill of Rights.

A systematic review and meta-analysis of cognitive bias to food stimuli in people with disordered eating behaviour.

Eating disorders a problem among Orthodox Jews.

Battling Anorexia: When Parents Take Control.

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hm said...

The Imagination Diet suggests that perhaps people can learn to conquer a craving for an addiction by focusing obsessively on it and imagining indulging in it repeatedly- for those practitioners who call an ED an "addiction" I don't think this study fits- seems like a person can obsess about starving like mad and only crave it more- I get frustrated when people say an ED is an addiction- are you born predisposed to smoke cigarettes? I don't know- I'm just thinking that this type of study further separates EDs from addictions, and demands that they be treated differently-

Fellow OCD Sufferer said...

Carrie, I absolutely LOVE your science nerd gift picks!! And while I love them all my faves are definitely the cheery holiday spirited microbes and the uber nerdy jewelry depicting molecular structures. Ah, I love it! I can see myself getting birthday and holiday gift ideas from these sites for quite some time in the future.

Thank you! You're article and the links you provided made my day!

Katie said...

Hi Carrie,

I'm an editor with Mental Help Net ( and I'd like to talk to you about possibly having you blog with us. I couldn't find any contact info on your site. If you are interested in more details, please contact me at katie AT centersite DOT net and I'll send you the info I would have sent directly to you if I could find an email address. Thanks and hope to hear from you!

Katie said...

I'm going to disagree with hm, because I think some people can be predisposed to become addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, self harm, eating behaviours, or anything else which changes their state of mind. My self harm and anorexia always felt like addictions to me, because it was the behaviours rather than the effects of the behaviours that I craves - the biological effect of restriction rather than the weight loss. I would defend my definition of them as addictions from anyone, because for me, they are.

Katie said...

lol, craveD, not craves. It is late and my brain is fried (nothing new there :P )

hm said...

I wonder if the question of calling an ED an "addiction" might rest differently with different people. People are born with addictive traits, certainly, but not with addictions (unless there is already crack or something from the mother in their bloodstream- even then it is the crack, not the DNA, creating the addiction). An addiction begins because something is introduced to the body or mind that then creates a craving for that thing, and then an addictive cycle ensues. But a mental disorder is not something that is introduced- it's just there, written in the genes. I do not remember a time in my life when I did not have this disorder- ever. Not when I was grown, mid-sized, or a little child.

I do see that my urges/relapses/struggles mirror those of a junkie- but I feel my struggle is trivialized when it is referred to as an addiction rather than a disorder. However, these are simply reflections of my own journey, not anyone else's- I do not at all contend with anyone that it might very well feel like an addiction to them, or be an actual addiction for them. Further, I acknowledge the addictive components this disorder has even in myself. Just saying that, for me, it's not as simple as that.

Carrie Arnold said...

I think there are many parallels between EDs and addictions, and I think many people struggle with both. There are definitely addictive aspects to my eating disorder (exercise, purging, etc).

The thing is, I'm not exactly sure what people mean when they say "addiction." Some people say they are addicted to Sudoku puzzles, which can make sense in a popular context, but is it possible to be addicted to Sudoku? It's something that neuroscientists are struggling with. Addiction had previously been defined as something that was chemical--alcohol, cocaine, caffeine, nicotine, and so on. But now we are thinking about behaviors as being addictive--sex, gambling, computer games--which complicates how we define addiction.

My point in saying all this is that no one has any firm answers. I know people who find tremendous comfort and meaning in thinking of their ED as an addiction. Others don't. There is no right or wrong here--both views are correct.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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