February 15, 2020 by Jeanne Rust
New Research Leads to More Effective Treatment for Eating Disorders
Treatment for eating disorders has been slow to evolve. For many years the only treatments available were Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Interpersonal Therapy, combined with nutritional education. There was no differentiation made between binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, or bulimia nervosa. All eating disorders were treated the same psychologically, assuming that the only differences were in food behaviors.
Today researchers recognize that many factors play a role in the development and maintenance of these conditions. The factors may be physical, biological, emotional, environmental, spiritual, sexual and intellectual. The importance of brainwave activity and the biological components of eating disorders are becoming increasingly apparent. Researchers are now testing the effects of genetics, hormones, and neurobiology and their contribution to eating disorder susceptibility. Both appetite and energy expenditure are regulated by nerve cells called "neuropeptides".
For example, recent studies show that women with anorexia nervosa have different brain activity than those who are free from the disorder. Researchers have also found that women with autoimmune disorders are twice as likely to develop anorexia nervosa. Women who are orthorexic become increasingly sensitive to various foods in their diets, and eventually become anorexic. As more biologic connections are made, increasingly effective interventions have become possible. With the growth of integrative medicine and integrative treatment, we now have a much wider range of treatment options, and more people can expect to achieve full recovery!
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