The Common Good
April 2009

More Resources on Eating Disorders and Eating

by Elizabeth Palmberg | April 2009

In What to Do If Someone at Your Church Has an Eating Disorder, from the God's Politics blog, Nicole Saylor offers eight steps to responding to this challenging situation in a healing way.

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The National Eating Disorders Association offers a host of online resources, including toolkits for parents and educators. They also have an information and referral helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (weekdays, 8:30-4:30 Pacific Standard Time).

Something Fishy is a Web site that offers a moderated pro-recovery online bulletin board, plus wealth of information about eating disorders – “definitions, signs and symptoms, physical dangers, treatment finder,” and more.

The True Campaign aims to challenge, from a Christian perspective, our culture’s message that women’s identity and beauty are based in their bodies, rather than in relationship with God. Resources include relevant Bible verses, printable “true-ism” cards, and articles for further reading.

Remuda Ranch, an inpatient eating disorder treatment center based in a Christian perspective, has a number of online articles about eating disorders for professionals and the general public, including articles for parents.

The Renfrew Center, an inpatient treatment center for women which strives to offer mental health services that “recognize the many biological, social, and cultural contexts of women's lives,” has a number of resources about eating disorders on their Web site, including one-page informational flyers in English and Spanish, and a host of links for further reading:

Gürze Books sells hundreds of book titles about eating disorders and available topics, and has a library of free articles online.

Psych Central, a Web site run by mental health professionals, offers a set of concise articles about eating disorders.

The Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy, and Action advocates with policymakers for the insurance coverage and research funding needed to save lives.

Patient Voices: Eating Disorders, on the New York Times Web site, lets you hear audio clips from eight women, men, and children who have struggled with eating disorders.

Killing Us Softly III: Advertising’s Image of Women is the latest in documentarian Jean Kilbourne’s series of films about advertising, body image, gender stereotypes, and violence.

A Starving Madness: Tales of Hunger, Hope, and Healing in Psychotherapy, by Judith Ruskay Rabinor, Ph.D., offers eight compelling stories of hope and challenge from Rabinor’s work as a therapist to girls, women, and men with eating disorders.

 

Hunger Pains: The Modern Woman's Tragic Quest for Thinness, by Mary Pipher, Ph.D. Using stories from her experience and a therapist, combined with information from sociological research, Pipher paints a concise picture of our culture’s broken treatment of women’s bodies.

Eating Disorders: Anatomy of a Social Epidemic, by Richard A. Gordon, is an exhaustive psychiatrist’s-eye-view of research about eating disorders and their relationship to present-day Western culture. Sometimes the prose is dry, but the subject matter is always compelling.

 

Fasting Girls: The History of Anorexia Nervosa, by Joan Jacobs Brumberg, is a fascinating cultural history of how young women’s self-starvation existed before the epidemic of recent decades, and how extreme food refusal meant different things in different historical eras.

 

The Pastor's Guide to Psychological Disorders and Treatments offers religious leaders practical information and examples to recognize and help people with different mental problems, including eating disorders.

 

Psychology and the Church offers a wealth of stories with different models of how church and mental health professionals can work together.

Mindless Eating, by Brian Wansink, Ph.D., is not about eating disorders. Rather, it’s an entertainingly written account by a leading researcher into what influences people’s eating decisions – especially immediate visual and other cues. This book has lively prose, memorable descriptions of experiments, and practical suggestions for rewriting problematic eating “scripts;” it lacks, however, substantial consideration of how eating is a profoundly communal, rather than just individual phenomenon. (Hence the negative title; once he has debunked the myth that “will power” can or should control all eating decisions, Wansink is left describing what I would argue is a community-shaped hole, but which he can only name as the absence of individual mind.)

Extreme Measures, an article in the Washington Post, describes an outpatient treatment strategy for anorexia.

Elizabeth Palmberg is an assistant editor of Sojourners

 

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