Eating Disorder Chat and Awareness Information

I would like to share what we discussed last night in the #MHSM chat! Below is what I personally shared and the topics we discussed. There were many participants and there was a wonderful discussion on all these questions! I am truly grateful for everyone’s participation. I thought I would share what I tweeted, in case you were busy, or are not a part of Twitter.

Eating disorders are an important topic and I am grateful for the opportunity to host a chat to discuss them.

In two weeks I will be starting a Pro-Recovery / #RecoveryWarriors chat!!! I will let you know the details as soon as I have them all worked out.


  • Welcome to the Mental Health & Social Media chat #mhsm on Eating Disorders #NEDAW11
  • Let’s take a few minutes to introduce ourselves to the group! Please let us know your blog if you have one!
  • I am ViR, I blog at about Eating Disorders, Body Image, Self acceptance
  • This topic will be pro-recovery, it will not discuss specific behaviors, numbers, etc.

Q1: What are Eating Disorders

  • Eating disorders are “serious mental illnesses with significant medical and psychiatric morbidity and mortality, regardless of the individuals weight.”
  • Eating disorders are serious disorders, not lifestyle choices.” Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness.
  • The cause of eating disorders is thought to be complex and influenced by psychological, cultural, and biological factors.
  • the exact nature of these interactive processes remains unclear. There are a lot of contributing factors, risk factors.

Q1.5: What kinds of Eating Disorders exist?

  • In the current DSM-IV there are 3 main ED categories: Anorexia, Bulimia & EDNOS (eating disorder not otherwise specified)
  • The (DSM-5) will be published in May 2013 & it appears BED (binge-eating will be included (thankfully!)
  • To view the DSM-V revisions – see
  • Not everyone neatly fits in these boxes, but that does NOT mean they do not have an eating disorder

Q2: What are common risk factors in the development of an eating disorder?

  • Risk factors do not mean everyone will get an ED
  • There is no one CAUSE to eating disorders
  • Genes play a major role in causing eating disorders – we are in the early stages of this research
  • Family history. Eating disorders are significantly more likely to occur in people who have parents or siblings who’ve had an eating disorder.
  • Emotional disorders. People with depression, anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder are more likely to have an eating disorder.
  • 80% had a lifetime issue of anxiety disorder, and 60% developed before ED, approx. ¼ of the time there is OCD (all of which is much higher than normal society).
  • Personality traits: perfectionism, obsessiveness, tendency to anxiety, harm avoidance, depression, inhibition, drive for thinness, altered interoceptive awareness, etc.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Personality being a perfectionist, morally rigid, or preoccupied with rules and order. This personality disorder has been strongly associated with a higher risk for anorexia
  • Transitions. Whether it’s heading off to college, moving, landing a new job or a relationship breakup, change can bring emotional distress, which may increase your susceptibility to an eating disorder.
  • Dieting. People who lose weight are often reinforced by positive comments from others and by their changing appearance. This may cause some people to take dieting too far, leading to an eating disorder.
  • Sports, work and artistic activities. Athletes, actors and television personalities, dancers, and models are at higher risk of eating disorders. Eating disorders are particularly common among ballerinas, gymnasts, runners and wrestlers. Coaches and parents may unwittingly contribute to eating disorders by encouraging young athletes to lose weight.
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is associated with self-destructive and impulsive behaviors. People with BPD tend to have other co-existing mental health problems, including eating disorders
  • A few studies indicate childhood eating problems – such as pica, picky eating, and digestive problems – as predictors or eating disorders
  • Researchers are investigating the link between childhood abuse and the development of eating disorders. Some studies have found an association between women who have been sexually abused and bulima

Q3: What are some treatment options/EBT for those struggling with an ED?

  • There may be a range of treatment approaches, including motivational therapy, cognitive behaviour therapy, DBT, interpersonal therapy, drama therapy, art therapy and occupational therapy.
  • Very good Review and synthesis of available evidence
  • General Treatment Overview: Treatment Depends on level of care needed
  • most effective treatment depends on the duration and severity of the ED
  • Get a patient medically stable
  • Integrative treatment, Individualized care, Out Patient (OP), In Patient (IP), Intensive Out Patient (IOP), Individualized Therapy
  • Treatment team: Psychiatrists, therapists, parents, nutritionists/RD, and others
  • Support team: Support groups, online and in person; Mentors, coaches
  • Medication management
  • For bulimia, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is the psychological therapy most often used and guided self-care using CBT techniques is often the first step in treatment
  • Another project is looking into manual-based and computerized CBT based therapies for young people with bulimia
  • DBT participants reported significantly less binging or purging behavior than patients awaiting treatment
  • FBT (family based treatment) is well established as a good first line treatment option for Adolescent Anorexia Nervosa (AN)
  • What is Maudsley (FBT-Family Based Therapy)
  • re evidence-based treatment-there’s a need for much MORE research
  • We don’t know too much yet and in some areas (adult AN, for example) – There really no treatment that stands out as a first-line option for adult AN
  • Resource for EBT Mental Health treatment for children & adolescent
  • More resources on Evidenced based treatment via UCSD

Q4: What are myths and misperceptions in how eating disorders are represented in the media, tv shows, print, etc?

