Dec 04, 2012
Have you struggled with Anorexia? Do you live in the Massachusetts area? Interested in helping with some eating disorder research? The advantages of the helping with a research study for eating disorders is the more research there is, the more the disease can be understood and treated as a disease. The more understood the disease is, the more progress can be made in getting insurance companies to cover treatment. Interested? Detalis below:
The Neuroendocrine Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital is conducting an important research study that focuses on the effects of anorexia nervosa on peak bone mass. Please review and pass along to any one you may know in the Massachusetts area that may also be interested in participating in this research study.
The young adult years are a very important time to build bones in order to help prevent future fractures. Two hormones that help build bones during this time are estrogen and insulin. These hormones increase and peak during the years of puberty, and contribute greatly to building bone. These two hormones are also extremely important for both bone formation and preservation. Low weight and/or nutritional restriction due to anorexia can lead to low levels of these two hormones. Girls and young women with anorexia are at an increased risk for low bone mineral density as well as fractures. We have previously shown that small replacement doses of estrogen help prevent further bone loss in girls with anorexia nervosa. However, bone density does not become normal, likely because of a persistent deficiency of other hormones such as insulin. This study will assess whether adding insulin to estrogen replacement is effective in further increasing and potentially normalizing bone density young women with anorexia nervosa.
The study involves:
· Coming to Massachusetts General Hospital for a visit to assess whether you or not you are eligible for the study. This consists of a medical and hormonal evaluation, as well as a bone density test. All of this would be performed at no cost to you.
· The results will be available to be shared and discussed with you, and if you wish, the results can also be shared with your doctor.
If you are eligible for the study and would like to participate, you will be asked to:
· Take a replacement dose of estrogen using a patch that sticks to your skin (which would be approximately the size of a postage stamp) and delivers estrogen that is absorbed through the skin.You will be asked to apply this patch twice a week.
· You will also be asked to take another hormone called progesterone for 10 days of every month,
· You will be asked to take calcium and vitamin D supplement.
· You will be randomized (assigned by chance, like the flip of a coin) to receive either replacement doses of IGF-1 replacement or placebo (no active medication).
· You will be asked to take these medications for twelve months.
· There will be 11 total study visits (10 visits, including the screening visit to assess eligibility, take place during the initial twelve months and an additional visit is scheduled one year later). Some of these visits can be completed with a local physician if travel to Massachusetts General Hospital is difficult. Bone density tests will be performed at the start, middle, and end of the trial.
· A stipend is not provided for the screening visit; however, you will receive $75 per study visit (after the screening visit) for a total of $750 at completion of the study. The cost of parking/public transportation is covered for each visit to Massachusetts General Hospital.
If you are interested in learning more about the study,
Study Research Coordinator, Hannah Clarke,
Study MD, Dr. Madhusmita Misra
May 21, 2012
The lifesaving value of trusting your gut and following your intuition.
Our goal at The Victorian is to get our clients to distinguish between “eating disorder thinking” and “wise thinking.” From there we counsel the clients in how to act on wise thinking. Many come in with hard set patterns of acting out in their eating disorder thinking. Changing these patterns is difficult, but worth watching the clients start to trust themselves. Years of mistakes and poor choices make the clients uneasy trusting themselves; often we refer to “Trusing your gut.” We ask the clients, “What does your gut say the answer is?”
According to Antoine Bechara, PhD, an associate professor of neurology at the University of Iowa, “People treat intuition like it’s a dirty word, but it’s actually one of the body’s survival mechanisms. It’s a means of taking you away from danger and steering you toward what is good for you.”
Gradually, the science of intuition is shaking off its woo-woo connotations as experts become more sophisticated in understanding where it comes from and how to measure it. They’re also increasingly confident that most of us have substantial talent for intuition, and that it influences us more than we realize. “Assuming everything your emotional world is stable,” says Oliver Turnbull, PhD, a professor of psychology and researcher at the University of Wales Center for Cognitive Neuroscience in the United Kingdom, “you shouldn’t have to force yourself to ‘listen’ to your intuition. It’s already there.” Yet many of ignore this tool – or worse, respond to urges of a misguided imagination. Fine-tuning your intuition will help you make better decisions whether you’re buying a car, making new acquaintances, or solving problems at work. It could even save your life.
Aug 16, 2010
From the National Institute of Mental Health, here are some eating disorder statistics.
Percent of Population
In their lifetime, an estimated 0.6 percent of the adult population in the U.S. will suffer from anorexia, 1.0 percent from bulimia, and 2.8 percent from a binge eating disorder.
Women are Affected More
Women are much more likely than males to develop an eating disorder. They are three times as likely to experience anorexia (0.9 percent of women vs. 0.3 percent of men) and bulimia (1.5 percent of women vs. 0.5 percent of men) during their life.
Women are also 75 percent more likely to have a binge eating disorder (3.5 percent of women vs. 2.0 percent of men).
