Episode 8: Eating Disorder Interview with Dr. Erin Parks

Because this episode is an interview, I do not have a full transcript available. Instead, here are the show notes, listing the main points of the episode: Eating Disorder Interview Show Notes.

Today on Brainstorms, I share with you my first interview of a neuroscientist, Dr. Erin Parks of the UC San Diego Eating Disorder Center. Dr. Parks and I discuss the range of eating disorders that we see today, as well as their neurobiological, genetic, and psychological roots. We talk about how culture factors into eating disorders, what personality traits are associated with such disorders, and how science has shed light on the development and treatment of various conditions on the eating disorder spectrum. We also address some of the myths surrounding eating disorders and what science has to say about them. This conversation is our longest podcast yet, and for good reason: Dr. Parks has an incredible wealth of knowledge about eating disorders and the adolescent brain, and the information she provides will forever change the way you look at eating disorders and people who suffer from them.

The UC San Diego Eating Disorder Center offers a wealth of additional information about eating disorders, and their website can be accessed here. For those in Southern California with concerns about an eating disorder, you can speak to a therapist at the UCSD center for free to learn about treatment options by calling  858-534-8019. Also, please like their page on Facebook and follow them on Instagram (@ucsdeatingdisordercenter) for all of their new findings and announcements!

Here is about about Dr. Parks from her UCSD Bio:

Dr. Erin Parks is a clinical psychologist and the Director of Outreach and Admissions for the UCSD Eating Disorder Center for Treatment & Research. Dr. Parks is a graduate of Northwestern University and UCSD/SDSU’s Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology, where she specialized in neuropsychology and conducted neuroimaging research of child development.

For further reading about eating disorders, check out these resources:

  • Demystifying Anorexia Nervosa by Alexander Lucas, MD is an incredible book about anorexia nervosa, and is a highly recommended read for anyone struggling with the disorder or with a friend/family member that has anorexia. He explains eating disorders from a variety of perspectives, as well as presenting case studies from his many years as a practicing doctor in eating disorder treatment.
  • The Eating Disorders Sourcebook is a wonderful collection of information about the whole range of eating disorders, compiled from the National Institutes of Health. A go-to guide for understanding the symptoms, behaviors, treatment options, and causes of every eating disorder (though the current version does not include ARFID, which is a new diagnosis).
  • If you were interested in the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, here is an article that goes into more depth about the experiment and its results.
  • Finally, if you are seeking advice and help for your eating disorder, the National Eating Disorders Association provides resources and options for treatment based on your geographical area, as well as support communities and extra guidance.

Image: http://www.prevention.com/sites/prevention.com/files/articles/2015/08/gettyimages-544340831-brain-food-david-malan-opener.jpg

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