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Frequently Asked Questions

Are eating disorders genetic?
Will antidepressants help me fight my eating disorder?
How was this treatment developed?
What does this treatment entail?

Q: Are eating disorders genetic?
A: A combination of both biological and environmental factors is responsible for the development of eating disorders. Studies of bulimia and binge-eating indicate that these disorders often run in the family. Either genetics predispose people to the disease or certain psychological factors shared among one's family members make it more likely that he or she will develop an eating disorder. Nonetheless, one cannot ignore how society's promotion of the "thin ideal" contributes to the rise in bulimia cases. Any role that genetics plays in the development of eating disorders is coupled by a desire to achieve an excessively slender body type.

Q: Will antidepressants help me fight my eating disorder?
A: Some people do prefer to rely upon antidepressants for treatment of their disorder. It is important to note, however, that depression is more often a comorbid feature of an eating disorder rather than a direct cause of it. Antidepressants appear effective in the short-term, but their long-term effectiveness in less known. Nonetheless, studies demonstrate that antidepressants may help individuals who find psychotherapy ineffective. And while psychological treatment, like the CBT presented in this workbook, is generally viewed as the best approach to eating disorders, you should consider medication as an alternative treatment strategy if therapy yields poor result.

Q: How was this treatment developed?
A: The treatment outlined in this workbook results from years of clinical treatment studies conducted at Stanford University. Collaborative work with researchers at other American and British Universities was also integrated into the original Stanford research.

Q: What does this treatment entail?
A: The workbook will present you with a comprehensive treatment program that you would ideally follow in conjunction with therapy sessions conducted by a mental health professional. Using the exercises provided, you may assess your eating patterns and attitude toward food, weight, and body image. Once you have gathered that knowledge, this workbook will instruct you on how to correct your constructive behavior and take proactive steps to improve your own health.

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