  • Myth: Only females have EDs, and not males
  • Myth: All ppl w/ ED’s are underweight
  • Myth: Myth: You just need to eat more/better/less/have better willpower
  • Myth: Its attention seeking behavior
  • Myth: All people who purge have bulimia- not true, can be purging type anorexia, bulimia diff types too- can be non purging type
  • Myth: Men who suffer from eating disorders tend to be gay
  • Myth: That teen white girls get eating disorders. It is infuriating considering more and more older women struggle & feel alone
  • Myth: that eating disorders are “phases” or “rights of passages” for girls in their teenage years
  • Myth: People who who starve themselves are all aiming to look like models/celebs and celebs are the cause of their ED
  • Myth: Weight restoration means you are cured of an ED
  • Fact: You cannot tell the health of a person from weight alone, people of all weights can struggle with an eating disorder
  • Fact: Although eating disorders primarily affect women and girls, boys and men are also vulnerable.
  • Fact: Eating disorders can affect people of ALL ages, races, sexes
  • Fact: 40% of women with type 1 diabetes have manipulated their insulin to lose or maintain weight – a deadly practice
  • Fact: We NEED early intervention. It is important. Not wait until sicker/more emaciated/more behaviors
  • Fact: Eating disorders kill
  • Fact: Parents have a place in the recovery process (and treatment as seen in Family Based Treatment)
  • Fact: We need MORE research on evidenced based treatments
  • Fact: Recovery is a journey, very individual
  • Fact: Recovery IS possible

Q5: What support options in social media exist for those struggling with an Eating Disorder?

  • Mentor Connect is wonderful. Connects mentors in recovery with those struggling & offers online weekly chats
  • Social media can be tricky when looking for pro recovery, but we are out here.
  • Twitter and Facebook are excellent resources for connecting with advocates, activists, treatment places, treatment professionals, researchers, mentors, and others #RecoveryWarriors
  • If any of you need pro recovery people, blogs, or resources, please feel free to email me! I will connect you
  • I know I am working on a pro ED blog roll, and online support. I also have started creating a lost of twitter ppl as well

Q6: How can social media be used in a positive way to create awareness, support and educate the public about eating disorders?

  • Strategies for Disseminating Research Findings
  • we need to work to get the research to the public
  • important to make people research literate – dissemination, integration, and critical thinking
  • there are some great opportunities for advocacy around research-disseminating research-based info
  • we need more research in ALL areas for EBT (Evidenced based treatment)
  • also concerning that a lot of treatment professionals are not trained on EBT – need more awareness on this
  • Twitter chats, following hashtags, and reaching out to others
  • here is my list of resources!!!!
  • I love social media, my particular niche is in networking, finding resources, research, and connecting ppl who struggle
  • I think the important thing is to be honest. Share your story if comfortable, Reach out for help. Seek professional tx
  • I created ViR to connect people, share stories, and have created a network/community. Pro recovery ppl are out there
  • If you want to know more about my #RecoveryWarriors (pro recovery) please read this
  • I believe in strong media literacy: I dont “cut” out media. I become a smarter consumer. I share about topics. Help get awareness & critical thinking – bring to light issues/concerns in the media. We do NOT have to accept BS messages


  • Thank you ALL sooooo much for a wonderful chat!!! Would you all be interested in a weekly chat for EDs? I am creating one 🙂
  • Just remember – You all have a valuable voice. It is important. This is an important topic. Thank you ALL for participating
  • I will let everyone know when I start the ViR weekly Pro Recovery chat on Twitter. It will be soon! Maybe two weeks 🙂
  • If you missed any part of tonight’s #mhsm chat you can check out the transcript at
  • If you’re on Facebook, be sure to “Like” the Mental Health and Social Media Chat page & continue the chat there!
  • Follow @MHSMchat, @Abeeliever and @NAMIMass. Follow the hashtag #mhsm & #mentalhealth to find and talk to like-minded tweeple.
  • Advocate every day to create change, to empower people, to reduce stigma & to publicly stand up & say we deserve more understanding

6 Responses to Eating Disorder Chat and Awareness Information
  1. Alex @ Healing Beauty
    February 23, 2011 | 3:56 pm

    This is fantastic information and I wish (in an ideal world) that everyone would know at least some of this!! Keep up the wonderful work. You are inspiring!

  2. Amy Kiel
    February 23, 2011 | 4:49 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing all of this important information and for being a guest on #mhsm. Your efforts are always appreciated and your work is ever inspiring!
    You are truly a warrior. =)

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melissa Wolfe, VoiceinRecovery. VoiceinRecovery said: New ViR Post: Eating Disorder Chat & Awareness info #NEDAW11 #mhsm #RecoveryWarriors […]

  4. Joy
    February 24, 2011 | 1:25 pm

    What a great post so susinct and informative! Thanks

  5. Alex D.
    February 24, 2011 | 6:11 pm

    Great job! Thanks again for leading the chat (@Inspire_USA)

  6. laura chaiton
    May 28, 2012 | 8:16 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. My eating disorder blog is I hope you can read it and share with others

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