A Deadly Disorder
The mortality rate among people with anorexia has been estimated at 0.56 percent per year, or approximately 5.6 percent per decade, which is about 12 times higher than the annual death rate due to all causes of death among females ages 15-24 in the general population.
Contact The Victorian by Calling 888-268-9182 for a confidential assessment and have your questions answered by one of our caring intake counselors. Don't wait, eating disorders are deadly.
Mar 30, 2010
Anorexia is a full-time, over-time, no chit chat time, no vacation time or holiday time job. If you know an Anorexic she definitely ain’t lazy.
Try and imagine a slave working in a sweat shop, 24 hours a day in the blistering heat with no food, just coffee to suppress her appetite. Yep, that’s us, Anorexics…blistering and starving with a smile! Seriously though, a sweat shop may sound kind of harsh, but Anorexia is an experience beyond any hellacious 24-7 job and as the Eating Disorder progresses the demands of the day escalate even more. Keeping master “ED” happy with a gaunt body yet appear to be sound and healthy to everyone else is time consuming.
Here’s a look at what Anorexic days look like…waking up to hunger pains which are numbed with appetite suppressants…. The ritual weighing in “How fat I am” happens right out of bed and periodically through out the day. Then there is a spin class at 5am followed by pinching her belly and arms after class to see how much more fat is still there…. Eating half an apple to calm the hunger and drinking 2 Venti Coffees with Splenda to fill up the stomach and give the appearance of energy. More complicated than dodging hunger pains is dodging “People”. They can be an obstacle with their invitations for lunch and offering a slice of a co –workers birthday cake…they just get in the way! For lunch she eats half a power bar for energy….making sure no one will see her eat it thinking that they will think shes “fat” for eating it. The rest of the day, she will research diets, calculate the calories in everything she has eaten since breakfast and order a 21 day detox program on –line…And that’s all before noon.
But, this Anorexic existence can only last for so long, until, the house of cards comes crashing down. Within the Eating Disorder recovery community we call this “The flip of the coin” where the Anorexic gets so nutrient deprived that she has lets say just one bite of ice cream….all of the sudden out of no where the full time Anorexic does a 180 and now instead of constantly focusing on staying away from food, she is now focused on getting as much food as she can and starts bingeing. Cyclically this can lead to purging behaviors like bulimia and laxatives. Like Alcoholism, Eating Disorders are progressive in nature. Try and think of the Alcoholic who drank all weekend, then just at night, then all week, then it lead to prescription pills and then to cocaine. Now, this person isn't just an embarassing "bar drunk" she's an Alcholic and a drug addict. But, it didn’t happen over night, it was progressive.
What many Anorexics and their parents don’t understand is how the behaviors of different eating disorders feed off of each other. To re-cap: Anorexia causes binging and compulsive overeating which then turns into purging. Now, just because a woman binges doesn’t mean that her “Anorexic phase” is over. Her binging will cause her to gain weight and then her Anorexic flag will go up and she starves again. The starving leads again to binging which then leads to purging and of course shame which takes us back to square one of the Anorexic thinking, “I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve to eat.” As well, now this woman isn’t just working full-time as an Anorexic, but she is now a slave for 3 eating disorders…Anorexia, Binging/Compulsive Overeating and Bulimia all compiled are more time consuming and mentally draining than you could ever imagine.
I know so many women who wish someone would have offered them help at the anorexic stage. In my own words I have said, “had someone told me how painful Compulsive Overeating was, I would have eaten those damn carbs as an Anorexic.” If you or someone you know has Anorexia, believe me, recovery is the hardest thing to do, but RECOVERY gets easier….ANOREXIA only gets worse and only lasts so long, until it turns into another Eating Disorder or death.
Valentines Day is coming…. And though the moans and sighs of Victorian clients fill the house, there is some wisdom amongst the women without a partner to share the lovers holiday with.
I have seen the women rally around each other and finding the positive side of being in Eating Disorder treatment over the holiday. Many note that being in treatment will make them a better wife, girlfriend and mother in the long run. Treatment allows them the opportunity to love deeper and better.
As I hear the women talk I am reminded of an old adage, “Before you can love anyone else, you must first love yourself.” The first time I heard this was when I was about 17. These words sounded like a foreign language to me. I envisioned myself on a football field, all suited up and ready to play, but before I could even step on the field the referee stopped me before I ever touched the sidelines with the prerequisite, “You must love yourself first, BEFORE you can step on the field and play.” Up until that point I had always believed that love was an open game for anyone to play, that is anyone who had the “courage” to play.
