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Link between eating disorders and cfs

Discussion in 'Gastrointestinal and Urinary' started by RustyJ, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Is there a biological link between eating disorders and cfs, as opposed to the inferred psychological ones, lol?

    Does anyone have family members who have had bulimia or anorexia, even briefly? A while back a girlfriend of mine suffered from bulimia. I just checked a site on eating disorders and while at first glance they seem quite different illness, there are an awful lot of similarities.

    So often dismissed at psych cases ourselves, are we guilty of exhibiting a form of medical bigotry by condemning eating disorders to the psych bin?

    While at first glance they seem quite different conditions, reflux, ibs, paralysis, poor dental health, fatigue, joint pain etc are all common factors (admittedly could be brought on by poor nutrition, but in cfs poor nutrition could be involved also). Personally, I have a great deal of trouble putting on weight, no matter how much I eat.

    Here is the link to the site: http://www.something-fishy.org/dangers/dangers.php
     
  2. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    personally, I wouldn't be surprised if there were a biological component to eating disorders.

    that being said, people who have eating disorders will often tell you that they began this behavior as a maladaptive coping mechanism. something difficult was going on in their lives (sometimes something very terrible) and what they ate was the one thing they had the power to control. then it gets out of hand and they are no longer in control of their behaviour--it's very difficult to reverse when they realize it might be a good idea to do so.

    people with eating disorders deserve our support and our empathy. no matter what the cause, they are in a difficult situation and are struggling physically and probably emotionally as well.

    having an eating disorder is a different situation from people with ME who will tell you a whole range of things, often that their life was going just fine until they got sick (but also may say that there was some stress, whether a normal-person stress like everyone experiences, like job stress, overwork, and difficult in-laws type stresses, or whether a "something very terrible" stress).

    regardless of what people with ME/CFS tell you about whether stress was involved in the onset of their disease, they will never say they went to bed to cope with it all, or got the flu and found being sick easier than facing the world (which is what the maladaptive coping mechanism model would predict, if ME/CFS were truly like an eating disorder).

    the link you posted was effects of eating disorders, or what happens when you have unhelpful eating habits from an eating disorder (which are serious conditions and should never be considered lightly or derisively). not surprisingly, it's similar to what happens (as to people with ME/CFS) when your gut isn't able to correctly process what you do eat, or when you have a bazillion food intolerances because either your gut is messed up or your immune system is messed up (or both), or when you have nausea.
     
  3. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    then again, maybe some of the things they think "trigger" eating disorders might actually cause or contribute to them. I doubt it's being studied whether there are any biomedical causes of eating disorders, and maybe it should be.
     
  4. Tulip

    Tulip Guest

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    Scientists discovered back in the 1990's that it was all to do with malfunctioning brain chemistry why people develop eating disorders.
     
  5. ukxmrv

    ukxmrv Senior Member

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    I just haven't seen eating disorders feature in people with ME that I've been meeting with or corresponding with for nearly 30 years. I've met many people who develop allergies, food intolerances, malabsorption or are too physically weak or too poor to eat properly.

    There's always going to be some with both but I've not seen it as a red flag or highly represented. I've no family members with eating disorders.

    Can't see what is wrong with considering eating disorders as being merely "different" like many other mental and physical diseases. We have enough trouble keeping up with ME news and can't be expected to learn all the other many unrelated diseases. Obviously there are going to always be some people with more than one condition.

    Other conditions with a mental label also have advocates who argue for the physical side. Having ME makes me value their point of view more than I would have before and I listen to them and read evidence when I can. I'm happy with the idea that some conditions considered mental will in fact turn out to have straightforward physical causes and we just haven't found them yet.

    My attitude is that it's not "medical bigotry" but we need to concentrate on ME and let people with other diseases and their families concentrate on their own areas. If we dilute our very small amount of energy then it's not good for us. There are just simply too many diseases and conditions that would like attention. We are one of many.
     
  6. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1

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    Eatting disorders do have similar symptoms to ME/CFS (headaches is another common symptom) and hence should always be ruled out before diagnosing ME/CFS.

    Interesting question. My daughter did have a very serious eatting disorder when young (bad enough that they stuck her into hospital for a a short time and she was on meds to help try to make her eat). Due to her very young age they didnt diagnose her with anorexia thou she had all the symptoms of it (she also thought she was fat!!) and instead she got a diagnoses of "failure to thrive".

