Psychological Self-Help

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128 a psychoanalytic view, is online.
Empty lives can cause cravings for food; unhappy spouses gain two to
three times the weight that happy spouses do! For the various
unhealthy psychological uses of fat in a marriage, see Stuart &
Jacobson (1987). Therapists report that over-eaters often need
unusual attention, nurturance, and warmth. Roth (1989, 1993), a
good writer, and Greeson (1994) have written that food is used to
replace the love that is missing. It has been reported that depression
may increase while dieting but people are usually happier after the fat
is gone (Brownell & Rodin, 1994). Interestingly, interpersonal therapy
focusing on relationships and attitudes toward weight has been just as
effective as cognitive-behavioral therapy focusing on eating habits.
Self-help groups are often helpful, too (Weiner, 1999). To find a
support group online: Mental Earth Community
(, PsychCentral’s Forums
(, Support-Groups
(, Support
Path (, Eating Disorder Recovery
Online (, and a newsgroup at Another resource you should consider
seriously is Overeaters Anonymous, a world-wide organization. To find
a local group see Overeaters Anonymous in your White or Yellow Pages
or email for information. There are two OA
Web sites: Recovery ( and
Overeaters Anonymous ( Keep in mind
that 12-step programs, like OA and AA, need to be supplemented with
nutritional information and cognitive-behavioral self-help methods. A
caution: it has been reported that some anorexics become more
anorexic after interacting with fellow anorexics in support groups or
chat groups. 
Since most people try to lose weight on their own, it is to be
expected that self-help programs and methods will appear. Fairburn
(1995) has developed a science based self-help program for
overcoming the binge eating. Crisp, Joughin, Halek & Bowyer (1997)
offer self-help to anorexics. Schmidt & Treasure (1994) describe self-
help methods for bulimics. Remember, serious eating disorders need
professional help too. Peterson, et al (1998) found that a structured
group self-help approach was as effective with binge eaters as
therapist lead psycho-educational and discussion groups. Burnett,
Taylor & Agras (1985) and, more recently, Personal Improvement
Computers ( have developed small hand-
held computers that assist moderately overweight patients to control
and monitor their food intake. 
Web sites providing information for losing weight were given above
but even more sites are offered for understanding the more serious
eating disorders: Eating Disorders ( (see
"Best on the Net"), MHN-Eating Disorders
(, ivillage diet
(, Eating Disorders (http://www.mirror-, Futter’s Eating Disorders
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