Attentional Bias, Emotion Recognition, and Emotion

Attentional Bias, Emotion Recognition, and Emotion Regulation in Anorexia: State or Trait?

This so neatly fits into the emerging understanding of this illness: certain parts of the differences in the brain are stable and others are dependent on nutritional state. We so urgently need to understand the difference and focus our attentions appropriately!


  1. Very interesting and useful - but I wonder at this - emotion regulation difficulties appear to remit when the individual successfully recovers from the illness. Was my dear daughter BORN with an ED?

  2. Here's my sense of it. Each of us is born with a certain level of predisposition to certain traits (diathesis). For some these traits exist at all times at high or low levels. For others they are unnoticable unless activated by something (like extreme stress or malnourishment or drugs). Once they've been activated they become patterns and a way of life unless they are rather forcefully re-routed.

    Malnourishment is self-perpetuating because any attempt to reverse it requires passing through the horror zone of extreme distress coupled with a lack of skills to handle it. Without getting to the top of that proverbial sand hill we can't know what the normal levels of those traits are for that person or how much damage and habit has been formed.

    That said, I've met plenty of people who marinated in malnourishment for years and when removed from that state WERE able to re-train the brain and the thoughts quite successfully. I've not yet met someone who recovered from an eating disorder and lives free of it without having restored the brain completely and had it held there for some time.

    My hope for treatment is that all patients would be brought out of the malnourished state completely and held there until healing can occur and a full assessment of underlying traits and conditions can be done and dealt with. But rarely is this possible in the current treatment environment in any country I know of.

    That is where my energies are now focused!


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