Genuine Help For Eating Disorder sufferers and caregivers.On this site you will learn how to beat your eating disorder with the power of neuroplasticity and awareness therapy.
1. By sprouting new endings from the body of the neuron and connecting them differently to the different neurons.
2. Changing the levels of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters)
3. Growing new neurons (this process is called neurogenesis)
Let’s quickly look through them one by one.
1. Sprouting of new neuronal endings will occur when you start doing new behaviors or new actions. These new behaviors have to be done repeatedly and regularly in order to sprout new endings.
For example, when you start regularly performing the act of binging, purging or starving oneself your brain cells (neurons) sprout new endings forming eating disorder pathways. These are then responsible for the binge, purge and starving episodes.
You continue because the urge is so strong as you have built these faulty neuronal pathways in your brain.
You may feel that it is impossible for you to stop these abnormal actions but the truth is that you can stop these bad actions by sprouting new neuronal endings and forming new neuronal pathways which can replace the old ones. The mechanism for sprouting these new endings (good one) is exactly the same – you should start performing new constructive behaviors regularly; ones not based on food abuse.
2. Changing the level of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) – can also occur with different behaviors you do. Some certain behaviors we do because the level of brain chemicals remains too high or too low.
For example, neurotransmitter acetylcholine gets produced when people start learning and paying more attention to things they are learning.
Acetylcholine is your attention getter. It gets produced when you pay attention to things and you became more attentive and learn better when you have a sufficient level of acetylcholine being produced. So, memorizing poetry, learning a foreign language, solving math problems, writing an essay, learning about how your brain works and etc. – all these activity will improve the level of acetylcholine in your brain.
People with eating disorders often can’t concentrate. It is because the level of the brain chemical acetylcholine is too low. But to improve it you must force yourself to focus and concentrate on something useful. Then your concentration will become better because by initial forcing yourself to concentrate you improve the level of this important chemical in your brain.
3. Growing new neurons. Recent research shows growing evidence that the adult human brain creates new neurons, a process known as neurogenesis. Now scientists have found that the areas in the brain where these new neurons grow can be stimulated by actions and neurogenesis occurs. One of the most important areas where neurogenesis occurs is in the hippocampus.
The hippocampus is the middle part of the brain and it forms one part of limbic system. The hippocampus is directly responsible for memory and our emotions.
People with eating disorders most likely have a chemical imbalance in hippocampus. Eating disorder sufferers store lots of memories of hurts and dissatisfaction with themselves in hippocampus. And their bad emotions come from these memories.
The conclusion is that by growing new neurons in the hippocampus you may help stop your distractive eating disorder behaviour.
Now you are probably interested in how you can stimulate the processes of neurogenesis.
Our next article will explain it all.
What is neuroplasticity?
Neuroplasticity is the natural ability of the brain to change its own structure in response to new situations, new behaviours or changes of the environment. Neuroplastic changes occur in a few different ways: by changing the neuronal connections, by sprouting new nerve endings and even by growing new neurons.
Neuro is for neuron, the nerve cells in our brains. Plastic is for “changeable, malleable, modifiable.” Without operations or medications you can make use of the brain’s amazing ability to change and transform your life in the direction you want. This ability can help you stop bad habits, change your feelings and cure many diseases including the most insidious ones like eating disorders.
For the past four hundred years this new thinking was inconceivable because mainstream medicine and science believed that brain anatomy was fixed. The conventional knowledge was that after infancy the brain can’t really change itself and was fully developed, only at old age when the brain starts the long process of decline was it believed to change.
This theory of the unchanging brain put people with mental and emotional problems under a lot of limitations. It basically meant that if you had a problem like an eating disorder, you more or less have to suffer for a life of taking drugs and being sick.
This kind of thinking made people believe that real treatments for mental disorders are always biological and involve drugs and that psychological (talk) therapy is not biological and just merely talk, so would not work.
But now, we have important data from psychoanalytical therapies and neuroscience that shows that when patients come in with their brains in certain states of miss wiring (mental states) then after undertaking psychological (neuroplastic) interventions their brains can be rewired without drugs or surgeries. This proves that neuroplastic therapy is every bit as biological as the use of drugs and even more precise at times because it is targeted.
To prove this fact American psychiatrist Dr Jeffrey M. Schwartz (UCLA School of Medicine) did some amazing research on his patients who suffered different form s of obsessions and compulsions. His patients went through neuroplastic treatment called “Four Step Self-Treatment Method”.
Before and after the treatment his patients had a PET scan of their brain. The PET scan showed that after neuroplastic treatment there was reduced activity in brain’s caudate nucleus (the centre of the brain which gets overactive with patients with obsessions).
Obsessions and compulsions are the main components of eating disorders but in relation to food.
So, this research showed that neuroplastic therapy can biologically change the structure of the brain and help people to be free from their obsessions without drugs.
To understand how neuroplastic change occurs read the article “Structure of neuron and neuronal connections (pathways)”.
Dr Irina Webster.