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Tough to Swallow: a single-player board game that replicates the experience of having an eating disorder

Shared by Marta Fonseca on 2024-01-31 11:12

About the solution

Eating disorders are behavioral conditions characterized by severe and persistent disturbance in eating behaviors and associated distressing thoughts and emotions.
Taken together, they affect up to 5% of the population, and most often develop in adolescence and young adulthood.

Christine decided to create a board game that simulates the tumultuous and complicated journey of someone who suffers from an eating disorder, all based on her own personal experience.

The game only needs one player and comes with playing cards, instructions and a game board. There are three types of cards: New day (anecdotes from small, random moments from her experience), Relapse (anecdotes from moments she felt she had relapsed into unhealthy behavior), and Recovery (anecdotes from moments she felt she had made genuine progress). The player will begin on any colored square, and follow the commands of the cards as they play.

She envisions this game in a waiting room for a therapist or school counselor’s office and a health clinic.
The goal of the game is to possibly help someone with an undiagnosed ED recognize their noxious behavior and also show the people who have a diagnosed ED that they are not alone.

Tough to swallow can also be used as a way to create empathy and understanding if you know someone who suffers from an ED. This is a non-linear game and it has some confusing and contradictory commands (like forward 1 space and back 2), but it’s a way of following the irregular footsteps of someone with an ED, as well as the recovery process. As Christine says “When you play Tough to Swallow you’re a winner with every roll and a loser only when you call it quits”.

For more informations: https://www.jmu.edu/wrtc/_files/rhettech-vol-1/toughtoswallow.pdf

This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

DISCLAIMER: This story was written by someone who is not the author of the solution, therefore please be advised that, although it was written with the utmost respect for the innovation and the innovator, there can be some incorrect statements. If you find any errors please contact the patient Innovation team via info@patient-innovation.com

About the author

Christine Kovacs, born in Wixom, studied writing and philosophy in Grand Valley State University. She worked as lead writing consultant in Fred Meijer Center for Writing and Michigan Authors and is now living in Denver.

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