Self Harm Social Media and Social Contagion

Parent Alert – What do smart phones have to do with self-harm? An epidemic among our middle school students – YES!!!!

We all know that the Internet has dramatically changed the lives of humans all over the world. While majority of it is positive, the dark sides of it walk into our therapy offices all day long. I write this article as an appeal to parents of 5th through 11th grade students. PLEASE, please, please think twice before you give your “child” free access to a playground that has no monitors.

As a Psychologist who has been treating teens here in San Diego for almost 30 years, I am blown away by the hoards of teens who are self harming in the last 1 to 2 years.

Cutting is a behavior that traditionally has had roots in trauma, mood instability and often girls or boys who are not able to “find” feelings or name “feelings.” As mental health providers, our work tends to be in the arena of working through the traumatic events, finding ways to cope with the emotional rollercoaster that can be present with the teen brain and identifying feelings and learning how to cope with negative emotional states.

How does one connect smart phones to cutting and self-harm?  Celebrities use social media to spread the virus through sites such as Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram. When we have Demi Lavato, Myle Cyrus, Brittney Spears, Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga openly talking about their “recovery” from self-harm, girls who worship them begin to see this as normal behavior. Some of these celebrities are well intentioned, in that they are trying to prevent other girls from going to these behaviors.

This mimicry is called social contagion. In very simple words – contamination! The epidemic of self-harm is completely being transmitted virally via social media and the Internet. There are hundreds of blogs in the Internet that glorify self-harm. Middle school girls feel an enhanced sense of belongingness when they are part of “the” club that cutsL Other blogs glamorize the “thigh gap” and yet others glamorize anorexia and bulimia.

To understand social contagion, we have to understand some brain science. We are all born with mirror neurons, which give us empathy and connection. These mirror neurons are responsible for the “copying” behaviors that we all do. Most teens will say they do not want to be like everyone else, yet they are constantly trying to fit in, and be in a group. Teen angst is all about finding your self, and looking for people to emulate and inspire you. The teen brain is under construction and will not be fully developed till age 25. When Demi Lavato who is so strong, powerful, vibrant and rocks the preteen and teen world speaks, they ALL listen.

If someone has the flu and you are nursing them, chances are you may develop the symptoms in a few days since you got exposed to the virus. The PROXIMITY put you at risk for the flu. Social media “contaminates” millions of girls and boys across the globe. Cutting is a maladaptive behavior, and this social acceptance makes it an adaptive, socially accepted, even approved behavior.

The most protective factor a parents can create is to not have your child/teen have a smart phone till they are 17 or older, keep the computer and ipads out in the open in the family, have discussions about which social media their kids are on, and who do they follow? If the bird flu were going around what protective factors would you create around your teen? Be a parent please?

Posted on 6/23/2014

Natural Relief for Migraines – The Neurofeedback Solution

Today, medical experts estimate that more than 45 million people in the United States alone deal with headaches on a regular basis. If you suffer regularly with tension or migraine headaches, then you know all too well how debilitating they can be. In severe cases, both types of headaches can actually prevent a person from working, going to school, and living a normal life. If you have tried over the counter and prescription medications without much or any success, you might want to consider the benefits that Neurofeedback provides.

Migraine headaches are usually localized in certain areas of the brain and this varies from person to person. The most commonly misdiagnosed headache is the sinus headache that is often a migraine, and not accurately diagnosed. It is very possible to have a migraine without any of the classic symptoms of migraine such as nausea or throbbing pain. Migraines tend to run in families.

Migraines are the result of turbulence in the brain that appears to have very slow wave activity. Theses inefficiencies in the brain can result in a series of symptoms including headaches, poor memory, loss of concentration, eating and sleep.

The brain receives the feedback from itself (almost like watching itself), and it learns to regulate the Central Nervous System that is the source of the migraines. As the brain is watching itself through the Neurofeedback process, it learns to detect where the turbulence is and changes itself to have a better outcome.

The most exciting news is that Migraine sufferers are shocked that such a treatment was not available to them prior to all the medications they took over the years. Usually it takes about 10 sessions to experience relief from the migraines. Permanent lasting change will take effect in about 20 to 40 sessions.

This non medication treatment modality is not presented enough in the media for headache sufferers to see that there are non medication modallities that are there that one can tap into.

