This comprehensive glossary has been created to give parents a quick reference tool that explains, in simple lay language, the terms used in the research, management and treatment of eating disorders. It is designed to empower parents by helping them understand a very complex range of illnesses in order to converse with their treatment providers, ask the right questions, understand the answers, and ultimately plan and execute the most effective course of treatment. Many of the terms are broad and may be employed in other areas of medicine or mental health; the definitions provided here apply specifically to their meaning within the context of eating disorders. Additional source references are provided for those wishing to delve deeper.
The EATING DISORDERS GLOSSARY is researched, written and maintained by F.E.A.S.T - Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders, an international non-profit organization. The definitions and explanations provided here have been edited with the help of members of FEAST's Professional Advisory Panel. The definitions are designed to inform and explain the terms factually according to the best evidence available. They do not seek to advise you on any course of treatment; that should remain the domain of your treatment providers.
To protect the quality of information, the glossary cannot be edited by readers. However, we openly solicit comments, corrections or modifications on existing material as well as your suggestions for additional terms on the vast subject of eating disorders. Send your suggestions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
F.E.A.S.T. -- Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating disorders -- is an international organization of and for parents and caregivers. A non-profit organization founded in 2008, F.E.A.S.T.'s mission is to help loved ones recover from eating disorders by providing information and mutual support, promoting evidence-based treatment, and advocating for research and education to reduce the suffering associated with eating disorders. The organization is run by a board of directors, almost all of whom are parents of sufferers, and it is guided by a Professional Advisory Panel of eating disorders experts from the United States, France, United Kingdom and Australia.
F.E.A.S.T.'s founding principles:
Eating disorders are biologically based mental illness and fully treatable with a combination of nutritional, medical, and therapeutic supports.
Parents do not cause eating disorders, and patients do not choose eating disorders.
Parents and caregivers are a powerful tool for a loved one's recovery from eating disorder.
Blaming and marginalizing parents in the eating disorder treatment process causes harm and suffering.
When available, patients should receive evidence-based treatment.
Families should be supported in seeking the most appropriate treatment in the least restrictive environment possible.
Food is medicine: all treatment should include urgent and ongoing nutritional rehabilitation.
When the family is supported, the patient is supported.
Siblings and all family members are affected by a family member's illness, and deserve full attention to their needs.
Parents have unique abilities to offer other parents support, information, and the wisdom of experience.
We welcome you to visit F.E.A.S.T., and perhaps even join us in our mission.
Laura Collins, Executive director
5. Psychology and therapies
The following terms and concepts cover the complex psychology of eating disorders, along with descriptions of various therapeutic approaches: