This is part II of posts on why I am highly skeptical of the argument that we need to understand the genetic basis of eating disorders in order to improve outcomes. If you would like to leave a comment, please read Part I as well.
I worry about the implications of focusing on genetics and neurobiology in identifying causes of and solutions to eating disorders in the context of a neoliberal society.
When I was an adolescent, finding out that eating disorders have a genetic component alleviated my guilt. Coming across Dr. Walter Kaye’s research into the neurobiology of eating disorders — the hypothesis that the drive to restrict may be linked to and reinforced by serotonin systems in the brain (here, here, and here) — provided me with a plausible biological explanation for why restricting made me feel calmer. It meant my eating disorder was … Continue reading →
This past week I had the opportunity to attend the third annual Weight Stigma Conference (WSC) in Reykjavik, Iceland. I lived Tweeted throughout, as did some others, so if you’re interested in seeing the social media from the conference I recommend checking out the #StigmaConf2015 hashtag on Twitter. A few people asked if I would blog about the conference, and I’m more than happy to do so! If you’re not a fan of conference recap blogs, stay tuned for our regular Science of EDs programming soon.
Overall, I thought this conference was fantastic. Though it was not a conference strictly geared toward eating disorders, weight stigma is not helpful for anyone in any kind of body and engaging in any kind of behaviours around food and exercise. It oversimplifies complex issues, makes body management a personal issue with strong political stakes, and reduces eating disorders and obesity to a binary … Continue reading →