Joanne Corbett talks about the impact of malnutrition in eating disorders


-: Thinking about eating disorder behaviors, they might involve undereating, or restricting, overeating, or binge eating, or purging behaviors, or all of the above. And the nutritional deficiencies, or the impact, nutritionally, the malnutrition that results leads to physical and psychological complications. So physical things like vitamin and mineral deficiencies, electrolyte imbalances, hormone loss, bone loss, leading to risk of brittle bones, or osteoporosis, loss of lean body mass, so the overall metabolic rate actually slows down in starvation to try and conserve energy and survive the starvation. And the effect of malnutrition on the brain is also very concerning. We know it impacts on mood, on behaviors, on appetite regulation. In fact, the neurobiological changes as a result of malnutrition are what drives the eating disorder behaviors on. And so having an eating disorder in younger years, in childhood, in the teens, or in early adulthood is a very particularly vulnerable time, because the brain is still developing in this period, and so renourishment as part of recovery is so vital.

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