This post has been translated into Russian by Polina here.
I have often heard anorexia nervosa sufferers complain of “memory gaps,” particularly during the times they were really sick. As if they weren’t really there. It can be scary and unnerving, to say the least. A few months ago, a Tumblr user asked me about this:
Hi Tetyana, I’m not sure if this is merely based on my own subjective experience of if there is any grounding at all, but I was wondering if there could perhaps be a link between EDs and a sort of memory loss. It’s hard to describe but I definitely seem to have huge “gaps” in my memory of during that time, as if I selectively block things out. I have limited inaccurate knowledge with regards to memory on a molecular/neurological basis so I do not know if there’s anything there. Perhaps with calorie
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Patients with anorexia nervosa often have difficulties recognizing and regulating emotions. This conclusion that is largely based on data from common tests such as Reading the Mind in the Eyes assessing emotion recognition, and questionnaires like Difficulties in Emotion Regulation Scale (DERS) assessing emotion regulation (see my post here). Although that study compared currently ill patients with healthy controls (thus raising the possibility that the resulting data was due to the effects of starvation or due to the chronic nature of the ED in the sample, ~7.5 year on average), there is some evidence that some of these difficulties persist post-recovery.
Individuals with autism (ASD, or autism spectrum disorders) also have difficulties with emotion recognition and regulation, leading some investigators to hypothesize that AN and ASD may share common etiology. Providing further support for this hypothesis are studies suggesting that AN might be overrepresented in ASD … Continue reading →