The following are research articles on migraines and effectiveness of Neurofeedback:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21309444

http://www.eeginfo.com/research/migraines_main.php

How Laughter Impacts the Brain

Laughter, such a joyful, intense emotion yet very poorly understood from a brain perspective.

As a Psychologist I work to cultivate resiliency in my clients, with one of the prominent factors of resiliency being a sense of humor. We all intuitively know that a sense of humor is a precious commodity and yet we do not “invest” in as heavily as we probably could!

Within the field of neuroscience, we have become increasingly excited about the range of new tools we have to measure various regions of the brain as they get activated by experiences and emotions. Functional MRI’s and qEEG maps are new brain mapping techniques that are giving us a peek into some regions of the brain we had not previously explored.

Laughter is definitely a WHOLE brain activity that bathes the brain with wonderful neurochemicals that boost a person’s immune system, heal “broken neurons” and most importantly regulate the brain.

Scientists that have studied the brain notice that the entire cerebral cortex lights up when a person laughs. There are specific regions of the brain that are involved when one laughs. Each region regulates a specific biological function in the body, which is why laughter has such a positive effect on the overall health of a person.

Here is an article that gives the exact regions of the brain that are activated with laughter:

http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/laughter3.htm

The following are articles that are research based and these can be cited in my appearance:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2249748/

What is most exciting in Neuropsychology and Brain research are treatment modalities that are being utilized much more in balancing the brain. One such treatment modality is Neurofeedback, which is one of the primary treatment modalities we utilize at Healthy Within Brain Institute. Neurofeedback regulates the positive and negative charges in the brain which result in an identical response as one has with laughter!!

This is exciting because it means we can actually treat the brain and cultivate a sense of humor through Neurofeedback. This then results in more heightened resiliency, better stress response, better health and cheaper medical costs! Perhaps we can use laughter to overhaul the medical system!!!

From Farm to Table – College campuses and veganism

College dining halls are now riddled with incessant choices of foods with specific markers on the food identifying vegetarian, vegan, kosher, gluten free, etc. As confusing as it is, these options also are the doorway to college students learning new and different ways of eating.

The following statistics highlight the body image disturbances that are all too prevalent in our youth today:

  • 35-57% of adolescent girls engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives. Overweight girls are more likely than normal weight girls to engage in such extreme dieting (Boutelle, Neumark-Sztainer, Story, &Resnick, 2002; Neumark-Sztainer&Hannan, 2001; Wertheim et al., 2009).
  • Even among clearly non-overweight girls, over 1/3 report dieting (Wertheim et al., 2009).
  • Girls who diet frequently are 12 times as likely to binge as girls who don’t diet (Neumark-Sztainer, 2005).
  • The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 165 pounds. The average Miss America winner is 5’7” and weighs 121 pounds (Martin, 2010).
  • The average BMI of Miss America winners has decreased from around 22 in the 1920s to 16.9 in the 2000s. The World Health Organization classifies a normal BMI as falling between 18.5 and 24.9 (Martin, 2010).
  • 95% of all dieters will regain their lost weight in 1-5 years (Grodstein, Levine, Spencer, Colditz, & Stampfer, 1996; Neumark-Sztainer, Haines, Wall, & Eisenberg, 2007).
  • 35% of “normal dieters” progress to pathological dieting. Of those, 20-25% progress to partial or full-syndrome eating disorders (Shisslak, Crago, & Estes, 1995).
  • Of American, elementary school girls who read magazines, 69% say that the pictures influence their concept of the ideal body shape. 47% say the pictures make them want to lose weight (Martin, 2010).
  • The incidence of bulimia in 10-39 year old women TRIPLED between 1988 and 1993 (Hoek& van Hoeken, 2003).

College is a time of discovery and exploration of the self and one is easily influenced by what the peers are doing on campus.

Orthorexia is a common term used for when a person has developed an unhealthy obsession with eating “clean”. In the last 5 years since there has been a growing movement towards organic farming and clean eating coupled with rejecting the industrial production of food. With increasing headlines discussing the “Obesity Epidemic” and a college student’s fear of gaining the so called “Freshmen 15” it is easy for a college student to be exposed to the manipulation of the American diet and as he/she is becoming a critical thinker about these issues, a natural point of rebelling the system would be to become vegan.

