On and Off the Mat by Beverly Price, RD, MA, E-RYT 200, C-IAYT, CEDRD-S | MemberSHARE

This is the second article in the series. Learn about Yoga therapy for bulimia nervosa.

via On and Off the Mat by Beverly Price, RD, MA, E-RYT 200, C-IAYT, CEDRD-S | MemberSHARE

The Concurrent Nature of Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse: Yoga as an Adjunct to Treatment

Mindful Yoga and meditation can affect the cerebral cortex, improving focus and awareness. The cerebral cortex is the center of the brain that is responsible for impulses, irrational thoughts and behaviors. Activating the cerebral cortex can diminish the impulsivity along with irrational thoughts and behaviors involved in eating disorders, substance abuse and related addictions.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has concluded that at least one half of women who suffer from an eating disorder also suffer from a substance use disorder (SUD). While eating disorders, and substance use disorders are linked to higher risk for mortality than all other psychological disorders, the two are present together result in a much more damaging outcome.

The rate of comorbidity varies among eating disorder classifications with the prevalence of SUD in individuals with Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa purging type much greater than individuals with Anorexia Nervosa, restricting type. Researchers have reported a higher use of stimulants, sedatives, and cocaine in individuals with Bulimia Nervosa, with marijuana and hallucinogen use in those with Anorexia Nervosa.  It is speculated that the heighted impulsivity of those with Bulimia may reflect their more frequent use of these drugs along with the appetite suppressing nature of the drugs in individuals with Bulimia and those with Anorexia. It is also speculated that the escape offered by the drugs maybe appealing to those who suffer from anxiety associated with eating disorders.

Researchers at the University of Washington concluded that the onset of an SUD could be predicted in individuals with Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa if the individual had attempted suicide, or had been hospitalized. Furthermore, the severity of the bulimic symptoms could also be used to predict a future SUD.

For professionals working with eating disorder patients, a thorough knowledge of and specialized training in substance abuse is warranted, along with understanding the research regarding eating disorders and co-occurring substance use disorder. In a therapeutic setting, a thorough history needs to be completed in order to assess an individual’s comorbidity. It’s not acceptable for the clinician to omit an SUD diagnosis because the individual did not report substance use to that respective clinician – especially when the SUD is clearly documented in the individual’s history. If it is not documented, digging deep is a must for the clinician, given the concurrent nature of eating disorders and SUD. A thorough history can determine the degree of co morbidity in eating disorder patients and may also be used in determining treatment options that suit the patient’s unique coexisting disorders.

Behavioral therapies alone, or along with medications can be a highly effective for of treatment that can lead to more positive outcomes. Another treatment option for co-morbidities is Yoga therapy. Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well-being through the application of the philosophy and practice of Yoga. Yoga therapy incorporates a number of positive mind and body practices such as deep breathing, relaxation, deep meditation, and postural exercises. It adapts the practice of Yoga to an individual’s specific condition, and in the treatment of co-occurring eating disorders and substance abuse disorders, can be adapted to enforce a positive mental outlook, improved self-awareness and acceptance, and can relax and ground a patient.

Gamma-Amino Butyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid which acts as a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It inhibits nerve transmission in the brain, calming nervous activity. In recent studies, Yoga has been shown to increase the levels of GABA in the brain by more than 20 percent. This is important because people dealing with substance abuse usually exhibit low levels of GABA.

Mindful Yoga and meditation can affect the cerebral cortex, improving focus and awareness. The cerebral cortex is the center of the brain that is responsible for impulses, irrational thoughts and behaviors. Activating the cerebral cortex can diminish the impulsivity along with irrational thoughts and behaviors involved in eating disorders, substance abuse and related addictions.

The Concurrent Nature of Eating Disorders and Substance Use Disorders – Yoga as an Adjunct to Treatment Two (1) contact hours Tuesday June 20, 2017 11:45 am – 1:00 pm at Henry Ford Maplegrove, West Bloomfield, MI – Speaker BEVERLY PRICE, RD, MA, E-RYT 200, C-IAYT, CEDRD-S, IAEDP For more information or to register: Jessica Jacobs LMSW, MSW, CAADC (248)788-3011.

A special thank you to Bridgette Grabowski, NDTR, who researched the original content for this article.

YOGA TEACHER VS YOGA THERAPIST – WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

As Yoga therapy evolves, the IAYT, recognized as the as the governing body for yoga therapists based on evidenced-based practice and peer reviewed literature, standards of practice that differentiate between a Yoga therapist and Yoga teacher are now emerging.

The International Association of Yoga Therapists defines Yoga therapy as, …The appropriate application of these teachings and practices in a therapeutic context in order to support a consistent yoga practice that will increase self-awareness and engage the client/student’s energy in the direction of desired goals. The goals of yoga therapy include eliminating, reducing, or managing symptoms that cause suffering; improving function; helping to prevent the occurrence or reoccurrence of underlying causes of illness; and moving toward improved health and wellbeing. Yoga therapy also helps clients/students change their relationship to and identification with their condition. The practice of yoga therapy requires specialized training and skill development to support the relationship between the client/student and therapist and to effect positive change for the individual.

While this sounds like what you may be experiencing at your Yoga studio or medical/wellness clinic, under the guidance of your Yoga teacher, there is a fine line that is greater than it appears. In addition to completing at minimum a 200- hour yoga teacher training, ideally credentialed through Yoga Alliance, a Yoga therapist has also completed at least an additional 300 hours of Yoga therapy training, through a formal Yoga therapy training program, which was begun prior to January 1, 2014 plus at least 150 hours of Yoga therapy client contact hours (applied and submitted to IAYT for approval by June 30, 2017.

If the Yoga practitioner has started a formal Yoga therapy training program January 1, 2014 or later, 800 hours of an International Association of Yoga Therapists (IAYT) Accredited Program are required for full certification as a Yoga therapist. Each pathway requires documentation and full description/proof of required hours for approval by IAYT.

Yoga therapy education requires a foundational understanding of yoga theory and practice, biomedical and psychological foundations, teaching and therapeutic skills, yoga therapy tools and their application, along with professional practice that includes legal, regulatory, ethical issues pertaining specifically to Yoga therapy. All Yoga therapy applicants must be current IAYT members and agree to the Code of Ethics, Grounds for Disciplinary Action and Use of the C-IAYT Credential, and review the Scope of Practice.

That said, Yoga Alliance Registry’s Code of Conduct includes the following commitment, binding on all registrants in that no Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga School (RYS) or Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT) may rely on or use their RYS or RYT designations to hold themselves out as qualified to work as a “Yoga therapist” or to train others in “Yoga therapy” methods. Only a Certified International Association of Yoga Therapist can train others in Yoga therapy and through an IAYT accredited program.

In marketing or advertising materials that are independent of the Registry directory, an RYT or RYS that references “Yoga therapy” services or training must identify the source (other than Yoga Alliance Registry) of certification, accreditation, licensure, or other credential on which they base their “Yoga therapy” offerings.

As Yoga therapy evolves, the IAYT, recognized as the as the governing body for yoga therapists based on evidenced-based practice and peer reviewed literature, standards of practice that differentiate between a Yoga therapist and Yoga teacher are now emerging.

 

For those interested in Yoga therapy for eating disorders, whether or not your ultimate goal is a C-IAYT credential, please join us in Nicaragua in February 2018-more information here!