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St. Paul, MN 55108
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Staff Spotlight, Parkavi Chellappa

Tell us about yourself!

I am Parkavi Chellappa (she/her), MD, the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Services in North Carolina. I have been with Veritas for almost seven years.

How does a collaborative approach to eating disorder treatment benefit patients?

Eating disorders are usually sneaky and try to find loopholes to get away with behaviors, even when the patient genuinely wants to get better. This eating disorder characteristic can often get in the way of a patient’s recovery. By having all the disciplines providing care to a patient under one roof, working toward the same goals collaboratively, we can plug those holes and support the patient better. We can also pool resources to make support available to patients and their families multiple times during the day and over the course of treatment, which is more than humanly possible for a provider from any one discipline working alone.

Collaborative care ensures timely detection of eating disorder complications and side effects, which can then be addressed quickly. It also helps the clinicians treating the patients, as they can get updates from other disciplines to help modify or dictate their own next steps in the patient’s care.

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Binge Eating Disorder: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States, with more people experiencing BED than anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa combined. Despite its widespread impact, BED is generally less well-known than anorexia and bulimia. 

This lack of recognition can be a significant barrier to getting help. Knowing what to look for when it comes to the signs of binge eating disorder can empower you to identify BED early in yourself, a loved one, or a patient. Early intervention for this serious illness is essential to mitigating harm to physical, emotional, and mental well-being and setting the stage for a long and successful recovery.

Read on for a comprehensive exploration of binge eating disorder, including its signs and symptoms, risk factors, treatment options, and more. We’ll give you the knowledge and resources you need to help you, your loved one, or your patient understand and heal from binge eating. 

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Don’t Delay: PHP/IOP Treatment Can Help You Recover Sooner

You don’t know what to do. You love college life, but juggling your double major, on-campus job, and social circles is a lot. The straight A’s you knew in high school are now harder to come by; self-care is even harder. The pressure is suffocating.  

If your relationship with food and your body is becoming increasingly disordered, it’s understandable to feel overwhelmed. You may try to minimize the situation – to write off the issue as temporary or even “normal.” You tell yourself that you can take care of this. You’re the one who “has it all together,” after all, and you can handle this on your own, too. Besides, you reason, help is for those who are sick – and you don’t feel sick, even though your friends and family may be worried.

Please know that if you are suffering at all, you deserve help. Your pain and your experience matter. There is no question that it is hard to face the reality of an eating disorder, but you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help as soon as warning signs emerge. 

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5 Reasons PHP/IOP Can Help Your Patient Recover From an Eating Disorder Without Residential Care

Your patient seems to be struggling more lately. More talk about food, more self-judgment and isolation. Their eating disorder behaviors are up and their motivation for recovery is down. They could use some extra support.

Then again, this doesn’t exactly scream crisis. Surely your patient doesn’t need residential or inpatient care yet.

Where to turn?

At Veritas Collaborative, we offer partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs (PHP/IOP) to treat eating disorders; these are early intervention services that help patients recover sooner. These structured programs offer more support than traditional outpatient eating disorder treatment and more flexibility than around-the-clock care. Patients can admit directly to PHP/IOP, well before 24/7 care is warranted.

Rather than wait until your patient may need the highest level of care, consider how early intervention may help them now. Here are five reasons PHP/IOP may be right for your patient.

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The Importance of Screening for Eating Disorders

Oftentimes, primary providers are the first line of defense against eating disorders. They can be the first to notice the early signs and discover an eating disorder since they see their patients regularly. Identifying these symptoms can help interrupt these mental disorders from developing further. 

In this article, we will discuss the importance of early screening and detection, the warning signs of eating disorders, and what to ask your patients when conducting screenings. 

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Is It Time to Seek Help? 5 Behaviors That Could Indicate an Eating Disorder

You’ve started dodging dinner plans because you’re worried your friends might notice that your eating habits have changed. 

You’ve become hyper-fixated on your body and started working out early every morning to “make up” for the previous day’s eating.

You’ve noticed that your ever-dwindling list of “safe” foods is making it hard to eat a nutritionally balanced diet.