Just as in the drug world we reference pot as the gateway drug, “veganism is the gateway to developing an eating disorder such as orthorexia. The college student innocently walks into this landmine of healthy eating. Dining halls are very user friendly to cultivating eating disorders since abundant supplies are made available and they will cater to the variety of palates.

The person who will be prone to developing this extreme form of eating, and for whom this can lead to a life threatening obsession will tend to be someone who is very perfectionistic and detail oriented. The perfectionism means that they will want to do it “extremely” well and this will fire off the gene.

With the 28 years of experience in the treatment of eating disorders orthorexia has become more prevalent in the last 5 to 7 years in our clinic. This time frame coincides with the farm to table movement that is growing in such popularity. Books such as Micheal Pollan’s  In Defense of Food are common reads among high school and college campuses. For a person who is highly influenced by societal trends this can then become a triggering event as can a variety of other community movements.

For those college students who have developed Orthtorexia it is critical that they see a Psychotherapist at their counseling center who specializes in eating disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. They will need to relearn how to not be afraid of food and cultivate a balanced approach to “eating healthy.”

In general college campuses are HUGE breeding grounds for eating disorders. For us clinicians the contagion component of eating disorders is very apparent to us. Teaching the student how to not war on their body at a time of extreme stress and change is extremely gratifying for our center staff!

Special to CNN: Help yourself and your kids: Don’t diet

Link to article on CNN

Editor’s note: Dr. Divya Kakaiya is clinical director and founder of the Healthy Within treatment program in San Diego, California, and president of the nonprofit Healthy Within Foundation. She has been treating eating disorders since 1985 and has been cited frequently for her volunteer work with girls and women.

San Diego, California (CNN) — Welcome to 2010. What is your New Year’s resolution? Are you planning on investing more money into the annual $40 billion dieting industry? If so, please think again.

As we start our workweek, many of us are looking in the mirror and saying “Yuck. I feel fat, uncomfortable and need to go on a diet.”

Dieting and the language of “fat” have become so normal that we don’t think twice before we say, “I have to go on a diet, I have gained so much weight.”

If we are parents of teenagers, we may as well be saying to them, “Change yourself, fix your body. You’re not perfect and never will be.” Is this how we want to empower our youth?

You spend countless hours raising your child with the values of honesty, integrity and the importance of the work ethic. But if you are dieting and complaining about how fat you are, you could be putting your teenager at risk for an eating disorder. As a psychologist who has been treating eating disorders since 1985, I worry that there could be a connection between dieting parents and teenagers who develop anorexia or bulimia.

The 6-year-old girl who is watching her mother suck in her stomach in front of the mirror is going to look at her belly poking out and immediately think that she is fat.

How awful that we just inadvertently planted the seed of lifelong discontent with her body into the innocent mind of a 6-year-old.

We have to be mindful of what we really want to emphasize as important. In this quick-fix world of Botox, plastic surgery and fad diets, our children are not being taught how to tolerate discomfort and how to work hard and patiently.

“Now” is the demand word that parents feel compelled to cater to. We could be creating a generation of self-obsessed, narcissistic children. Do we really want them to feel that the glamour of “Gossip Girl” is the goal of their lives? We must draw the line by examining our own core values.

The majority of us know that the quick fix is not going to work, yet we feel compelled to throw ourselves into the despair of broken diets, broken resolutions, broken promises and worse, a pervasive sense of shame that attacks the core of our being.

We are so inundated with messages that are constantly redefining what is healthy that in our confusion we forget what is normal eating and a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

The “diet monster” gobbles up our self-esteem and makes us return to that unfaithful lover again and again, only to drop more money into that $40 billion pot. We could use that money to educate millions of brains each year, better our schools, reduce poverty and attend to our elderly.

Of course, eating healthily and staying active are very important. But of those who lose weight through dieting, 98 percent gain it back again in two years. Diet is a four-letter word that begins with “die.” Isn’t that ominous enough?

This year, create an intention not to diet.

When you do this, you are consciously rejecting the appearance-obsessed, materialistic culture that inundates us. An intention to honor your soul instead of your appearance — to choose to give back in the community, volunteer, give time to the elderly — will make you feel stronger.

