Cutting Edge of Research: The Neurobiology of Eating Disorders
March 24, 2014 by Castlewood Treatment Center in Clinical Articles, Eating Disorder Treatment Neurobiology and eating disorders research is documenting the important link between the brain and the behaviors of individuals who have eating disorders, particularly in regard to anxiety.
The link between neurobiology and eating disorders is an extremely complex subject. Simply stated, scientists are showing that there are actual brain pathways in those with anxiety and eating disorders that closely link these behaviors. This indicates that the behaviors are not of choice, but that they are kicked into gear along these pathways when exposed to either food or the absence of food, depending on the individual. While it is difficult to ascertain whether these pathways are genetic or develop over time, it is possible to alter these pathways through therapy. Helping a client change these pathways during treatment is a way to help heal the client.
Castlewood professional clinicians continually remain aware of new research that is made available on eating disorders. When documented to be highly effective, these new techniques are integrated into the care of Castlewood’s clients and families. Because the research on neurobiology and brain mapping is making such a positive impact in the identification of these pathways, Castlewood provides education and training on neurobiology and eating disorders for our clinical staff. Castlewood wants to use the latest research to inform our treatment approaches. This means bringing in expert trainers, who are involved with this important research, and then incorporating these new techniques in our care modalities.
Our anxiety treatment track at Castlewood already utilizes some techniques to stimulate the brain and help with anxiety and depression. It is important that the client and family understand that there are real genetic and neural pathways that cause behaviors, and that it isn’t about choice or lack of motivation. These are conditioned and coded pathways of the brain that cause patients to respond and react in particular ways.
The National Eating Disorder Alliance recently had a free webinar for individuals and families on neurobiology and eating disorders. It is archived and available for viewing in order to learn more about this promising research.