December 15, 2008

Self-Embedding Syndrome: What's Going On In Ohio?

embedded objects.jpg

A poster presented at the Radiological Society Of North America.   Self-embedding syndrome: adolescents embed foreign bodies into their arms, hands, etc.  In this x-ray, she's embedded 8 pieces of metal into her arm.

What caught my eye were two things: first, even though this is an old problem, the authors say this is the first study on this, suggesting that it's on the rise (enough for radiologists to notice.)  Second, that it happened in Ohio-- which was, along with Indiana, was responsible for half of the youth suicide increase in 2007.


That particular girl has pr... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2008 8:38 PM | Posted by Lexi: | Reply

That particular girl has problems in addition to embedding things, like very overweight it looks like.

Oddly, the first thing that came to mind was- oh, this looks like body modification-- of which I have a friend who performed surgery on himself to implant a magnet under his skin and effectively gained a sixth sense. But he was smart about it, it was covered in silicon . . .

Anyway, through him I also know of a community that makes a habit of inserting silicone shapes under their skin to give themselves ridges and stuff.

What the article you linked to sounds like is a cross between body mod and self injuring-- maybe this type of self injury is on the rise because body modification in general is less stigmatized? Both are an indication of some kind of cultural shift? Where body modification is on the 'healthy' side of the spectrum and embedding objects is on the pathological side?

And, what do Indiana and Ohio have in common? What do these girls have in common? Victims of sexual or physical abuse? Depressed about our president elect? Over identifying with military who have shrapnel incidences?

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I had a patient who insiste... (Below threshold)

December 15, 2008 10:19 PM | Posted by demodenise: | Reply

I had a patient who insisted he figured out the cure for his cutting: he started getting tattoos instead. And he was *covered* in them. They were beautiful--he had an excellent artist, but there was still that element of self-harm to it.

This sentence in the press release really struck me:
Radiologists are in a unique position to be the first to detect self-embedding disorder, make the appropriate diagnosis and mobilize the healthcare system for early and effective intervention and treatment.

Kind of makes it sounds like radiologists are absolutely indispensable, doesn't it?

Oh, and somebody call in the psych version of Mulder and Scully: The jump in teen suicides in Ohio & Indiana is downright creepy.

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Body modification is self i... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2008 3:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Lexi's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Body modification is self injury.

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Sticking pieces of metal in... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2008 6:14 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Sticking pieces of metal in you is self mutilation but obesity is not?
What about people with pierced ears?

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Obesity is a seperate issue... (Below threshold)

December 16, 2008 8:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Obesity is a seperate issue, I'm not sure why you mention it.

Body modding is done with the goal of changing the form of the body. Piercing is a mild ornamental form of the phenomena that is mostly harmless. However a suburban white kid gauging his ears to double ought is a cry for attention.

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Rarely do people become obe... (Below threshold)

December 17, 2008 2:31 AM | Posted by ItsTheWooo: | Reply

Rarely do people become obese on purpose.
Therefore, it is not mutilation as it is almost never purposeful.

Furthermore, obesity is a real medical body problem. Psychological components to obesity (e.g. food preoccupation) are reactionary to the body being driven to overfeed and gain fat. There is often a metabolic disorder that is behind overfeeding and abnormal fat storage in obesity (hyperinsulinemia, high sugar production from the liver, and insulin resistance being often predisposing factors to obesity). Appetite is increased to match this.

I am curious as well about the increase in suicides in ohio and indiana. My initial suspicion is that it must be an environmental/temp/light effect on mood.

I wonder are these states isolated, or is there a tapering effect? Like, the surrounding states do they have a slightly higher rate, and the states surrounding those slightly higher still... or is it more like a sharp rise only in those two states?

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Its the woo . . . ... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2008 1:30 AM | Posted, in reply to ItsTheWooo's comment, by Lexi: | Reply

Its the woo . . .

"Furthermore, obesity is a real medical body problem. "

Um, so is self injury. I mean, why wouldn't it be? Maybe they're both fake medical problems.

It looks like from the links, that the year before in Indiana and Ohio, the suicide rates were low and then BAM jump.

Also, as far as obesity not being purposeful, binge eating purposeful, and not a metabolic disorder, but can result in one.

Second, it may not be purposeful, but I don't think it is accidental either that people because obese-- metabolic disorders often result from the habits we choose to keep year after year, includes crappy eating habits.

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"Rarely do people become ob... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2008 9:46 AM | Posted by La BellaDonna: | Reply

"Rarely do people become obese on purpose."

Oh, boy, on what data is THAT statement based? Have you visited any sites where actual, real fat people post about their weight?

