The orchid hypothesis, as described in a book by Dr. W. Thomas Boyce, uses flower analogies to describe how kids respond to their environments (and as a University of Minnesota Olmsted County Master Gardener Volunteer, I appreciate the analogy). Most kids are "dandelions" that can manage in just about any environment. Some kids are "orchids" and require special care or else they will wither on the vine. "Orchids" are sensitive, but that's not a bad thing.

Dr. Leslie Sim, a Mayo Clinic pediatric psychologist, and fellow psychologist Dr. Carol Peterson published a paper about how the orchid theory applies to people with eating disorders in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

"For so long we saw eating disorders as a product of our media, social and cultural influences, and all about body image issues, food, weight and shape," says Sim. "That's definitely part of the equation, but now we're seeing that they are more than that. Eating disorders are a neurobiological condition, as are other mental health issues."

Listen or watch to learn more about new approaches to eating disorder diagnosis and treatment. They can be tough conditions, but Sim says the right treatment can work.

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