Recently Dr Jeremy Alford travelled to Australia in order to raise awareness of how eating disorders affect different cultures and highlight the work he has been doing specifically in the Middle East Region with the non-profit organization he both founded and is president of: MEEDA.

MEEDA aims to raise awareness through talks, workshops and fundraising activities, as well as being at the forefront of research in the field, It is a non profit organization that provides a support network to suffers by allowing them to get help free of charge and access to assistance when they need it most.

To begin with, Dr Alford attend a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Enhanced workshop organized by the Victorian Center of Excellence in Eating Disorders (CEED) in Melbourne. Presented by Michelle Roberton & Dr Emma Spiel, CEED is commitment to the provision of quality services to those with eating disorders and their families through evidence based care, a team support network and a focus on recovery oriented treatment. Just like in Dr Alford’s Choices Personalized Retreats programme, CBT treatment is seen as an extremely beneficial method for sufferers primarily because it focuses on a solution-based approach. CBT is both goal oriented and evidence based, providing the sufferer with a set of practical tools to reframe thought patterns that feeds the problem. This enables the person struggling with the eating disorder to gradually alter the way they think and feel.

Dr Alford later met with Belinda Caldwell, CEO of the Eating Disorders Victoria to discuss the different methods they use to assist sufferers and their families. This included a discussion on the work carried out by both the Butterfly Foundation and The National Eating Disorders Collaboration, as well as the role of the ANZAED (Australia & New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders). This was a fascinating insight into the the ways different cultures react and respond to eating disorders and what can be learnt from the treatment methods shared.

The importance of this collaboration was not only to trade knowledge and insight, but also to conduct cross cultural research into how a worldwide issue such as eating disorders should be treated both sensitively and most effectively between cultures. This was particularly apparent when Dr Alford highlighted the work MEEDA do in tackling such a taboo subject in the Middle East. It involves a lot of dedication on all parts, including volunteer specialists giving up their time to not only raise awareness but encourage and support recovery.

Although MEEDA is an official partner Chapter of the AED for the Middle East, they still face financial obstacles in the region which make the growth objectives, hopes for the future and moving forward with both the awareness and treatment of eating disorders more challenging. Yet, what MEEDA have achieved so far in raising awareness, developing prevention methods, and offering support and evidence-based guidance is remarkable.

Through both dedicated research and professional training, Dr Alford and his colleagues are constantly developing more of an understanding on the difficult subject of eating disorders and learning that the more information shared and discussed with other organisations also attempting to tackle the problem, the closer we get to solving the problem and providing an effective solution detrimental to recovery.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an eating disorder, Choices Personalized Retreats can help. You can find out more about our treatment methods here:


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