THE SCIENCE BEHIND EARLY INTERVENTION

FREED

First Episode and Rapid Early Intervention in Eating Disorders (FREED) is a new early intervention service for young people with eating disorders. FREED was evaluated by the South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust and King’s College London.

This evaluation showed FREED cuts long wait times. Cutting wait times meant that patients were more engaged in their treatment and were less likely to drop out.

Patients and their families said that they were very happy with the service. They felt strongly about the benefits of getting help early.

COULD EARLY INTERVENTION PROMOTE A MORE HELPFUL THINKING STYLE?

Everybody thinks about things in different ways. Each way of thinking has strengths and weaknesses. Some people with eating disorders prefer to zoom in on details and stick to rules and routines. This way of thinking may not always be helpful.

Research suggests that this way of thinking may be related to eating disorder symptoms. This is because people who have recovered from an eating disorder only show some of these thinking behaviours.

This is good news! It means that unhelpful ways of thinking are not fixed. People may start using a more helpful thinking style when they get better!

HELP, MY BRAIN IS SHRINKING! ARE THERE CHANGES IN BRAIN SIZE IN PEOPLE WITH EATING DISORDERS, AND CAN THEY BE REVERSED WHEN PEOPLE START TO RECOVER?

Pictures of the brain (brain scans) show that when someone is unwell with anorexia nervosa some areas of the brain shrink.

However, pictures of brains also show that once someone has recovered from there is an increase in their brain size. The longer they are recovered the more improvement in brain size there is!

WHY AM I READING IT ALL WRONG? EATING DISORDERS, EMOTIONS AND RELATING TO OTHER PEOPLE

Understanding and communicating with others is an important part of life.

Research tells us that people with eating disorders have difficulty with social interactions. They also seem to have trouble reading and expressing emotions.

Research suggests that these difficulties are made worse by starvation and improve in recovery.