Ten Facts About Weight Stigma – Guest post by Liliana Almeida, Ph.D.

Weight Stigm [Image description: larger black woman holding towel that says "wide load"]

  Weight stigma is a bias or discrimination relating directly to weight. Despite the fact that more than half of U.S. citizens are larger-bodied, our society holds a strong negative bias against fatness. The media reinforces weight stigma. The media, such as news media, displays persons in larger bodies in stigmatizing ways by depicting them …

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Empirically Validated Treatments

Empirically Validated Treatments For Eating Disorders Today’s Los Angeles Times contained an article which highlights Family Based Treatment and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment, two treatments I provide: Today, doctors and therapists focus on a handful of treatments that have been validated by clinical studies. For teens with anorexia, the first-line treatment is something called family-based therapy, …

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Exposure in the treatment of Eating Disorders

Exposure therapy is widely recognized as a necessary (and sometimes sufficient) ingredient of treatment for most of the anxiety disorders including phobias, panic disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  Anxiety is a core psychological feature of anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.  However, instead of being afraid of heights, speaking in public, having a heart attack, or contamination, individuals with eating disorders are primarily afraid of food, eating, and shape and weight.

Both cognitive-behavioral therapy and family based treatment, two empirically validated treatments for eating disorders, employ exposure techniques.  Exposure works through the process of habituation, the natural neurologically-based tendency to get used to things to which you are exposed for a long time.   During exposure, habituation occurs as people acclimate to their fear and come to realize that nothing actually dangerous is occurring. Habituation promotes new learning of safety, tolerance of fear feelings, and extinction of the fear avoidance urge. 

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