Interesting Statistic on Anxiety/Eating Disorders

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Apr 1, 2012.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I was watching an episode of Intervention on Netflix about a young woman with bulimia. The show puts on info about the disorders with the source at various points in the episode.

    According to the American Journal of Psychiatry:

    Girls who suffer from anxiety are twice as likely to develop an eating disorder as adults.

    This was startling to me in some ways. I don't know when this was published or the study supporting it, but it is interesting. I spent years being accused of anorexia by my grandmother and aunt because I was terribly underweight. The first time they told me this I was four and it continued until I had Wiz, which was after my Gma died. I did have a problem, but it was NOT what we think of as an eating disorder. I had a chemical imbalance and my brain didn't get the hunger signals from my body. I didn't eat because it didn't occur to me - I literally was NEVER hungry until I was pregnant.

    So I have always been interested in eating disorders, but i ahd never connected anxiety as a child with eating disorders. But it makes sense.

    I am mentioning this because a LOT of us have kids iwth childhood anxiety and docs who seem to not realize that it is a MAJOR problem, NOT just a sign or some other problem or a minor issue. It is something we should watch all of our kids for - not just the girls. If we can find/push for/get help for the anxiety, and keep the kids in some type of help as young adults, maybe we can help keep them from developing an eating disorder or get them help for it sooner if they do develop one.

    What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the correlation between anxiety and eating disorders is also there for boys? Very little is heard about males iwth eating disorders but they DO have them, they just don't get treatment as often because it is seen as a "female" problem and most treatment centers are geared toward women.

    How can we push the doctors to address anxiety in children as a primary problem and not as a secondary one? I think a lot of the problems our kids have are rooted in anxiety, but many docs don't seem to want to really address that, instead wanting to deal with the symptoms like aggression, defiance, ODDish behavior, etc...., at least that was our experience.
  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I can see where it could possibly stem from one cause, but most probably not the only cause (even in a single person)

    I've known a few people with eating disorders. I can think of only one who I could see diagnosed with anxiety. And yes, she did have it rather bad. The others? No, never noticed any symptoms of anxiety whatsoever. More of a body image issue due to other factors in their lives.

    One has to be careful of studies. You can make a study show whatever you want it to show, depending how you do it. Everyone has anxiety upon occasion, like fear of speaking in front of a group sort of thing. Anxiety is a fairly common thing that varies in degree of severity. I think blaming it for something like this is sort of taking the easy way out. If you know what I mean. But I can see how they came to that conclusion, I just think it's inaccurate. They're missing some other factor. Because certainly not everyone even with moderate to severe anxiety has an eating disorder, probably not even a large number of them do. in my opinion, I'd think of it as a contributing factor and look for some other root causes.

    The main issue with both anorexics and those with bolemia is body image. Bolemia, from those I've known with it, seems to lean more toward lack of impulse control.....which triggers the response to get rid of what they consumed. Anorexics seem to have a broader base of contributing factors. I've known many who have suffered quite a bit of abuse, it gives them a sense of control over something in their's not always about the "food" or the "weight", or at least it doesn't always start off that way.

    And then you have those like my easy child who has a strong tendency to obsess. I saw it early on as a teen.......when she obsessed over it to the point where her clothes suddenly hung on her and she was passing out at school. Fortunately, I caught it fast enough to help her turn it around. And as she's on this weight loss journey this time?? I'm watching over her. I pay attention to what she's eating (as much as I can, I'm not with her 24/7) and how much she is exercising in relation to how much she is eating. And I mention to her when I think she is beginning to obsess again. I watch the diet to make sure it's balanced. And yeah, I've had to tell her repeatedly she is OVER exercising to the point where it became a huge concern. As far as I know, she's eased off quite a bit. (kicked it back to a more normalish range) And like yesterday we went to Golden Corral to eat......and she kept bragging she wasn't touching starches. And I kept replying that you need starches in moderation, good starches....your body needs them for fuel.

    But I worry because if that obsessive behavior kicks totally in, she can go off into the danger zone very quickly, maybe before anyone realizes she's there. And easy child has only what I'd refer to as normal range anxiety levels. Yet her obsessive behavior has the potential of kicking it into a full blown eating disorder.

    Another thing I've noticed.......seems the longer an eating disorder progresses, anxiety levels in the person will increase, caused by the behavior itself. So at what point did researchers evaluate the subjects in the study? Was the anxiety truly present before the eating disorder or was it triggered by the disorder itself? Know what I mean??

    So from personal experience, I'd say I'm not really quite buying into it making someone twice as likely to have an eating disorder. But I can see it as a contributing factor in combination with others.

    And that's the best I can offer on a single cup of coffee. LOL
  3. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I go to an IOP 3 times a week with about 20 other eating disordered people. 4 of them are male- ages 17-45, they all have different kinds of problems. Overexercising, obseessing about weight and calories, problems at home, looking for attention because maybe someone else in the family is getting it all, looking for love and thinking the way to do it is with a perfect body, depresion and anxiety, the media- this is a big one- because every magazine has these famous people of all ages with perfect bodies, so they look for that as well. Yes anxiety comes into play, but every person has their own , unique, isues and lives, backround and set of problems.

    I know I have anxiety, but it's omly around food, and when it's time to eat. If my problem goes away, which it does for a bit, the anxiety goes as well. I was just talking about the males up there, although I can relate to the overexercising. I have no idea why I have this problem, other than I was raised to be very, very skinny and it was praised to work out all evening and it was fine if you ate nothing all day. I will work out too much if I were able to, anxiety comes from-not being able to do that, so anxiety comes form a girl who is unable to "do their thing", maybe their thing is binge and purge, or just purge, or some people also self harm. The anxiety comes when they have to stop- at least for me. But everyone is different.

    Most people in my program are at a "normal" weight. You can still be anorexic at a normal weight, especially if you started out at 300 pounds and are doing something hurtful to your body- like starve or take pills or purge. We never talk about our specific vices, it's not allowed, only our eating disorder and our feeling in general, like a group therapy thing. Specifics are talked about in private therapy sesions

    For me, I see these magazines of models on the beach and think they're pretty and I want to look like that, so why is what I do an eating disorder, I just love to be skinny. So? None of it is healthy and all things in moderation, if someone has anxiety- it should be treated- for whatever reason. Which came first- anxiety or eating disorder? Everyone is different, and has different lives fillled with their own "stuff", as do we all.

    Watch any commercial, it's always a pretty girl, sexy and skinny, that's what's portrayed. Any magazine as well. I feel bad for everyone with an eating disorder, it's insane and we know it as we're doing it, hurting ourselves. People here have shared things with me about their own ED's and I hope I never offended any one of you and I thank you for the support given to me. There is somebody I know I did offend, and I'm sorry. I have seen very sad situations woman set herself on fire, both legs and stomach totally 100% burned, and so young! Some people can't take "not" being able to "do their thing"

    Another girl, stilll in colege, abused laxatives so much , her colon died and now she has a bag to poop in forever. There is more, but's too sad, it's too much. Get help if you think someone has a problem-people die from this more than any other psychiatric illness. Hound, if you think yourdaughter has a problem, maybe she does, people have dropped dead , their heart gives out, on those machines
  4. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Oh for sure I think anxiety is connected. When I was in grad school there were 14 admitted to my year. 8 had eating disorders (found out my second year when I sought treatment and came clean to my friends...) We were all a high anxiety, grade grubbing group. I wish I knew then that that was all such a waste of energy and lost opportunities for meaningful relationships, activities, fun, etc. Being top of a class is fleeting. Once you are out in the real world, no one cares. Only care that you are good persona and at work, that you are doing a good job.

    I was anxious as a kid. Not enough to debilitate me but by middle school I was being pulled in by school social workers/psychs trying to pump information out of me as to whether or not there was some kind of serious problem.... (I knew what to say and I remember my parents being told I was just being a lazy girl who was too into her hair)...
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    UAN- easy child had me really worried until she kicked the exercise back down into normal range. She was doing her workout videos, then going to the gym for 2 hours (much of that time spent on the elliptical). That was a bit much. But when she started doing that AND doing the videos in the evening or on work days doing her really strenuous workouts before a 12 hr shift of lifting patients all day and on her feet......Well, it took me a while to get her to see she was over the top. Me and her bad knee that swelled up on her something horrid and prevented her from exercising at all for more than a week was finally enough to convince her.

    Now I'm trying to convince her she's eating too much protein. Protein is good for you and it builds muscle. But our family is strongly prone to kidney disease and eating a very high protein diet is NOT a good idea, it causes the kidneys to work harder and it's just plain not good for them. easy child does not have issues nearly like Nichole and I, but she has had issues. A really high protein diet isn't good for a "normal person", it's even worse for someone who has the genetics for kidney disease.

    I'm really proud of her. She's nearly lost 50 lbs now and reduced her waist size by at least 6 inches. I just want to make sure she's staying healthy while doing it, after all, that's the whole purpose to what she is doing.

    UAN you need to do an in depth search of pin up models pre 1960's. Men went totally gaga drool over those women, and they weren't what most people would classify as "skinny" today. They were beautiful women with meat on their bones and lovely curves to their bodies. And because I was born into the wrong kids were as exposed to those examples of feminine beauty as the modern version, perhaps more so. And every time my girls would see ads and such with the rail thin super models of today......I'd counter it with the living hades those women go through trying to live up to that standard.

    At least easy child doesn't believe she has to be rail thin. But if her obsession really gets triggered, it will be hard for her to turn it around because of the obsession, not the weight, appearance, ect. So that is what I keep an eye on.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is a catch-22.
    Our docs pushed the anxiety as the primary problem - and no matter what we did to try to address it, nothing worked. When we re-classified as "secondary", it forced them to allow us to fight for more dxes... and when we found the SOURCE of the anxiety... we began to make progress on all fronts, including the anxiety.

    I didn't read the study (no time), but I have noticed that many more recent studies involving this anxiety-food disorder link, leave out the biggest and most obvious... overeating. It IS a food disorder, in its own right. And... THAT one? definitely affects the fellows as much as us gals.
  7. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Ditto to IC's over eating comment. It is epidemic in our day and age. I'm sure it isn't anxiety related in all who over indulge. Yet I find it likely that anxiety develops over time as the effects of over eating occur. I also think over eaters are likely more prone to developing other eating disorders.

    I developed anxiety at 12 as I lived at my fathers. I also had no eating issues previously but then developed horrible over eating habits. Food for sure became my way of managing anxiety. It was a natural, for me, self soothing ritual as I had grown up the first 12 years with food insecurity. There was never enough to go around, I'm talking frequent times not a bite to eat for days.

    In 2004 I went to the US (NY state) for gastric bypass. I felt ready to tackle my food issues and get healthy control back. I hit goal weight in under a year (well under). But I went extreme. I was living on the military base, two minute walk from the gym. Gym was free for me and included unlimited access to personal trainer. I started less than two weeks post op and about nine months later the doctor was furious with me as it was incredibly over doing it.

    After 6 years at a healthy weight, my father was arrested and I barely noticed, and truthfully didn't care anyhow, I began over eating for anxiety soothing again. How's that for a direct identifiable trigger. I am now needing to shed 30 lbs or so, despite being 11lbs down recently from stress causing food to fall off my radar.

    I now have been cooking a lot. I do enjoy it. I have to make myself want to eat because sure I need to lose again but starving isn't how I want to do it.

    For me I think anxiety is the root of my food issues. I don't know that I think it always is the primary root. I do know for me, because it is primary, when my anxiety and stress triggers are under control, my food issues tend to normalize. So for those who are similar I believe it important for health professionals to treat the anxiety to help the eating issues. I don't get anxiety because of food. I eat because other things create anxiety and somehow food brings it under control.