There are a lot of fat people who eat healthily and work out, just as there are a lot of thin people who eat crappily and don't lift more than a remote. There are people of varying weights, from below to well above "average" for their heights, who have unhealthy eating habits - everything from eating fast/fatty/overprocessed foods, to anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating. That said, while there are certainly fat people who would NOT choose to be fat, and whose eating and exercising habits support their desire not to be fat, there are certainly people - women especially - who acknowledge that, for them, the fat serves to keep people at a distance, and also deflects unwanted male harrassment. There are people who have dieted to lose weight (as opposed to making lifetime changes in eating/exercising) who, when the weight starts to return with the return to their normal eating patterns, deliberately choose to not maintain that weight loss, because weight loss brought with it unwanted behaviour on the part of others.

That said, if there was a truly magic pill that would make fat people thin, the majority of them would take it - mostly because they want to be left the hell alone. A good many of the medical ills associated with "obesity" are actually ills that have to do with stress, inactivity, or poor eating habits - and thin people are just as subject to stress, inactivity, and poor eating habits. Thinness, in and of itself, reflects that the individual is thin.

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Yes I visit sites where "ac... (Below threshold)

December 18, 2008 12:36 PM | Posted by ItsTheWooo: | Reply

Yes I visit sites where "actual real people" post about their weight all the time. I used to weigh 280 pounds. I am now 120 pounds and have maintained this weight for years (5+). I know from first hand experience and research that obesity is a metabolic disorder.

Obese people who report food addiction and a desire to become obese more often than not are forming a psychological REACTION to what was a primary metabolic disorder. Obese people say "I am depressed therefore I eat to comfort myself".

In my experience it is more like "My neurotransmitters do not work properly; my alerting centers are suppressed, this makes my body store fat, and storing fat disturbs my appetite".
Hunger is very uncomfortable. Eating makes hunger less uncomfortable.

I believe in emotional eating for stress. Stress has been consistently shown to encourage eating and hunger and metabolic abberations that promote obesity. But this idea that people become obese because of all other types of emotions because of will of personality is probably nonsense. The co-occurrence of happiness (or sadness) along with over eating and obesity does not meant he latter caused the former... too often people draw this conclusion, because of weight control gurus/failures like oprah winfrey.

I remember being a very small (fat) kid watching oprah. I remember oprah saying "I used to not believe I was an emotional eater. Now I realize that I am, there is a real reason every one of you over eats" or something to that effect. I remember thinking in that moment "but oprah, there IS NO EMOTIONAL REASON why I eat... I am hungry all the time and my body does not want to be at a normal weight because of this chronic hunger!" Oprah still can't control her weight after all these years. Maybe she should consider the physiological perspective of obesity... maybe it's the sort of foods she's eating that drive her weight upward.

There is definitely a connection between mood and weight. I will never deny this, I am a perfect example. I have a form of bipolar disorder and I experience terrible depression and hunger if I am not on a very high fat low carbohydrate diet. The diet controls both mood and weight. I think that carbohydrate/glucose does something to my brain cells which does something to my neurotransmitters that promotes this hyperphagic/hypersomnia response and severe obesity is part of it. In other words, the obesity results from the metabolic effects of an underlying affective/bipolar disorder. It is my observation many with chronic depression and bipolar disorder usually have diabetes, or a strong family history. I tend to think there is a relationship between disordered cell metabolism and affective disorders, obesity, and diabetes. To say that someone "wants" to be obese or diabetic is like saying someone "wants" to be depressed or bipolar. Your cells don't use energy right. Hunger and obesity and disturbed moods are a result.

At the apex of my nuttery, eating a "normal diet", I could not talk to people without physically retreating, couldn't leave the house without shaking and/or having a major breakdown with crying and screaming, I had dropped out of life all together, I thought about suicide every day and was miserably depressed. I could not stay awake, always felt tired, I had no motivation, couldn't care about anything at all. I can't describe how bad it was.

This rapidly changed when i began a ketogenic diet. Not only did I finally experience fullness for the first time in my life, my body naturally started losing weight (I could not have maintained the weight if I tried; it would have produced intolerable nausea and vomitting if I attempted to eat more). Along with these changes, my brain began to work. I started sleeping less, naturally. I felt much better emotionally - for the first time I could actually experience motivation and concern for being alive. Slowly my social phobia/agoraphobia began to improve when my brain was working.

To this day, when I start eating too much glucose food (protein or carb) I can feel the miserable craziness begin. First I get a very "mixed" depression with intense almost psychotic unhappiness and guilt and paranoia. Then, if I plow myself with enough sugar, I can not stay awake, I cannot care, and I feel very hungry. I am hungry constantly. Obesity is inevitable.

Mood wise, I still have problems on this diet... but the difference is that they are not my baseline state, and they are often of a hypomanic type (irrational euphoria/excitement, hurricane of energy) rather than an atypical depressive type. The problem with rage and hysteria I used to have has also gotten much better (although not eliminated).

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"I think that carbohydrate/... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2008 9:25 AM | Posted by La BellaDonna: | Reply

"I think that carbohydrate/glucose does something to my brain cells which does something to my neurotransmitters."

