Turning off the obsession genes that cause eating disorders.

July 2, 2011 – 3:49 am

By re-identifying your bad eating behavior you can stop your eating disorder – this has been proven more than once.

Some of you may say, “How will I re-identify my behavior to stop my eating disorder?
I got this disease because I have an obsessive gene from my mother. You can’t eradicate this gene from my genetic makeup.”

No, you can’t eradicate the unwanted gene from your genetic makeup and we are not trying to do this. What we are trying to do here is to change your response to the thoughts and feelings your brain generates.

Our genes have two kinds of fundamental properties. One of them is something that is not in our control. We have a certain set of genes we’re born with that keep replicating themselves. 

But the other aspect of our genes is in our control and it can be turned on and off according to how we live our life. This we can do something about, with the help of neuroplasticity.

Our brains are ever changing over the course of our lives. And your brain’s map is going to be determined by what you do day by day. You can start out doing new things today and in three weeks time your brain’s map will be completely different from what it was when you started.

This is what we call brain plasticity (or neuroplasticity), and the human genetic inheritance includes brain plasticity. This process occurs throughout our whole life. Brain plasticity can be controlled and directed if the person is aware of it and if the person wants to change his/her brain.

 It is interesting to note that our genes get turned on and off all the time. Even when you go to sleep some genes are turned on and others are turned off and when you wake in the morning other genes join the game. Research has shown that our thoughts also influence these switches and this gives us a lot more control over our genes that we realise.

 Now, I have the highest regard for genetics, but now it is certain that some aspects of genes can be controlled by our will, life style and habits. Just the fact that the brain can change itself in accordance to what we do and how we think. This means we have to place a lot of importance in the power of free will over our lives.

So, the notion that an obsession gene (that caused your ED ) is controlling your life appears to be false. It is how you perceive and respond to the messages from the environment that controls your life.

If, in your environment you perceive yourself as fat, ugly, anxious or inappropriate and your response to this kind of perception is to starve or binge, purge, take laxatives or over exercising to feel better, then you are letting the environment control you.

 What you should be doing is working through them trying to overcome the false urge? This will make much more of a difference to your outcome than blaming a genetic predisposition for your eating disorder.

Go to http://www.eating-disorders-books.com for more information.

Dr Irina Webster MD.

Short term effects of bulimia.

January 2, 2011 – 1:47 am

People often ask me about different side effects of bulimia: about short term, long term and the most dangerous ones.  This article is about short term effects which appear soon after bulimia begins.
People are also interested if the short term effects are 100% reversible or not. Well, probably most of the short term bulimia effects are reversible but it is also depends on the intensity of the bulimia.

It is also depends on association with other medical and psychological problems the person as at the time they start being bulimic. So, I would say it is all down to the individual and for many people the short term effects are 100%reversable when they stop their bulimia. But there are some people who can have irreversible damage.

Now, let’s look at them – short term effects.
1. Digestive system suffers because of vomiting. People experience bloating, indigestion, bad taste in the mouth, breath smells, pains and aches in the stomach, reflux, heart burn and nausea.

2. Swallowing can be painful if throat gets damaged while vomiting.

3. Teeth get eroded quickly from the acid during and after vomiting.

4. Heart problems can become obvious especially in people who purge often.
5. Constipation is a common concern in bulimics. It can become complicated with haemorrhoids and tears.
6. Low body temperature which makes people sensitive to cold weather. Bulimics are cold most of the time.

7. Tendency to faint.
8. Mood swings and intolerance to mental pressure.

9. Getting tired quickly and the inability to concentrate. Even simple mental tasks like reading can make some bulimics tired and even exhausted. Studying and learning can become problematic also.

10. Muscular tension can bring a lot of suffering. It appears as back pains, neck pains, tension headaches and aches or pains in other parts of the body.

11. Depression and anxiety can be very severe. The more people think and act bulimic the more depressed they become.

12. Dry skin is the problem too, accompanied by brittle hair and weak nails. Skin problems can be noticeable on sufferer’s hands especially. Knuckles can be damaged when they induce vomiting. One quick way to see if a loved one is bulimic check their knuckles, they will be all hard and wrinkled.

13. The Immune system can suffer making a person vulnerable to many infections. They experience colds and flu often.

14. People become withdrawn and avoid others.
15. Stress levels increases significantly.
16. Insomnia is common due to increased stress.

17. Distorted thoughts: constantly thinking about food, even dreaming about it.

18. Menstrual problems can range from painful periods to absence of periods.

19. Bone density decreases. Osteoporosis in severe cases of bulimia.

20. Voice changes due to damaged vocal cords.

These are the most common short term bulimia side effects. There are many more and people get affected by bulimia differently. All side effects can turn into dangerous complications. So the best way to prevent them is to stop your bulimia all together.

 You can always start looking for help: read more about it, educate yourself, ask professionals, work on changing your psychology, change behavioural pattern etc. Never give up and never take the side of disease.

To read more about dangerous side effects of bulimia go to http://www.eating-disorders-books.com

The most dangerous side effects of bulimia.

December 26, 2010 – 1:40 am

Bulimia causes damaging side effects to the body. It can also destroy the brain, heart and the soul of the person suffering from this eating disorder. There is no one system in the body that does not get affected by long term bulimia.

What are the most dangerous side effects? – You may ask.  These are the effects people can die from.  Lets  look at them separately.

  1. Heart complications. Many eating disorder sufferers have irregular heartbeat, slow pulse or palpitations. All these abnormalities are extremely dangerous especially if the person continues with binging-purging.  People can suddenly collapse and even die if the heart suddenly stops working going into condition called “heart block”.
  2. Electrolyte abnormalities. Electrolytes are the chemicals in the body that help our organs work. When people vomit they lose enormous amount electrolytes this is very bad for the body. The organs that suffer the most are: heart, kidney and brain. An abnormal amount of electrolytes can cause heart block, kidney failure and fainting.  Any of these complications can end up with the sufferer dying.
  3. Kidney failure. The kidneys are the organs that balance water and electrolytes in the body.  Vomiting causes both dehydration and electrolyte imbalance problems. The kidneys try to compensate for this but if the vomiting continues the kidneys stop working and go into kidney failure.
  4. Mental problems. Mental problems in bulimics are especially dangerous because of the high rate of suicide amongst eating disorder sufferers. When people get highly addicted to binging-purging behaviour, they often become unable to cope with everyday life and use suicide as a way to escape from the black circle they find themselves in.
  5. Drug and alcohol problems are often the next step in for the bulimic.  Bulimics get addicted easier than people who don’t have bulimia. This is the nature of the disorder. Of course, where drugs and alcohol are involved the incidence of accidental death increases enormously.  People die from an accidental overdose of drugs and organs failure.
  6. Gullet rapture. Gullet or oesophagus is the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach.   When people vomit they force the food to come up from the stomach, through the gullet and up into the mouth.  If the vomiting becomes severe, gullet rapture can occur.  The sufferer can die from internal bleeding and shock.

To sum up, these are the most dangerous side effects of bulimia. There are many more which may not cause the death of the patient but damage the body and make it malfunction. You can prevent all these complications just by looking for help and doing something constructive about your bulimia.

Even learning more about the condition and what you can do to help yourself will push you forward towards recovery.

Never stop resisting the disease and never give up fighting for your health and your life.  

Bulimia causes damaging side effects to the body. It can also destroy the brain, heart and the soul of the person suffering from this eating disorder. There is no one system in the body that does not get affected by long term bulimia.

To read more about dangerous side effects of bulimia go to http://www.Mom-Please-Help.com

5 Crucial Steps to Cure Your Eating Disorder with the Power of Neuroplasticity.

September 24, 2009 – 4:12 pm

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the human brain to change itself based on how we live our lives. Our brain consists of cells or neurons that are interconnected. It means that different life experiences and different behaviours are constantly changing the strength of these connections, by adding or removing connections, and by adding new cells.

“Plasticity” relates to learning by adding or removing connections, or adding cells. According to the theory of neuroplasticity, thinking, learning, and acting actually change the brain’s physical structure or anatomy as well as functional organization, known as physiology, from top to bottom.

The brain’s plasticity exists from “cradle to grave” and the adult brain is not “hard-wired” with fixed and immutable neuronal circuits as was previously thought.

So, neuroplasticity is the power to produce a more flexible and beneficial behaviour for the treatment of eating disorders. However, these positive changes will only happen if you target the eating disorder in a certain way. These can be subdivided into 5 steps of actions that you should undertake to stop your eating disorder.

The 1st step: Believe that you can stop your eating disorder.
Do exercises to begin changing the way your mind works.

2nd step: Re- Identify.
Recognize the false nature of your eating disorder thoughts.