Since the first time I have heard this saying about loving yourself first, I have learned that courage definitely is necessary to love, but the courage must be rooted in a deep love to love yourself through thick and thin. The best way I can paint this picture is with a high school. All high school teenagers go through a phase of insecurity, self doubt and confusion. While they are trying to figure out where they belong amongst cheerleaders and the artsy crew, they cling to their close friends for reassurance and praise that they do in deed have a place to belong. I’m sure all of us remember “cliques” in high school. Not loving yourself first is like being a hormonal teenager in a clique. You cling to a group or best friend to validate you, define you and give you purpose. Eventually though we all learn that our best friends are flawed too. That just because they are in our clique doesn’t make them infalliable. This realization that our clique isn't perfect sends us into a tail spin, that we aren't safe in the world any longer.
The truth is when you love yourself you can step out of a clique and say, “Wow, I’m not as loud as a cheerleader. I’m not as deep as the drama kids. I’m not as charismatic as the ASB president. In honesty, I’m a talented individual who can make great tea pots with clay, I’m an average student, but I’m a kind person and I’m a great friend and I draw well with pastels. And now that I see that I am not perfect I can also see that other people aren’t perfect. I can see where I have a temper, insecurity and fear and I still love myself for that. I don’t need anyone’s validation that I am smart or pretty enough, because I know that I am just fine where I am. When we get to this spot of accepting ourselves and not clinging to anything or anyone to keep us safe we can freely and openly love people. We can see our partners for their weaknesses and flaws and say, I know you’re not perfect and I know I’m not perfect, but I still love you and I still love me.
In all honesty I think it’s actually harder to love yourself than to love another person. Because at the end of the day we know our flaws. We know where we are ignorant, rude and inconsiderate. The hard thing is to be able to look at ourselves honestly and say, “I know you’re not perfect and I still LOVE you.” When we can do that for ourselves we can honestly and sincerely grow close to other people. We can see where they are not perfect and instead of being disappointed or critical of them we can instead relate to that imperfection and in turn say, “I know you’re not perfect, but I still LOVE you.”
Happy Valentines to all! May you love much and well this year and may you most importantly, LOVE YOURSELF FIRST!
Mar 29, 2010
Filippa Hamilton is the former Ralph Lauren model featured here who was fired from Ralph Lauren for "being unable to fulfill her contract"
Filippa Hamilton is the former Ralph Lauren model featured here who was fired from Ralph Lauren for "being unable to fulfill her contract" Hamilton says, she was told that at 5'10 and 120 pounds she was too big to fit their clothes so they "let her go." The following picture is a Ralph Lauren ad of Hamilton that ran. It is obviously incredibly photoshopped as seeen in the proportion of her hips to her head, yet the advertisement ran. You can read more about the story here.
While I was thinking of something to blog about today, I was thinking of what was currently going on around me; Halloween is coming up, I live near a high school and teens are walking to school and I guess I'm just pondering all the pressure there is out there to be a teenager today.
Then I thought of this story we discussed a few weeks ago at The Victorian. My boss Michele Lob brought it up and the whole staff gathered around the computer and looked at the photoshopped image of Hamilton. Considering that we are a group of dieticians, therapist, counselors and women in recovery from our own eating disorders we were of course appaulled. But, I wonder about the teenage girl who sees this ad and hasn't walked in our shoes.
Does she see this ad and think this is normal? Does she see this ad and think thats what she should look like? I mean Ralph Lauren has a line of clothng for every gender and age. From babies to grandmas you can see that little polo player on anyone. So if a teen or even an adult woman or man sees a Ralph Lauren ad of a woman as emaciated as this one looks does that become their standard of dressing, style and beauty?
It's hard to be a teenager right now. You can't even celebrate Halloween without being expected to dress provacatively with a garter belt, fish nets and 4 inch skirt. I'm not gonna lie, I've done it in the past. But, when I think about why I did it I can honestly say because "everyone else was doing it." If everyone brings a sandwich for lunch in their brown paper bag I'm not gonna want my mom to pack me lasagna and if everyone is dressing like a revealing nurse for Halloween I'll want to dress that way too and I'll probably also want to look like the Ralph Lauren ad because, well isn't it normal too?
I have enough recovery from an Eating Disorder and knowledge about myself to know that what other people consider "normal" doesn't exactly make me happy or even a very nice person. If I was trying to become that Ralph Lauren model today I would probably do a liquid diet of coffee and soups and skip meals which equals "not happy." Then when I ran into my friends who were having lunch together and just enjoying the California sunshine I would probably be jealous that they got to eat food and I couldn't and I'd probably act passive aggressive with them and bitchy which equals "not nice." My point is I've had enough trial and error in my life to know that the "worlds normal" my "families normal" and "my normal" are all very different things.
Today I don't live by a magazines expectation of "looking good in jeans" or my anorexic friends idea of "a meal" today I live by whats going to make me a happy, healthy woman who can help other people recover from their eating disorders. Whatever that looks like is what I consider "normal." I challenge you to consider what the norms are in your life. Are you being true to yourself? Or are you living by someone elses expectations. It's an interesting thought.