If you see yourself in any of the above behaviors, it may indicate that you’re struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in an individual’s eating and food behaviors or self-perception. These complex, biologically based illnesses are influenced by environmental, social, and psychological factors. Unfortunately, they are not uncommon, with nearly 30 million Americans experiencing an eating disorder in their lifetime. Knowing the signs of an eating disorder can help you catch it early and get you the help you need. 

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What Is the Best Treatment for ARFID?

It’s not unusual to experience some selectiveness around food. Many people have allergies that limit their food choices, others are naturally drawn to certain flavors or textures, and most of us likely demonstrated a degree of pickiness in childhood.

But what happens when these food preferences begin to erode your quality of life? When eating becomes increasingly narrowed in food variety and/or restrictiveness of overall intake that it leads to weight loss or unmet growth expectations, nutritional deficiencies, dependence on caloric supplements or tube feeding, and/or marked interference with psychosocial functioning, it could indicate the presence of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

Misconceptions and insufficient research on ARFID can make it difficult for those struggling to find appropriate, supportive care. ARFID is a serious mental illness—it’s not just “picky eating,” a passing “phase,” or a choice, and it needs timely, specialized, evidence-based treatment that effectively addresses its unique considerations.

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The Role of Body Positivity in Eating Disorder Treatment & Recovery

Our relationships with our bodies are deeply personal, constantly shifting and evolving throughout our lifetimes. If you have lived experience with body image concerns, disordered eating, or an eating disorder, adopting a positive (or even neutral) mindset about your body can feel like an unrealistic—if not altogether impossible—task.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), body image disturbances are core clinical characteristics of many eating disorders. In fact, research consistently shows that body image distortion is the strongest psychosocial predictor of eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors. However, we know each eating disorder experience is unique, and as such, not everyone with an eating disorder may experience body image issues. For example, the food disturbances we see among those with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) are not motivated by distorted body image or body dissatisfaction.

A primary goal of eating disorder treatment is reaching a place of body appreciation and respect. While there’s no single “best” approach to improving body image, cultivating body positivity can play a powerful role in facilitating eating disorder treatment and lasting recovery. Through awareness and active practice, those in recovery can experience a new, more accepting relationship with their bodies.

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Announcing Expansion of Adult Inpatient Programming in Durham, NC

Veritas Collaborative is thrilled to announce that we are adding a 12-bed inpatient unit for adults at our RTP Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Durham, North Carolina. With this expansion, we will address the growing demand for specialized adult services within the state. The existing Douglas location in Durham will continue to serve 25 residential patients, making 37 adult beds available across sites to patients in need of these higher levels of care.

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Accanto Health Appoints Dr. Tom Britton as Chief Executive Officer

Accanto Health, the parent company of The Emily Program, Veritas Collaborative, and Gather Behavioral Health, is excited to introduce Dr. Tom Britton as its new Chief Executive Officer.

A seasoned healthcare leader with over 30 years in the behavioral health sector, Dr. Britton brings a wealth of expertise and a deep-seated desire to help individuals find their way to a life of recovery. In this new role, Dr. Britton will oversee ongoing efforts to enrich our evidence-based services, expand our program offerings, and solidify our reputation as preeminent providers within the field of eating disorder specialty care.

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5 Recovery Lessons From 5 Years of Peace Meal

Our Peace Meal podcast is five years old! Since January 2019, we’ve had the honor of sharing personal stories and expert insights that inform, inspire, and support listeners on the journey to eating disorder recovery. Join us in marking this milestone by reflecting on key takeaways from five years of episodes. Hold these lessons close as you, your loved one, or your patient navigate the path toward healing.

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Staff Spotlight, Stephen Powell

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Stephen Powell, MD (he/him). I am a family medicine physician working in the adult unit at Veritas’ eating disorder treatment center in Atlanta, Georgia.

What does a typical day look like for you at Veritas Collaborative?

A typical day consists of morning team meetings, planning for the day, reviewing labs and charts, seeing patients, contacting families, attending administrative meetings, and learning new eating disorder medicine from literature.