Congratulations. You have illustrated the connection between FOOD and MOOD/BRAIN FUNCTION. NOT WEIGHT and MOOD/BRAIN FUNCTION. It wasn't rampaging fat cells that affected your brain. In your case, and in the case of many others, the obesity is a SIDE EFFECT of WHAT YOU WERE EATING (and/or energy outgo). I never denied for ONE MINUTE that what you eat may affect how your brain and/or body works - in fact, I pointed it out. I'm very aware of the deleterious effects of the sugar cycle. Your brain's response to food/glucose happened to me; however, in my case didn't result in an extra 200 pounds of excess weight because of my workout schedule. It just affected my brain and my moods.

We have just both illustrated that WHAT PEOPLE EAT is more important than HOW MUCH THEY WEIGH. Again, it wasn't fat cells in your body that attacked your brain - it was the sugars in your system.

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I was arguing that people d... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2008 2:02 PM | Posted by ItsTheWooo: | Reply

I was arguing that people do not intentionally become obese.

I was also arguing that emotions and weight gain are usually co-occurring symptoms with no line of causation. That is to say, disordered cell metabolism causes affective disorders and it also causes weight gain, and weight gain causes hunger by shunting nutrients away from oxidation and toward fat tissue for storage.

You responded to my post arguing that fat doesn't cause problems and only food does. Was not addressing this point, I agree with it. I was addressing your points that people sometimes gain weight or over eat for psychological reasons. This is a common belief I wholely disagree from first hand experience controlling obesity.

I think somehow we've lost the plot?

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... I am so confused now th... (Below threshold)

January 6, 2009 4:57 PM | Posted by Rally the Imperium!: | Reply

... I am so confused now that I have read the comments on this post. Why is Wooo being an idiot and assuming that everyone else is exactly like zem? What does BellaDonna mean when zie says that people who don't want to be fat diet - is it that dieting is necessary for not wanting to be fat, and that this is a good thing; that dieting is inherently self-hating; maybe neither? Why does BellaDonna assume that being fat deflects unwanted male harassment for women? (Geez, I wish I had the Biting Beaver's post on thin/fat women, now.) Why are Lexi and the various Anonymous Cowards claiming that being fat is a medical problem at all similar to self-injury? Why has everyone forgotten that self-injury is usually a wholly distinct mental phenomenon from eating disorders, whether or not it comes in tandem with one? Why has the term 'eating disorders' not even been mentioned yet? Why is everyone screaming, "OMG THE FATTIES!" and not focusing on the suicide rates in youth because of this and its social implications and factor-causes? And for God's sake, WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?!

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I'm pretty sure rally is pl... (Below threshold)

January 7, 2009 1:17 AM | Posted by ItsTheWooo: | Reply

I'm pretty sure rally is plus sized and unhappy. There would be no other reason to call me an "idiot" and follow that statement by saying "not everyone is like you" (which is too personal, almost as if saying "I can't do it just because you were able to").

My statements about obesity and its causes were general, scientifically based causes of the modern phenomenon of the "obesity epidemic". This has pretty much nothing to do with what one is or is not "capable" of doing. If you eat high amounts of carbohydrate, and do not have the metabolic ability to use glucose for energy well, you are going to oversecrete insulin, and this will make you gain weight. It has NOTHING to do with what "I am capable of" vs what "you are capable of".

This is the SAME pathway to obesity, with the exception of rare forms of obesity (which, I assure you, are not the type had by the obese americans now frequently observed as populating mcdonalds, applebees, and walmarts across america).

The only way I am different from my obese neighbor is in the types of genetic problems that make me unable to process glucose or regulate insulin normally. Bottom line is, if you restrict glucose and eat more protein and fat, you will lose weight, you will terminate the ascention to obesity.

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This might be what is going... (Below threshold)

November 10, 2009 2:35 AM | Posted by Common Reader: | Reply

This might be what is going on in Ohio:

Abusive holding therapy *required* for foster parents, crazy therapy cult fully embedded in social services. Probably enough to spike the teen suicide rate.

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Self injury, drug addiction... (Below threshold)

January 22, 2010 12:13 AM | Posted, in reply to Rally the Imperium!'s comment, by Lexi: | Reply

Self injury, drug addiction, eating disorders (not being fat perse), etc . . . while usually have different 'causes' are all forms of trying maladaptively regulate affect. What I think is a more interesting question is that why do certain forms of trying to regulate mood seem to map to certain types of trauma or adverse experience?

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long live GOOG and it's inf... (Below threshold)

January 26, 2010 1:41 AM | Posted by Lexi: | Reply

long live GOOG and it's infinitely seeming ability to instantly find whatever I'm looking for . . . which in this case is your post, so I can link a very nice picture of some chic with a facial mod . . . which is really really just evidence that not only does it seem to be self harm, but in this case, it is other harm.

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I think that to get the <a ... (Below threshold)

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