    I've lately been tackling both in various ways. I tend to lately be trying to use food PREP as a anxiety reducer. Making myself see cooking and preparing meals as a relaxing experience, the finished product simply a sampling, in moderation, of my cooking experience. I put on favorite music, enjoy the quiet and solo time in the kitchen, and take my time out from the world. When it's time to eat I try to enjoy but not make the eating the fun part of the experience.
  8. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Another thing we must watch for is perceived value.

    "Biggie" and "Super" sizes are not a value. As Jimmy Buffet put it - "I don't want a 12-pound Nestle's Crunch for 25 dollars!"

    People who work in physically demanding jobs - and I am thinking farms and (some) factories here - do need the extra calories - but a person with a desk job, not so much. My husband can put away a ton of food. What to me would be 4 servings is one to him. But because of his stomach issues (years of medications + anxiety over the kids) he has had to cut WAY back. Plus he has high cholesterol so I have been working with that, too.

    As a child, my Dad was out of town a lot, so it was me & Mom. Her parents were both huge people - Grandma was 6 feet tall, no joke - and I would bet, when I was a kid, they each weighed close to 300 lbs. if not more. Mom was a little person - she's 5'3 on a good day, as am I. Grandpa grew up as a farm boy... I remember seeing him polish off more food... Wow. Anyway, Mom would cook for the 2 of us, and we had small portions. When the Happy Meal first came out, there was too much food for me. One hot dog at Der Wienerschnitzel was enough. And I ran around and played.

    Now... as a result I like whole grains, fruits and veggies. I don't make dessert often because Mom didn't, so to me it's not required for a meal unless said meal is special for some reason. I do NOT buy white bread. It's been processed to within an inch of its dubious life. I do like chocolate, but not a lot at once.

    I eat out of boredom... I used to smoke. So I keep dry cereal, whole grain crackers, and granola bars at my desk. And to feed my weakness... Fruit Roll Ups!
  9. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Biggie, super size, and the all you can eat buffet.......

    I have never done the biggie or super size. I can't eat what is in a "normal" size meal. by the way a "normal" meal used to be the cheese burger and now small fries and drink.

    The all you can eat buffet.........My mom is addicted to them, no joke. The only reason she doesn't weigh a ton is that the only one in her city closed a few years ago. I watched my step dad put away plate after plate after plate.......and I'm talking plates PILED with food.......I swear there would be at least 20 plates for him alone. Mom would keep up too.

    Normally, I do one plate with small portions of the things I like. Used to make Mom mad, she kept saying I was wasting food. lol Now the other day went to Golden Corral with the last time I went there I couldn't eat hardly anything, I was still waiting on my dentures. Unfortunately, this time I made up for it by tasting as much as I could and not wasting time on salad. LOL I still only had little more than a plate of food. But man did my tummy hurt after.
  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    I struggled with anorexia and bulimia throughout my teens and 20s. For me, anxiety wasn't really the big culprit, but Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) + more than my fair share of Aspie rigidity were contributing factors.

    I became obsessed with the numbers on the scale. I even bought a digital scale with my allowance so that I could see the numbers rather than trying to guess at where the pointer appeared on my parents' scale. I used to weigh myself up to 15x per day: before and after eating, exercising, purging, using the washroom, anything that would result in those numbers changing. I used to keep notebooks and charts full of statistics: what I ate, how much I weighed, times of weigh-ins, how much activity and what type, blah blah blah. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was a huge factor in all of this.

    The other main contributor was competitiveness. I was in competitive dance throughout my teens, and anorexia is a competitive sport like no other. The girls in my dance troupe were always comparing ourselves to each other and to professional dancers. Who could do the splits? Who could do a back bend with the deepest arch? Who had the smallest upper thigh measurement? Who could go the longest without eating anything? It was a brutal environment, but each girl fed on the other's behaviour -- we learned tricks from each other and egged each other on to worse and worse behaviour (which I think is why your support group doesn't allow discussions of vices, UAN. Too much opportunity to enable rather than help each other).

    But I don't remember feeling anxious, except in the space between bingeing and purging when I had an overwhelming amount of food in my body and felt a desperate need to "get rid of it".