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Decoding Anorexia


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Table of Contents

Foreword Cynthia M. Bulik. Introduction: Off the Couch and Into the Brain. 1. From Starving Saints to Dieting Divas. 2. Interoception and the Insula. 3. Climbing the Family Tree. 4. Anorexia's Poster Children. 5. When Anorexia Brings Friends. 6. Starvation Becomes Obsession. 7. Adapted to Flee Famine. 8. Gym Rats. 9. Stepping Up to the (Dinner) Plate. 10. Oops, I Did It Again... 11. Standing at the Buffet of Life

About the Author

Carrie Arnold is a freelance science writer and blogs daily at She is an advisor to the advocacy organization FEAST (Families Empowered And Supporting the Treatment of Eating Disorders) and regularly appears at national and international eating disorder conferences.


"Decoding Anorexia is the first (if not the only) book that comprehensively explores the disorder from a biological perspective and translates a myriad of research findings into an easily accessible format. The combination of her skills and personal perspective, the products of her background as a scientist, science writer, and as someone who has struggled with AN, is what make this book an easy and enjoyable read." -C. Alix Timko, PsycCRITIQUES

"How can eating enough seem so simple and yet be so difficult for some people? This book simplifies the difficult enigma of eating disorders by interweaving up to the minute evidence with experience. A resource for both the professional and lay audience." - Professor Janet Treasure, PhD, FRCP, FRCPsych, Kings College and South London and Maudsley Hospital, London

"Finding out that anorexia is a biologically-based mental illness is liberating. It sets you free to develop skills and embrace life. Decoding Anorexia explains why in a language that we can all understand." - June Alexander, Anorexia survivor, Australia; Author, A Girl Called Tim; My Kid is Back; and A Collaborative Approach to Eating Disorders

"With turtles, deer, dandelions and orchids, Carrie Arnold deftly weaves her own experience of anorexia with the best biological science. This powerful and compelling book will help anyone gain a better understanding of a most complex, challenging and too often deadly illness." - Susan Ringwood, Chief Executive, Beat, United Kingdom

"Carrie Arnold has done an outstanding job of translating complex and difficult research findings into understandable concepts. This book should be an essential guide for individuals with eating disorders and their families who would like to know more about how brain processes contribute to eating disorder symptoms." - Walter Kaye MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Director, University of California, San Diego, Eating Disorder Research and Treatment Program, USA

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