Trauma-Informed Approaches to Eating Disorders is clearly a much needed and long overdue book about treatment, written by a diverse group of clinicians and carefully edited to focus on the needs and strengths of clinicians. The complexities and challenges that undergird, surround, and even haunt the nature, diagnosis, treatment, management, and understanding of eating disorders (EDs)-in-relation-to-trauma are so great, even for veteran clinicians, that they can leave practitioners at any level of experience feeling helpless and exhausted. This book, in a way that would be appreciated by practitioners of acceptance and commitment therapy, accepts the reality of those feelings and is committed to improving treatment, understanding, and compassion. The book is designed to foster respect for complexity and link it to humility in the presence of tragedy, tribulations, and suffering, framed all too often by our own shortcomings as healers. EDs are dangerous, ubiquitous, usually chronic in nature, and difficult to treat. Anorexia nervosa (AN) has the highest fatality rate (4%) of any mental illness. Bulimia nervosa reveals a fatality rate of 3.9%. EDs offer an enormous challenge to therapists because of their complexity, which includes severe medical risk, co-occurring anxiety, depression and personality disorders, an addiction component, and body image distortion—all of this within a mediadriven culture of thinness in which starving and purging can for some become lifestyle choices. This complexity is further exacerbated by the presence of painful life experiences or trauma. The book elucidates the connection between trauma and EDs by offering a trauma-informed phase model, as well as chapters describing the ways in which various therapeutic models address each of those phases. It offers an in-depth exposition of a fourphase model of trauma treatment.
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Eating disorders (EDs) are common chronic illnesses that most clinicians, regardless of specialty, will encounter at some point, and trauma is universal in those who have EDs. Trauma from physical and/or psychological injuries overwhelms the mind and body’s capacity to adapt, and can set off or perpetuate an already present ED. The nutritional support of an individual who struggles with an ED and is a trauma survivor can be one of the most challenging tasks a dietitian encounters. One of the most accurate ways to assess the nutritional status of the body is to do two types of tests: metabolic testing and body composition analysis. Physicians, dietitians, and nutritionists who treat EDs will be treating trauma. Physicians, specifically, have a critical role in diagnosing and treating EDs. Medical caregivers need to let the patients know that they will stay the course and support them for as long as it takes.