Instead of spending time counting calories or going obsessively to the gym, donate those hours to a shelter for abused women. Love your body. This year, make it your intention to teach your teenager to reject the appearance-obsessed world she lives in and have her give her heart instead of changing her body.

Caution: This approach might make you start to love your body and you may waver on your New Year’s resolution to lose weight!

As January unfolds, we are going to be blasted with commercials from multiple sources, with each one touting a permanent relief. The net result of these commercials is to get us to continue to hate our bodies so that these diet companies can make money off our body hatred.

There is also a political reason for women to be held to a high “thin” standard of perfection. We are then no longer a threat to anyone who wants power. “Body Wars” keep women in their place and are economically driven.

Let us assert our power by rejecting the dieting mantra, standing our ground — and being full of ourselves.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Divya Kakaiya.

NPR: African-Americans and Eating Disorders

To listen to the audio or read transcript on NPR, click here.

FARAI CHIDEYA, host:

This is NEWS & NOTES. I’m Farai Chideya. Black people don’t starve themselves, throw up, or do any other things that constitute an eating disorder. That’s what some people think, but that’s wrong. Some studies show that African-Americans are just as likely as whites to struggle with eating disorders. But the professionals don’t always catch the problem. We’ll talk with two experts about the disorders in a moment. But first, Marna Clowney-Robinson is an eating disorder survivor. She is now an advocate for people of color who struggle with the problem and she’s here now to tell us her story. Marna, thanks for coming on.

Ms. MARNA CLOWNEY-ROBINSON (Eating Disorder Survivor): You’re welcome.

CHIDEYA: So let’s start when you were a teenager. Describe who you were and your relationship with food and what food meant to you and how you chose to deal with it?

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: Well, I guess as a teenager I really wasn’t sure who I was or where I fit in. Being that I’m from a multi-ethnic African-American family, it was real hard for me to make friends and to feel included within my community, and I used food as a way of, I would say, trying to find a place for myself to fit in as well as disappear. And when I say disappear, for me it meant not having people see me, not having people be able to make fun of me, to pick on me, to see the flaws that I was seeing within myself.

CHIDEYA: So you, by the time you were 17, were five feet ten. How much did you weigh at your lowest point?

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: My lowest point I was about 112 pounds.

CHIDEYA: That’s extreme, and did – how did your family react? Did they just say, oh, you know, you’ve got to eat a little bit more? Or did they recognize this was a major problem?

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: Within my family I don’t think they actually saw it as a eating disorder, and myself didn’t really see it as a eating disorder nor saw it as a huge problem until I got treatment. I am one out of six siblings and we all use food as a way of coping with stresses and stressful situations that came up in our lives at the time. What I was doing was pretty much normal with my siblings. So to us it was normal behavior. It’s how we – I mean we used food to deal with stress.

CHIDEYA: Now…

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: Go ahead.

CHIDEYA: Why do you think that is, and what I mean is, you know, there’s a lot of people who have eating disorders. I mean it’s, you know, as you know, it’s not uncommon. But do you think there was, I mean was there a moment in time where there was a stress when you were a child that kind of brought this out or was it just sort of a family practice? Why do you think you got caught up in it?

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: I think for myself, I took it really hard when my parents split and felt that my father leaving was my fault, and a lot of different circumstances that led up to him leaving was actually my fault. So around eight or nine years old is when I first started experimenting with controlling my food intake or getting rid of my food intake.

CHIDEYA: Now, Marna, I want to get into more details of your story, but we’ve also got a couple other folks with us. Becky Thompson is a professor of sociology at the Simmons College in Boston. She also wrote “A Hunger So Wide and So Deep: A Multiracial View of Women’s Eating Problems.” And Divya Kakaiya is a licensed psychologist in San Diego, California, and she’s been treating eating disorders since 1985.

So welcome, guys. And Becky, let me go straight to you. When you are hearing Marna talk about this, what does it call up for you from your experience?

Professor BECKY THOMPSON (Simmons College, Boston): Well, first, thanks for having me on the show. I really appreciate Marna’s courage and honesty. It still takes a lot of guts to talk openly about the reasons that girls and women turn to food or away from it in order to protect themselves from a range of different traumas. So she is breaking ground in two ways, and one is to talk about her specific story, but also to really counter the notion that African-American women don’t get eating problems. So I just appreciate your courage.

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: Thank you.

