Viewing blog posts categorized under "Recovery"

Eating Disorders and the Brain

posted by Julie O'Toole on May 21, 2012 at 11:01pm

I have already blogged about the new book edited by Bryan Lask and Ian Frampton with the felicitous title  Eating Disorders and the Brain.  But the other day, flipping through it, I landed on the chapter by Ken Nunn which nearly brought tears to my eyes, it was so powerful, and so right.

The chapter (Chapter 5) is called Neurochemistry: the Fabric of Life and the Fabric of Eating Disorders and Professor Nunn puts forth his Five Propositions.  They are:

Proposition #1: Our bodies and…

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Wrong in too many ways to count

posted by Julie O'Toole on March 30, 2012 at 2:59pm

I follow Laura Collin’s blog almost all of the time—but some personal medical issues have kept me from reading lately, until today.  I scanned her recent entries and saw this.??

Good God.  But it does raise a few questions/issues; in fact, way more than a few.??

  1. Parents don’t cause eating disorders. Since we founded the Kartini Clinic we have been saying loudly, unequivocally and clearly:  Parents don’t cause eating disorders and children don’t choose to have them.  Do we say this…
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A wolf in sheep’s clothing

posted by Julie O'Toole on January 20, 2012 at 2:00pm

Every researcher in the field of eating disorders tries their best to reduce the burden of suffering for patients.  They try to contribute to the meaningful scientific discussion.  Having said that, however, I am going to proceed to critique an article by Natalie Godart, Sylvie Berthoz, Florence Curt and colleagues at the Institut Mutualiste Montsouris in Paris, France; the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research; King’s College, London Institute of Psychiatry; the…

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Anorexia Nervosa in the 17th century

posted by Julie O'Toole on December 17, 2011 at 12:38am

There seems to be a discussion that simply will not die in the world of eating disorders (particularly when it comes to anorexia nervosa) around whether the “desire for thinness” is culturally bound and whether AN is a “modern phenomenon”.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to acquire a copy of Pthsiologia, a book written in 1689 by Richard Morton, an astute observer and physician of his day.  Morton’s description of two cases—one in a boy and one in a girl-- of what we now call…

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Coming to Terms with My Daughter’s Genetically Programmed Body Size

posted by Julie O'Toole on November 18, 2011 at 1:59pm

Friends:  at the F.E.A.S.T. conference in Washington DC, I was approached by a mother (we’ll call her Kathy) who thanked me for helping her out from a distance with my blog titled “Determining Ideal Body Weight”.  She told me how she struggled to come to grips with the weight gain her daughter truly needed to get well.  I was very impressed by her eloquence, humility and dedication to her daughter.  I asked her if she would consider writing a guest blog so that other parents…

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Making Thanksgiving plans

posted by Julie O'Toole on November 11, 2011 at 2:00pm


This is a difficult time of the year for our patients and, I imagine, for eating disordered patients everywhere.  All over the country people are making plans for family to gather and to frequently do what can only be described as “binge” together.  Why do I say binge?  Well, because on Thanksgiving day people frequently eat more, sometimes much more, than they ordinarily do, which triggers a lot of “regret” style talk, which triggers a lot of discussion of everyone’s diets, weight…

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Don’t take no for an answer

posted by Julie O'Toole on October 28, 2011 at 3:00pm

I made this dialogue up, pieced it together from things that have been said to mothers and fathers seeking our care for their eating disordered children many times over the years.  

“Doctor, I am really worried about Simon.  He seems thin to me and recently all he does is study and exercise, he rarely goes out with his friends any more and he used to be such a social kid.”

“Don’t worry, Mom.  Kids go through all kinds of stages.  They have to experience who they are and often try on…

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New eating disorder resources for parents and providers

posted by Julie O'Toole on October 8, 2011 at 1:16am

The great thing about having your own blog is that you get to decide what you think is appropriate reading for your patients and their families.  Book reviews are always subjective, and never more so than on a blog, but I am pleased to have some books (besides my own Give Food A Chance) to recommend to families and other providers which are compatible with our Kartini approach to eating disorders.

I am often told that if I recommend books with a scientific approach “parents won’t be…

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Boys with anorexia nervosa

posted by Julie O'Toole on September 30, 2011 at 3:00pm

I sit at my desk drinking coffee; our patient census over the years is approaching two thousand children and young adults, the majority of whom have had anorexia nervosa or its variants.  And I am thinking about our boys.  

Given the approximate accepted statistic that 90% of patients with AN will be female, (even though the percentage is higher in younger patients), that still gives us around 200 boys.

Remember, with that many, if you think you recognize someone from these…

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Family-based eating disorder treatment for the young adult patient

posted by Julie O'Toole on September 16, 2011 at 2:59pm

Family-based treatment for the young adult patient

For most of us when we are 17, 18, 19 or slightly older, independence from our family of origin can’t come a moment too soon.  We are anxious to be independent, and highly allergic to ‘being told what to do’.  And usually—though young folks often do not credit this—our parents are equally anxious for us to do so.  Although many of us parents are very tearful at the ‘loss’ of our child to our home, we are also excited to see them…

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