    I myself developed an eatting disorder (I had all the symptoms of anorexia at one point)... due to thou the stress of having ME and the effects it had on my life. I felt like my eatting was the only thing I could control ... as things were so out of control with my life and the ME in which I at the time felt like I had no control at all over (I wasnt able to pace well). So controling my eatting eg not eatting, made me feel like I was in control of my life. Anorexia wasnt about being unwell or wanting to be unwell, it was about doing something in which one feels (emotionally) better.

    After a time thou from my own experience with it.. the whole thing like grows and then I started to not see how thin I was at all. I didnt think I was looking too thin thou others were saying I was at the time (so that thinness self image thing developed for me after the food controlling). (Im currently fine in the eatting dept. and have none of that disorder with those thoughts going on).

    Due to the fact that eatting disorders can develop due to a person not being able to handle stress or due to feeling life is out of control (something which basically all who have ME feel). I would think that annorexia may be more common in ME/CFS then the average healthy population. I thou havent seen any evidence thou of it in our ME communities, to believe that there is some kind of underlaying cause for both these conditions.

    "regardless of what people with ME/CFS tell you about whether stress was involved in the onset of their disease, they will never say they went to bed to cope with it all, or got the flu and found being sick easier than facing the world (which is what the maladaptive coping mechanism model would predict, if ME/CFS were truly like an eating disorder). "

    Those with anorexia do not find it easier being sick. Being ill is quite hard on them and they want to be healthy.. it isnt about not wanting to be healthy.
     
  7. WillowJ

    WillowJ Senior Member

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    sorry, I didn't mean to parallel that aspect of it. the maladaptive coping models of anorexia nervosa and of CFS have different theoretical causations (to account for the different outcomes: changed eating habits or changed sickness behaviour). the maladaptive coping model of anorexia nervosa is exactly as you described in your case: it's relieving to have something (eating habits) which is within your control. the maladaptive coping model of CFS is: it's relieving to be able to escape ______ from normal life (by remaining sick).

    Some (many?) people with anorexia nervosa do say the maladaptive coping model of anorexia nervosa does seem to apply to why they developed this condition (if it's biomedical in origin, however, this could be seem to apply but, in actuality, stem from mixed-up brain chemicals from a preceeding cause, but like ukxmrv said, I don't have the energy to look at the studies; my own set of complex and misunderstood diseases is more than enough for me at this point in time); they will tell you that it may (seem to) have began as a coping mechanism (whatever else it developed into).

    People with ME, on the other hand, will not tell you that the maladaptive coping model of CFS, that they wouldn't have to deal with _____, seemed to play any role in the development of their condition. They will tell you their disease began with a virus that never went away, or cumulative overwork and stress wore them out, or a vaccination, or something like that, but they won't ever say this particular condition began as a coping mechanism.

    Either way, people with anorexia nervosa deserve our support, our respect, and whatever help we are able to give. I think we're all in agreement on that and we can safely put to rest the idea that we PWME are "down" on mental-classified disorders in general or depression or anorexia nervosa in particular. (not suggesting anyone on this thread said this; but it is something that comes up from time to time)

    Saying our condition is different is not saying we are better, just that different sorts of treatment are needed. Everyone deserves the treatment that will best treat their true diagnosis, and that will best come when people are separated and studied scientifically with reference to medical causation (something much neglected in psychiatric-classified diseases), instead of mixed all together on the basis of a non-discriminating symptom or a theory which doesn't match facts.
     
  8. currer

    currer Senior Member

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    I used to work in a self help group for people with ME which was quite large. I was there for fifteen years. I never met anyone with an eating disorder that I knew about - I know they're not always obvious, but I would say eating disorders are no more common in ME than in the normal population.
     
  9. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    You raise a good point, currer but, I never met a bulemic/anorexic who admitted they had a problem either.

    My girlfriend went to extraordinary lengths to hide her problem, even when I knew it was happening. There was something else going on, some sort of psychotic belief thing. I guess this was part of my initial post, that our attitude towards an illness can have an impact on the victim's behavior. Some of the comments from this forum towards eating disorders almost paralleled the attitudes of professionals towards ME patients.
     
  10. RustyJ

    RustyJ Contaminated Cell Line 'RustyJ'

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    Yes. Yet many continue to regard the condition as psychological.
     

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