The Milky Way: Why We Encourage Inclusion of Dairy in Eating Disorder Recovery

Dairy Eating Disorder Recovery

by Shelly Bar, MD, Katie Grubiak, RDN, and Lauren Muhlheim, Psy.D. Dairy is tasty and good for you. Despite this, there are a lot of folks who are scared of it. You may have eliminated dairy from your diet in pursuit of better health or better digestion. You may have heard that the elimination of …

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Supporting a Loved One with Emetophobia

Supporting a Loved One with Emetophobia

Emetophobia is an extreme fear—or phobia—of vomiting that significantly impacts a person’s life. People with emetophobia may be afraid of vomiting, seeing or hearing another person vomit, or seeing vomit. In an attempt to avoid vomiting, these people often end up avoiding many situations, activities, and even people they enjoy. For this reason, emetophobia can …

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Seven Reasons You Should Eat When You’re Not Hungry

7 Reasons to Eat When Not Hungry

One of the cardinal rules of dieting is “Eat only when you’re hungry.” I often find that the fear of eating when not hungry is one of the most difficult bits of dogma to overcome. People with eating disorders and good dieters everywhere have been taught that this is all that stands in the way …

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Participating on an FBT Team

Family-Based Treatment Teams

Family-based treatment (FBT) is the leading evidence-based treatment for teens with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. While in an ideal world, every person with an eating disorder would have access to a full treatment team including a therapist, a dietitian, a medical doctor, and a psychiatrist, FBT calls only for a therapist to guide the …

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This Halloween, Serve Candy to Your Teen in Recovery

Halloween Candy

A Family-Based Treatment (FBT)-approach For teens with eating disorders, Halloween can be scary for the wrong reason: the candy! Most teens with eating disorders are only willing to eat a restricted range of foods. Expanding this range is an important goal of treatment, with the reintroduction of fear foods being a key step. Candy tends …

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Phobia Exposure Therapy

Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Phobias in Los Angeles

We are excited to announce that we are now providing virtual reality phobia exposure therapy –partnering with Psious. Psious is one of the pioneering companies in the development of Virtual Reality for therapeutc purposes. The Spanish company offers immersive 3D simulations designed to treat a variety of mental disorders. A multidisciplinary team of psychologists, 3D …

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FBT Meal Strategies Gleaned from Ziplining

FBT Meal Strategies Gleaned from Ziplining

Understanding and Responding to Your Youngster’s Fear: A Metaphor I often explain to parents that for a youngster suffering from an eating disorder, a meal can feel dangerous – like jumping out of an airplane. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to (almost) live out this metaphor on a family vacation. This …

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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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