The Succeed Vodcasts are an innovative form of guided self-help to support individuals with eating disorders to improve mood and overcome negative reactions to food.
The Vodcasts are being designed and developed in partnership with Professor Janet Treasure, Valentina Cardi and The Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College, London.They consist of a series of short video clip interventions played on a handheld media device, such as a smart phone, tablet or mobile phone and were developed in consultation with individuals who have recovered from Anorexia Nervosa. They include:
- Recovered patients describing the steps involved in making the decision to change and how they implemented change plans.
- A description of factors that maintain illness (cognitive rigidity, over-attention to detail, appetite, body image and interpersonal difficulties) and strategies to change these.
- Implementation interventions to assess and address unhelpful internal states such as craving, negative emotions or self-defeating thoughts.
To supplement the vodcasts there will be an introduction describing the content and learning objectives of each vodcast and a workbook to provide a written summary of the processes described in the vodcasts. It will also include exercises to re-enforce the behaviours and suggestions on when the vodcasts should be watched.
How does it work?
Individuals with eating disorders show abnormal reactions to food, mainly marked by anxiety, fear, disgust and avoidance. The Succeed Vodcasts use visual and aural imagery to reduce these emotional reactions as well as to reduce food cravings. Used during day-to-day life, the vodcasts will support individuals to develop self-support strategies, such as cognitive reappraisal of the anxiety related to food and positive emotional regulation. Some of the vodcasts describe the underpinning mechanisms and suggest strategies to interrupt the vicious cycle of impulsive behaviours such as the craving, binging and vomiting sequence. Users are guided towards accepting food as a necessary part of caring for the body and a key step in the recovery process.
How do we know it works?
The Succeed Vodcasts are based on studies that show interventions employing audio and visual elements to be effective in reducing food craving and emotional reactions. Preliminary studies at Kings College, London, working with individuals with Anorexia Nervosa have shown that in comparison to no support or just music, the vodcast was associated with greater consumption of a fruit smoothie test meal and with reduced anxiety, intrusive thoughts and body dissatisfaction. Also, it was associated with increased positive mood. Furthermore, study participants elected to use the vodcast at home for continuing support and motivation.
For more information on the on-going research, please see Research and Evaluation
The Succeed Foundation is working with The Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London, to further evaluate the effectiveness of the vodcast interventions. Plans are also underway to adapt the vodcasts into an “app” format, increasing the accessibility of the intervention.