Saturday, November 15, 2008

"New eating disorder?"

Irene Rubaum-Keller, a blogger at the Huffington Post recently posted about a "new eating disorder," she has been seeing in her practice. In her post, she talks about women in their 30s and 40s who come to her not knowing how to maintain a healthy weight. These are women who I'm presuming (at least she does not say this in the post) do not necessarily fit a clinical eating disorder diagnosis but would still take drastic measures in their eating and exercise regimens to lose weight. Once they reached the desired weight, they went back to how they ate/exercised before and regained the weight.

Now older, they realize they can no longer take the drastic measures they did previously and feel at a loss of what to do. Rubaum-Keller feels that these individuals have learned how to lose weight temporarily and gain weight but not maintain a healthy weight.

I'm not sure I'd classify this as a new eating disorder. To me, it seems like the profile of the yo-yo dieter. I guess I get where she is going with the idea, but to call it a new eating disorder seems a bit of a stretch. That seems to be happening a lot however. At least she didn't give it an "-rexia" name.

What do you think? Is this a new, different eating disorder? If so, what's the criteria exactly?


emmy. said...

I personally find this so frustrating. Everyone wants to put a diagnoses on everything. I'm sick of it. They're making diseases out of dieters, which is painful to hear because I feel like eating disorders become stripped of their severity in these cases. Which, of course, is the LAST thing we want to risk in the eating disorder world.

Tiptoe said...

Emmy, I agree that this doesn't help the eating disorder cause whatsoever. What I find a bit ironic about this is this is coming from a therapist specializing in eating disorders. It just seems strange.

"Julia" said...

I'm not sure it's an eating disorder. I'd say these women probably have some eating disordered behaviours, but I don't hear mention of eating disordered thought processes and emotions. If someone ventures forward women who are yo-yo dieters and who fit the phsycological criterion of ED patients, then I'll say, yes, that's a new eating disorder (or at least a new form of EDNOS). But straight-up yo-yo dieters don't count, so far as I'm concerned.

TwistedBarbie said...

Really, disorder is all social construct, so I am not sure that I have the right or need to decide if these women have a disorder or not. I DO think it represents a greater problem.
So, how do we help these women?
Really, Fuck the disorder or the diagnosis, or whatever that entails. How do we help all of us?

K said...

Thanks for the information on eating disorders. It's hard to beleive there might be another one out there!

We recently wrote an article on the newest treatment for binge eating at Brain Blogger. The drug, Memantine (Namenda), has been approved to treat Alzheimer's, but it may be able to treat something else: binge eating. But how can it treat it when Alzheimer's is not at all connected to binge eating?

We would like to read your comments on our article. Thank you.


Tiptoe said...

"Julia," yes, I think there would have to be some psychological component to be established as an actual new disorder, otherwise, it is hard to say how it is different from just dieting or otherwise. Still, it doesn't diminish the fact that I'm sure these women are suffering.

Twistedbarbie, I agree with you that this is a bigger problem, and perhaps one that hasn't been fully addressed. I think it's a good reminder at all the emphasis on weight we continue to have as a society. Learning to help all of us is like the million dollar question.

Kelly, thanks for commenting. I've read some of the brainblogger posts in the past and found them interesting. I'll read the article you mentioned.