By Jurriaan Plesman BA (PSYCH) Post Grad Dip Clin Nutr
Eating disorders are a serious illness that can lead to suicide attempts as reported in a survey of 2,516 subjects by 3.5% of young men and 8.7% of young women. Crow S et als. (2008)
It seems at first sight that eating disorders are brought about by the fear of being over weight and being fat. Ironically, being over weight is closely related to being depressed, because both share an underlying metabolic disorder; namely Insulin Resistance. The association between obesity and psychiatric disorders has been well documented. Source: Ten studies. Thus an eating disorder may have started with a negative self-image as the first sign of depression, fearing to be unattractive. But putting on weight may also be sign of a biological disorder, leading to depression, anorexia an bulimia. Eating disorders may also lead to sugar cravings and other food addictions. Hence it appears to be more a problem with biology than psychology. Obesity in Research and other Book References For a discussion as to what came first; insulin resistance (hypoglycemic syndrome) or obesity, see here.
Obesity may also be a sign of hypothyroidism, which is marked by numerous symptoms such as hypoglycemia, depression, sensitivity to colds, flaky skin and so on. You can test yourself for possible hypothyroidism with the Basal Temperature Test. “To do the BTT, place a mercury-type clinical thermometer, well-shaken down, by the bedside upon retiring. Immediately upon awakening and before stirring from bed, place the bulb of the thermometer under the armpit and hold it there for 10 minutes. Record the reading on two consecutive days. A range of from 36.6 to 36.8 0C (97.8 to 98.2 0F) suggests normal thyroid function. Temperatures below 36.6 0C (97.8 0F) indicate hypothyroidism. Those above 36.8 0C (98.2 0F) indicate an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).” Source.
Some studies show an association between anorexia and niacin deficiency (pellagra). six studies.
In insulin resistance the body has problems metabolizing carbohydrates into biological energy called ATP. This energy is essential in the production of feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Thus without that energy the person may tend to feel depressed. The unabsorbed carbohydrates are converted to, first, glycogen and then into fat cells. Thus we find that depressed people may be overweight AND depressed. They are not depressed because of obesity, but because of insulin resistance!! (MedicalNewsToday 8 Oct 2009) See also Hemat.
If you want to help yourself losing weight consider taking COCONUT OIL (search web site for more information) as a supplement. (3-4 teaspoons a day). This stimulates the thyroid gland to secrete thyroxine – thereby increasing the metabolic rate, which will burn off excess calories. Another remedy that may improve symptoms of anorexia and bulimia may be the supplementation of inositol,, which helps in beating depression. Link (2004). J Potokar et al 781, Frank J Ayd 523. These remedies should also be accompanied with regular exercises. Thus depression is translated into feeling unattractive BECAUSE OF BEING OVERWEIGHT. So we seem to have a vicious circle of an eating disorder, whereby a person is trying desperately to lose weight (fighting a low self-esteem) and thereby even become more depressed.
The aim of therapy is to get the body to produce serotonin naturally without recourse to drugs and without gaining weight. This is a tall order, but it can be done if you are prepared to study some of the underlying nutritional biochemistry. The treatment is similar to treating depression. If thus far you have been using medication, it may take longer to recover from the depression (mood disorder), as time is required for a high protein diet to repair the damage done to receptors for neurotransmitters. Dr Nora Volkow.
If you suspect that an eating disorder is related to insulin resistance (a pre-diabetic condition called hypoglycemia) then have this tested by a doctor. See How to test for hypoglycemia. If found to be positive, encourage your client to adopt the Hypoglycemic Diet.
For most people sticking to a regime of frequent snacks of high proteins (every 2 ½ hours), plus various vitamins and mineral – so as never to feel hungry – should supply sufficient energy from proteins to produce feel good neurotransmitters such as serotonin. This together with regular – but not excessive – exercises should prevent unabsorbed carbohydrates from being converted to fat cells! But keep in mind possible allergies and food sensitivities that may affect the digestive system.
After nutritional treatment it may be necessary to unlearn a life-long pattern of negative thinking about the self, and if a negative self-image persists I recommend that you study:
Please also study the
and ask for a referral to a Nutritional Doctor, a Clinical Nutritionist or a Nutritional Psychotherapist.
Depression cannot be stopped by stopping to eat or talking yourself out of depression. IT IS A PHYSIOLOGICAL DISORDER. This needs to be treated first by treating the underlying metabolic disorder!
Please discuss this article with your health care worker, doctor or nutritional doctor or therapist.