How the app can be used for eating disorder rehabilitation

Potential risks associated with new technologies in the form of applications (aka “applications”) and Benefits for patients with eating disorders.

The harm of fitness trackers to patients with eating disorders

Although the impact of fitness trackers on customers with eating disorders has not been fully studied, anecdotal evidence and some early studies suggest that these applications may be harmful. People with restrictive eating disorders often pay attention to the number of calories they consume and burn. Many health apps emphasize tracking calorie intake and consumption.

In addition, they encourage users to reduce intake, increase energy expenditure, and set increasingly extreme goals, all of which are consistent with eating disorders. In a study of patients with eating disorders, 75% of participants reported using My Fitness Pal, a calorie-counting mobile application that allows users to track and enter their daily food intake. Among these users, 73% believed that the app caused their eating disorders.

Eating disorder rehabilitation application

On the other hand, there are some eating disorder recovery apps that may be helpful for eating disorder patients. Some of these applications embody or support the principles of evidence-based therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). A particularly important feature provided by some applications is self-monitoring, which is also a sign of CBT for many mental disorders. In the treatment of eating disorders, self-monitoring includes recording the food consumed and the accompanying thoughts and feelings. Compared with paper monitoring, application-based self-monitoring has several advantages.

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Since most people carry their smartphones with them most of the time, using an eating disorder rehabilitation application may facilitate more real-time monitoring, thereby providing greater convenience and accuracy.

Although fitness apps and eating disorder recovery self-monitoring apps both include tracking functions, they have their own focus. Fitness apps mainly track numbers and data, such as calorie intake. On the other hand, the eating disorder recovery app focuses more on tracking thoughts and feelings related to diet, rather than specific quantities. This distinction is important.

Below is information about two more popular eating disorder apps including self-monitoring.

Recovery record

A 2014 study by Jurascio and colleagues found Recovery record Become the most comprehensive eating disorder treatment app on the market. It contains functions including self-monitoring, personalized response strategies, social contacts, and a portal to contact the user’s clinician. It also contains components of interventions based on cognitive behavior.

The user can input food, thoughts, feelings, and urges to use compensatory behaviors. In addition to being able to set reminders, the app also provides help with coping strategies and goal setting. Other features include meal planning, rewards, affirmations, and the potential to connect with others. The app also allows the therapist to monitor patient use of the app. Although many patients find this feature to be an added benefit, some people may find it invasive.

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Rise and recovery

rising It is another popular and widely acclaimed application. rising With similar self-monitoring functions, it can record daily meals and snacks, emotions, and “target behaviors” such as overeating. The app encourages the use of coping skills when encountering difficulties. Users can share inspirational quotes, pictures and affirmations. They can access other sources of information, such as music, podcasts, articles, and treatment catalogs. The application can also export meal data to share with the user’s treatment team members.

What to look for in an eating disorder recovery app

Applications come and go. Depending on when you read this article, the above suggestions may no longer be the most advanced or available. Finding an application with the right functionality is more important than any particular title. We offer the following suggestions for finding content:

  1. Self-monitoring of food intake without counting calories. Self-monitoring is an important and well-studied element in the treatment of eating disorders. However, calorie counting is not recommended because it may increase obsessive thinking.
  2. Fields that record behaviors, thoughts, and feelings. Recovery includes a better understanding of feelings and thoughts and changes in behavior. Therefore, the application used for recovery should have a field to record this information.
  3. Motivation and/or coping strategies. Apps that include reminders of ways you may want to try or already know (but may need reminders for now) can provide support.
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Remember, the app is not a substitute for treatment. It is always a good idea to discuss the use of diet-related applications with your treatment team. In addition, tracking your eating habits through a handwritten food log or diary can help you better understand your current unhealthy patterns to promote change.


How the app can be used for eating disorder rehabilitation
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