CHIDEYA: So when you think about what she was saying about feeling like somehow her family divorce was her fault, is that something, is it common for people who have eating disorders to take on the weight of situations that they didn’t control and may not have even really had a hand in?

Prof. THOMPSON: Definitely. One of the things that I saw over and over again among the women that I interviewed for “A Hunger So Wide and So Deep” is that they didn’t feel like they had much control over anything at all. And they often turn to food or away from it as a way of trying to take care of themselves. One of the women I interviewed, for example, remembers hearing her parents go at it and her father beating up her mother. And she would make little cookies with the Ritz Crackers and raisins (unintelligible) smiles; raisins and smiles for me and my sisters is what she would say when she was four years old.

She was also being sexually abused at the time by a family member and also by a babysitter, and she really thought that she was at fault for all of that. So as young as four years old and then by seven years old she had really seen food as her main companion in the world.

CHIDEYA: Divya, let’s dig in a little bit into what it really means to have an eating disorder. There’s different types – you know, the main ones are anorexia and bulimia. Explain what those are, first of all, and then I want to ask you a little bit more about the distinctions.

Ms. DIVYA KAKAIYA (Psychologist): Right, right. Thank you. Thank you for having me on the show. I appreciate it, and just as Becky said, I think that it just really is tremendously courageous on Marna’s part to tell her story because I think this is how we dispel a lot of the myths that we have in our community. And you know, when we look at anorexia, you know, there is a – again, with anorexia there’s a believe out there that a person who is anorexic is – has stopped eating completely, and that is not the case.

A drive for thinness and sort of like this obsessiveness about needing to be thinner and never feeling like a person gets thin enough, so there’s that whole piece of perfectionism that you find with anorexia; and then with bulimia, what we find is that women that tend to be prone to bulimia are more normal weight or slightly overweight women. And as I was mentioning, that a lot of times with anorexia there’s a drive for thinness and with bulimia it’s much more so about the control piece.

And so, and of course with anorexia we have the same thing too. So the underlying issues are often, you know, pretty significant with eating disorders.

CHIDEYA: When you think about some more of the distinctions around these behaviors, is there, you know, just tell us what the risks are, what can you do to yourself if you pursue either thinness or vomiting as a way of controlling what you do or any of the other methods?

Ms. KAKAIYA: You know what, it’s with all the years I’ve been treating eating disorders, the medical risks are huge and tremendous. I mean with anorexia, clearly, you know, when a woman stops having her period and her estrogen levels drop, there’s a resultant decline in bone density. And eating disorders, particularly anorexia, have the highest mortality rate of all eating disorders.

And unfortunately, you know, the more assimilated young African woman – American woman is, in the mainstream dominant Caucasian culture, the more high risk she tends to be for developing anorexia or bulimia, because what she’s doing then is she’s internalizing the values of the dominant white culture around thinness. And so the medical pieces are what often don’t get talked about in terms of the complications with eating disorders.

CHIDEYA: Well, I just want to bring folks into the conversation in case they are just tuning in. This is actually the part of our, the wrap-up of our series on mental health, and you’re listening to NPR’s NEWS & NOTES. I’m Farai Chideya. Our guests in talking about eating disorders are Marna Clowney-Robinson, who has survived an eating disorder herself; Divya Kakaiya, a licensed psychologist; and Becky Thompson, who wrote “A Hunger So Wide and So Deep: A Multiracial View of Women’s Eating Problems.”

Marna, did you seek help ultimately because of medical reasons?

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: Yes, I did. When I first tried to get help, I went to my regular doctor, because I was having a lot of chest pains, esophageal problems, and it was really hard for me to get a professional to actually take me serious. And I ended up struggling for another couple years until I actually finally found someone who could help me.

CHIDEYA: Why do you think people, some of these professionals, didn’t seem to see you as someone who needed help?

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: What one doctor told me was that they didn’t see or recognize eating disorders in minority cultures, so he was not going to go down that road. He would test for other things.

I had another doctor tell me eat like a boy, you’ll be better, and another nurse pretty much told me that it was all in my head; I was making it up, because they didn’t see a lot of minority patients with eating disorders.

CHIDEYA: Becky, your book is about multiracial issues within eating disorders. Is there a lack of treatment that still affects some girls and women, and we should add, men and boys?

Ms. THOMPSON: I think one of the most painful things about talking to the women who I interviewed was how many times they didn’t feel as if they were seen or heard or recognized when they tried to seek different kinds of treatment, and the only silver lining there is they often created ingenious strategies on their own.

You know, many of the women talked about – came to understand that the basis of their eating problems were from a number of different traumas, from exposure to racism or sexual abuse or physical abuse or poverty or the stress of acculturation or homophobia, and so for many of them healing included some form of activism, working in a rape crisis hotline or at a battered women’s shelter or being part of a support group or getting money to go to college so that they could finish their education.

And these were strategies that were outside of the medical model but they saw as means of empowerment, and I think what’s encouraging about that is that it talks about – that healing is really a communal affair, that people can’t do it on their own, and even if they are ignored by the medical establishment, there are other ways that people can get help, including Overeaters Anonymous, which became a big tool for a lot of the women.

CHIDEYA: Divya, how about men? How do men fit into this picture of eating disorders?

Ms. KAKAIYA: You know, I think about maybe 10 years ago, one out of every 10 persons coming to treatment facilities was a male, and in the last five years I would say it’s one out of seven that come to us that’s a male, and I truly believe that the reason why we see this increase is because men’s magazines are doing something very similar to what’s been done for women.

Women of color, men of color, it’s the same. You know, I was looking at some magazines a couple days ago and just looking at the oppression that men are starting to feel that women have felt for the last three or four decades in terms of only one particular body size is acceptable size, and with men too now they’re getting more and more messages that that six-pack has to be equated with sexual virility.

And so even in my clinic now I’m starting to see more and more young men and men that come forward to seek help because actually the word is getting out there that this is not just a woman’s disease, and it’s not only a white woman’s disease; it’s a disease that affects all, across all socio-cultural lines and across all ethnic lines.

So I think that because there’s more out in the field now, that we’re having it be less of a taboo, that more men are coming forward, and the issues for men clinically are the same identical issues as they are for women, which are issues around empowerment, not having a voice, there may be – it doesn’t necessarily have to have trauma, but there may be some trauma in the history, a very strong history of teasing with most eating disorders.

So if somebody has a certain body size and they’ve been teased about that, particularly for men and boys, that’s a very huge traumatic event.

CHIDEYA: Marna, Becky was saying that a lot of women of color have turned, you know, to really addressing the underlying issues and/or activism. You are someone who’s now involved in helping other people. What do you do? What kind of outreach do you do?

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: Well, what I’ve done is I began working with ANAD out of Chicago, and I help coordinate their online support network, trying to get those who struggle with eating disorders linked into the right resources for their particular geographic location, and I also have run a couple of online support forum boards so that women, men and teens can go on and be able to talk openly, honestly, and express their voice. Because I know for myself it wasn’t until I found my voice that the healing process could not begin for me, because with an eating disorder it quiets your voice so much that when you get it back, it’s so empowering.

So what I do is I try and help people who are – and I say people because it is – it’s men, women and even family members help find their voice in either surviving an eating disorder or helping a loved one with an eating disorder.

CHIDEYA: Becky, very briefly, what are a couple of resources that people can turn to?

Ms. THOMPSON: One of the most exciting programs around is called The Body Positive in San Francisco. It’s an empowerment program that includes producing videos and training adult and youth leaders to help combat body hatred and early-onset eating problems.

I also think that the National Black Women’s Health Project has been on the case with this for really 20 years, and I want to just celebrate the work that they’ve been doing.

And then what Marna talked about as well, about finding voice. One of the women I interviewed said I didn’t have any feelings about how I felt when I ate. I didn’t know that there were any feelings there because for years they were stripped away from me.

So for me, a first step in that process is talking with people about how to develop an affectionate understanding for the way that they did cope, not from a place of blame, but from a place of self-love.

CHIDEYA: Well, Becky, Divya, Marna, thank you so much.

Ms. THOMPSON: Thank you for having us.

Ms. KAKAIYA: Thank you.

Ms. CLOWNEY-ROBINSON: Thank you.

CHIDEYA: Marna Clowney-Robinson is on the board of directors of the National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders. She joined us from WUOM in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Divya Kakaiya is a licensed psychologist in San Diego. And Becky Thompson is a professor of sociology who wrote “A Hunger So Wide and So Deep.”