3rd step: Re-Symbolize.
Escape from loop thinking that feeds the eating disorder.
Loop thinking is when a thought like binging or starving oneself gets caught in a loop going around it the brain continuously and never being released.

4th step: Re-Direct.
Defeat recurrent thoughts that give power to the disorder.

5th step: Re-Evaluate.
De-value and ignore harmful urges until they start to fade away.

By following these steps you can clearly see that by directing your attention away from food, weight and body image, you could learn to focus on positive eating habits and overcome destructive negative thoughts. Doing this, you as a eating disorder sufferer will be able to make permanent changes to your own neuronal pathways and change your life.

To conclude, I want to say that the power of neuroplasticity can be a real “cure” for eating disorder sufferers. By eating disorder “cure” I mean that you achieve a state of mind where you can control your thoughts and feelings, instead of the thoughts and feelings controlling you. You can do this by influencing your subconscious mind.

The subconscious mind is your hidden level of awareness, where your automatism lies. This part of your brain controls all the things you have learned that are now automatic such as riding a bike, tying your shoe laces, and unfortunately for the sufferer the place where the eating disorder lives.

With the help of the 5 steps you will learn that it is possible for you to reach your subconscious mind and make certain positive changes that will turn your life around: at escape from your eating disorder.

Find eating disorders books go to http://www.eating-disorders-books.com

Neuroplasticity is the key to Eating disorders treatment.

November 1, 2008 – 5:16 pm

Researchers are now suggesting that neuroplasticity could be the answer to treating eating disorders.
They are of the view that our own brains, thoughts and emotions are not rigid or fixed in place. But can be changed in order to treat and even cure eating disorders.

So what is neuroplasticity? Let’s define it.

The first part neuro is for neurone (which are the nerve cells in the brain) and plasticity means plastic or changeable.

Neuroplasticity is the property of the brain that allows the brain to change itself.
These changes occur in four ways:
(1) By responding to the world in a certain way
(2) By perceiving the world in a certain way
(3) By acting in the world in a certain way
(4) By thinking and imagining in a certain way.
All these activities can change the brain and the way it functions. With “directed Neuroplasticity” scientists and clinicians can pass onto the brain a calculated sequence of input and/or specific patterns
of stimulation to make desirable and specific changes in the brain for  the better.

For example, under certain kinds of stimulation the brains of eating disorder sufferers can be made to stop focusing on food and weight issues and start focusing on other things. By focusing on other things
(which is called focused attention) the brain develops new connections between neurons and rewires itself. The old neuronal connections (connections responsible for their eating disorder) will became less and less active and eventually completely replace themselves with the new connections. This is how neuroplasticity works: by deleting old defective neuron connections and developing new healthy ones.
To make it easier to understand, the brain is made up of many chains of neuronal connections. These chains are responsible for producing certain feelings; thoughts and actions that make people do things.
And by changing these connections we can change how they feel and act.

Some eating disorder sufferers may say: “Oh well, I’ve been suffering  for so long so I have probably done some damage to my brain which is  irreversible.”  But according to neuroplasticity principles the damage
done does not matter and it can be fixed.
Even if some parts of the brain are damaged, other parts of the brain can take over the function of the damaged parts; by developing  new brain connections (or neuronal pass ways) and re-routing them.

Having worked with eating disorder sufferers extensively, I have  noticed that many sufferers are aware that what they are doing in terms of eating and dieting does not make sense, and is even doing harm to the bodies.
But they still continue their erratic behaviour because they can’t  resist the continuous “voices” in their head telling them that they  are fat and must continue with their starvation, dieting, or continue
to binge and purge. I know I did and I certainly knew the dangers.

When you ask them “What do you think the voice is?” They normally  answer that it is their brain telling them to do what they do. But  when you tell them that it is not their brain, it is their ED (the
faulty wiring) telling them to starve themselves or binge and purge:  their thought processes start to change. And when they start focusing  on the fact that their eating disorder is something separate from
their brain, the changes in their behaviour became more profound.
To conclude, neuroplasticity is a great tool in the treatment and in  the cure of eating disorders: simply because the brain is not static, but is dynamic and always changing.  It undergoes many changes
throughout one’s entire life; you do not have the same brain you were  born with.
By influencing and directing these changes with the correct program it  is possible to change peoples eating behaviour, body image and self-esteem. Neuroplasticity is the solution to all eating disorder
sufferers’ problems: change the way you think and you change your life.

To learn more read http://www.eatingdisorder-cure.com

Dr Irina Webster.