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A Non-Diet Approach to New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the start of a fresh new year, which, for many, signals the kick-off of “resolutions season.” There is nothing fundamentally wrong with using the turn of the calendar as an opportunity for self-reflection and goal-setting. However, if your intentions for 2024 hinge on diet and weight loss, they’re likely to do more harm than good. 

Despite the aggressive push of January weight loss and fitness ads, your body is not a “project” to be fixed, and your health is about so much more than a number on the scale or an arbitrary appearance goal. Diet culture resolutions are incredibly problematic, especially for those struggling with, recovering from, or susceptible to developing an eating disorder. Dieting is a key risk factor for eating disorders and interferes with the process of developing a healthy relationship with food. What’s more, when striving for an unattainable state (weight loss diets are designed to fail), feelings of guilt, shame, and inadequacy aren’t far behind.

If you want to adopt a New Year’s resolution, we encourage you to examine your motivations and set your goal with your recovery in mind. Spend some time identifying what’s truly important to you (e.g., learning a new skill, growing your self-confidence, practicing gratitude, making more time for rest, etc.), and disassociate any potential resolutions from weight loss or body size. Use the examples in this blog to inspire your own resolution-setting. Note that some of these suggestions may not be appropriate for everyone; please work with your recovery team or modify the examples to suit your unique recovery needs.

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Voices of Impact — Accanto Health’s EDI Advisory Council

At Accanto Health, we are committed to fostering a culture of acceptance and respect for staff and clients alike. Our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Council, led by an EDI Advisory Council, guides us in upholding these values and enacting meaningful change within our organization and beyond.

Today, we are thrilled to highlight the passion of several members of our EDI Advisory Council. These staff, representing both The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative brands, are at the forefront of the Council’s work to advocate for change, create safe spaces, amplify marginalized voices, and celebrate diversity and community. Their voices are a testament to the spirit of our EDI Council in action.

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What Are Therapeutic Meals?

At Veritas Collaborative, meals are more than just fuel for the body—they’re opportunities for healing. Therapeutic meals and snacks address fear and anxiety surrounding food and eating, both hallmarks of eating disorders. These supportive meals are a major aspect of our treatment programs, including inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization (PHP), and intensive outpatient (IOP) care.

We foster a “Can Eat Culture” that embraces the philosophy that “all foods fit.” This approach rejects the restrictive “eat this, not that” mentality of diet culture, calling instead for variety and flexibility with eating. Therapeutic meals and snacks are key aspects of our “Can Eat Culture.” 

Read on to learn what therapeutic meals entail and how they can help pave the way to a more balanced and peaceful relationship with food.

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Happier Holidays: How to Be a Recovery Ally this Season

The “most wonderful time of the year” is often anything but for those battling an eating disorder or working toward recovery. It should come as no surprise that the holiday season is frequently a time for relapse or exacerbation of eating disorder symptoms. After all, the much-beloved traditions and events this time of year are teeming with potential triggers. Increased exposure to fear foods, activities centered around eating, and extended time with family can magnify an individual’s struggles.

For a peek behind the curtain of these illnesses, consider a holiday meal at a relative’s home. Being immersed in a group setting can elicit tremendous pressure for those in recovery, particularly around the holidays when the expectation is to engage in the “normal” food and social activities of the season. Those in any stage of recovery may avoid holiday gatherings altogether out of the fear that every eye will be on them, silently (or not so silently) assessing their appearance, weight, and the contents of their plate. 

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Episode 89: Finding Direction in Recovery with Taylor Humphrey

Episode description:

Taylor Humphrey joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to recount her eating disorder experience and unpack the lessons she learned in recovery. Taylor’s story begins over a decade ago, when her concerns about maintaining her high level of athleticism drove her to form an obsession with “perfect” eating. Connecting with effective, age-appropriate treatment proved a struggle for Taylor and her family. The program she attended in early adolescence lacked proper eating disorder education, which led Taylor to feel disconnected, unsupported, and reluctant in her recovery.

Taylor turned a corner between the ages of 16 and 18 upon connecting with new clinicians who expanded her perspective and made her feel seen and accepted. Today, confidently equipped with her toolbox of recovery skills, Taylor leverages the “gifts” of her struggles to provide direction to young people and their parents going through the treatment journey.

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