Science of Eating Disorders Tumblr
Tetyana here. I run the Science of Eating Disorders blog. This is the SEDs-associated Tumblr. I post about ED research, (mental) health, psychiatry, and medicine. I reblog pretty art and photography, promote critical thinking, and rant about stuff. Previously answered questions are here. Content is not always on topic and may be triggering.


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I’ll be away for the next few days without internets, so if I haven’t responded to your ask yet, it may take a while :/.

I like these interesting discussion we have around these parts sometimes. I’ve learned a lot from the people on Tumblr, and I continue to do so. It is great.

But I gotta admit, by far the best thing that Tumblr has done for me in my life is introduce me to The Office (US). I was wasting time, probably clicking on usernames that I thought were interesting sounding, and I discovered the CPR Training clip from the Office. Long story short, I’m currently mid-way through The Office (US). 100% because of that clip.

(I probably clicked on the username because I like Eddie Izzard.)

Edit: I hope people understand that I am joking. The Office is great, but it is definitely not the best part of what I’ve gleaned so far from Tumblr. 

Anonymous:  What do you think of self-recovery?

omg-no-weigh:

edcynic:

I think self-recovery (recovery attempted without medical or psychological support) is rare and dangerous. People usually don’t know the first thing about their own disorders until they start learning about it, and it would be difficult to practice any type of recovery without the proper support. I don’t believe in the “willpower” recovery method, because recovery is more than just eating more and/or gaining weight.

You bring up very good points. I acknowledge I am biased being as I am in recovery from severe AN-BP and from day to day work in a setting where I see severely malnourished patients from other illnesses. Sometimes I forget about the whole spectrum and range of severity in eating disorders that make up the majority of the illness.

I think it is hard to not extrapolate too much from our own experiences. I do the same. 

Anonymous:  What do you think of self-recovery?

omg-no-weigh:

elizabeth—avenged:

omg-no-weigh:

edcynic:

I think self-recovery (recovery attempted without medical or psychological support) is rare and dangerous. People usually don’t know the first thing about their own disorders until they start learning about it, and it would be difficult to practice any type of recovery without the proper support. I don’t believe in the “willpower” recovery method, because recovery is more than just eating more and/or gaining weight.

As a nurse, I want to add it can be medically dangerous to attempt to recover from a restrictive eating disorder on your own. Re-feeding syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur from refeeding after just a few days of restrictive intake. I won’t delve into specifics but it ends with your electrolytes going to pits which can lead to heart arrhythmias and death.

Less deadly but with the potential to become severe are the bowel motility issues that can come with introducing a normal eating pattern after a disordered period. The discomfort alone is distressing enough to have made me want to quit recovery AMA while inpatient, I couldn’t imagine going through it alone without professional support and medical monitoring for the first two weeks.  

 A registered dietician will prescribe a diet to reduce the risk of refeeding syndrome and gastrointestinal distress. A medical doctor will order blood work, prescribe supplements, and watch your vital signs and EKG for signs of refeeding syndrome and intervene as necessary.

^ Exactly!

I also forgot to add that if you have any weight restoration to do, you probably need a lot more calories than you realize! If I haven’t seen the articles posted by scienceofeds about the unusually high amount of calories needed for weight restoration and maintenance in anorexia nervosa I never would have believed that my RD was being honest with me in how much I had to eat each day and how overstuffed I always felt. I still am required to eat a lot more than my friends and family and I never would do that if I didn’t have these pros to check on me and keep me accountable. I’m not saying it’s impossible for everybody but it sure is damn difficult.

Actually, I disagree. It depends on how severe your symptoms are and on your social support, among many other things.

Besides, the research is skewed toward people who need medical support/treatment because those are the people that show up in hospitals or treatment centers that then get enrolled in studies (good old convenience sampling). 

We have no data, as far as I know, on how rare self-recovery really is. So, I don’t think anyone can claim that it is or isn’t rare. For all we know, it could be a lot more common than recovery WITH support!

And the danger of it depends on the specifics. Recovering from low-weight/highly weight-suppressed AN is different than recovering from, say, bulimia nervosa that’s characterized by b/p-ing 1x/week on average. 

And again, it depends on what we define as “self-recovery.” Would having a supportive partner or family count count as self-recovery? What about online support?

I also don’t think it is about willpower per se; I think framing it as that is too simplistic. It is more than that. Motivation comes from all sorts of places.

Of course support is better than no support. I wish everyone would have access to the treatment they need and deserve. I rant about this all the time. But, I disagree that it is rare and dangerous. We simply don’t know.

Edit: To clarify, I don’t mean that it isn’t rare and dangerous, simply that we don’t know. It may be or may not be. I would bet that it isn’t all that rare at all, and dangerous, I’m not sure. It is hard to know (although, of course, common sense tells us that it would be more dangerous, it may not be IF the people who are successful at self-recovery are considerably less severe in their ED). We can’t assume that the demographics of people who are self-recovering and who aren’t is the same.

Unpacking Recovery Part 3: Can Patients Imagine Recovery?

Today I have the distinct pleasure of writing about one of my favourite articles about eating disorder recovery by Malson et al. (2011) exploring how inpatients talk about eating disorder recovery. I have personally found this article to be very helpful in understanding some of the difficulties of understanding and achieving recovery in our social context.

As Malson and colleagues explain (and as we’ve established), eating disorder recovery is elusive. Often, poor prognosis is described in relation to individual factors, including

Anonymous:  With the new minniemaud drama going on, do you have an opinion on the whole thing?

I’ve mostly been trying to stay out of it, which isn’t too hard since I don’t follow any ED blogs. 

My opinion: You know, it is good to question and be critical — always —, but sometimes these things seem to disintegrate into ad hominem attacks or just “well, my experience differs, so fuck you/you are wrong.” People are entitled to their opinions, and, overall, I think debate/discussion is a good thing. I do wish the people criticising looked at the data and discussed that more; I think there’s plenty of room to disagree on those grounds alone, without relying entirely on one’s own experience, which is not to say that persona experiences aren’t important, but you know … 

I’ve just found it tiring to wade through the criticisms — some of them valid, some of them quite flawed — simply because for me to address or “weigh in” would (most often) require reading Gwyneth’s post in detail and going through papers she cites, and I simply don’t have the time/energy to do so, so it is easier for me to just stay out of it. I’ve already mentioned my opinions/thoughts regarding the general MM guidelines. 

Listening to another Rationally Speaking podcast. This one with Sally Satel and Scott Lilienfeld. It is so good that I just can’t help but post this. I am not even near my computer so can’t easily provide a link. Oh SOoo gooood. It is #96 if you want to look it up. I’m just nodding my head and omg yesing all the time.