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Can a University Course help with eating Disorders?

December 8, 2010 – 1:35 am

It was with great interest I read the press release “University course to study bulimia and anorexia” 11-11-10 on the Wales online website.

The Cardiff University is putting together a Collaborative Working in Eating Disorders module to be studied as part of the School’s MSc in Advanced Practice by the university’s school of nursing.

 Although this seems a noble cause I do get a little concerned when academia and governments gets involved with the treatment or suggested treatment of a disorder. Academics are renowned for not being able to think outside the square and get bogged down with dogma, so will concentrate on the so called conventional approach to eating disorders.

Governments are even worse tending to back the established approach even if it does not work, they can’t afford any political backlash if they make a mistake. Plus it is always good to be seen as doing something in the eyes of the voters. So to save themselves down the track they also back the conventional approach.

From reading the article it seems apparent that the course will have its basis on the conventional approach to the treatment of eating disorders and this is worrying and will only produce much of the same thinking that is prevalent now. 

As an eating disorder specialist, author of two books on the subject and an ex-sufferer of anorexia and bulimia myself: I know the conventional approach is not that great. I myself did the rounds of therapists etc, to no avail for years and I was training to be a doctor, so you would think it should have worked.

 I am not the only person who has gone through multiple treatments only to find they did not work; I get emails everyday from people telling me the same thing.

Here are a few abbreviated emails.

 I am helping a young adult girl whom I have become extremely fond of!… At the age of 14 she became anorexic and eventually bulimic. She has been in clinics a number of times, but every time she just goes home things just continue where she left off…
Charleen SA.

My daughter is 22 years old and she was suffering ED for 2 years… For your information she has been treated in the ED clinic as outpatient, visiting the internist doctor and the psychologist regularly to no avail…
Li Australia.

My daughter has been in and out the eating disorder clinic in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the last 4 years. I’m tired of them, she continues to struggle…
D M USA.

I took her to our health care Clinic and they seemed to have a handle on the disorder and they seemed to be helping with all kinds of counseling, nutritionist, psychiatrist and nursing… but once home she “back-slid” back into binging and purging.
VF, GB.

These emails are very typical from people contacting me still searching for answers when the conventional treatments have failed.

There is a very good reason why this happens and why sufferers fail to get better after showing promise while in the clinic? Conventional treatment methods do not confront the disorder where it lives in the subconscious mind of the sufferer. They do not understand that an eating disorder is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

But unlike the person who has to wash their hands 100 times a day, or the sufferer who has to check to see if the gas is turned off 200 times before they can leave their home. These people get nothing but pain from their OCD, whereas the ED sufferer actually gets pleasure from their disordered eating habits.

This extra element of pleasure adds a different dimension to the disorder and is most difficult to treat with conventional approaches used in clinics and by therapists. Sitting and talking to a therapist rehashing old hurts for hours is not going to help. This is a logical approach to a disorder that is not the least bit logical. After all why would someone purposely starve themselves to death and know they are doing it?

In my view there is really only one method that can beat an eating disorder and that is one that attacks the ED where it lives in the subconscious mind of the sufferer. To do this you have to use the power of Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability to change the way our brain functions by how we think, feel and act.

With the use of specialized methods to promote positive feelings, emotions, action and pictures we can change the faulty neuronal pathways and negative programming that has occurred in mind of the sufferer. The beauty of using a specialized neuroplasticity approach to curing eating disorders is it can be used at home.

This is the place all ED sufferers fail and relapse back into their old habits, because the triggers that control their habits are all at home, they are not in the clinic or therapists rooms.  

 I believe that any university course however noble it may seem if it does not incorporate the use of neuroplasticity and a method to change the neuronal pathways in the brain will not help. This will only produce a whole new batch of conventional method thinkers to the detriment of the eating disorder sufferer.

To read more about Neuroplasticity is the key for eating disorder help go to http://www.eating-disorders-books.com