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Through advocacy work, community and professional events, and media outreach, Veritas is helping to bring cutting-edge research, best-practice care, and scientifically backed information into the national eating disorder conversation. Here in our blog you can learn about the work we and others are doing to advance the understanding and treatment of eating disorders. You’ll also find interesting articles and helpful insights that can support you or a loved one on the journey to lasting recovery. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@veritascollaborative.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

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Physical Effects of Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is arguably the most well-known eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Although anorexia is the eating disorder people often think of first, public understanding of the prevalence and severity of the condition is still limited. In this blog, we will cover the basics of anorexia, including the signs, symptoms, and physical effects. 

What is Anorexia?

Low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and body image disturbance are the main characteristics of anorexia nervosa. There are two types of anorexia: restricting type and binge eating/purging type. Most commonly associated with anorexia is the restricting type, characterized by extreme restriction but no bingeing or purging behaviors. The binge eating/purging type of anorexia includes recurrent episodes of binge eating or purging, such as self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.

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Rachael Steil

Episode 75: Eating Disorders in Running with Rachael Steil

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, Rachael Steil shares her past struggles with anorexia and binge eating and her current passion for helping athletes with eating disorders. Rachael loved running from a young age, but the drive she felt to improve in her sport contributed to restrictive eating behaviors. She says she became obsessed with food and started pulling away from her friends and hobbies. Once Rachael started her recovery journey, she received incredible support from her college running coach. Reflecting on this experience, Rachael explains the essential role that coaches can have on their athletes’ lives and the importance of educating coaches on eating disorder warning signs. Rachael ends the podcast with the inspiration for creating her memoir Running in Silence and her nonprofit of the same name and previews the topic of her next book. 

Rachael Steil is an eating disorder recovery advocate and the author of Running in Silence, which details her story as an All-American athlete struggling with anorexia and binge eating. She is also the founder of the Running in Silence nonprofit to break misconceptions and raise awareness for eating disorders in sports, serves on the board of the Michigan Eating Disorder Alliance, and is currently a mentor for the USTFCCCA Female Coaches Mentorship Program. 

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Margo Maine

Invisible Women: Eating Disorders Hiding in Plain Sight

“Eating disorders.” Reading those two words, most of us just visualized a teenage or college-aged girl. And let’s be honest—she’s probably white as well.

Not so long ago, age seemed to immunize adult women from the body image concerns, weight issues, and eating disorders that plague the younger years. Although most cases still appear in adolescent girls and young women, an alarming shift has occurred. Eating disorders have been on the rise among middle-aged and older women. Between 1999 and 2009, inpatient admissions showed the greatest increase in this group, with women over age 45 accounting for a full 25% of those admissions in the United States. Despite this, these women are invisible in our healthcare system. This must change.

The cultural pressures to be perfect—including having a flawless, slim body—have no expiration dates and no boundaries. This pressure is now occurring across age, gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, ability, class, culture, and place. Our fast-moving consumer culture has created unprecedented opportunities and stress for women. Despite growing economic strength, political influence, and educational and career opportunities, a Gallup Well-Being Index indicates that women aged 45 to 64 have the lowest well-being and highest stress of any age group or gender in the United States.

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Ben Eckstein

Using Self-Compassion to Combat Motivational Perfectionism

One of the tricky things about mental health problems is that the outside world only sees the tip of the iceberg. The observable behaviors and symptoms are apparent for all to see, but underneath the visible exterior is a complex set of thoughts, emotions, beliefs, and experiences. These are the mechanisms which truly power things like eating disorders and OCD, but for better or worse, they tend to go unnoticed. It makes sense, then, that someone might believe that treating these problems is as simple as telling someone to “just eat” or to “just stop eating.” After all, we have the ability to make choices about our behavior, so shouldn’t we be able to wrangle these symptoms into our control? When a therapist says to resist a compulsion or to follow a meal plan, aren’t they saying that it’s just a matter of pushing through the discomfort?

As you probably know, it’s not quite that simple. Sure, determination and willingness will come in handy, but we have to be careful not to reduce this process to something so simple. The oversimplified American mentality of “picking yourself up by your bootstraps” doesn’t always fit with the complexities of mental health. Tempting as it might be to double down on willpower, it’s actually not a particularly effective way to get things done. Willpower is a finite resource. We inevitably lose steam and end up depleted. 

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College students in class

Eating Disorders and College Students

Kayla* was a 19-year-old art student who garnered the attention of her college professors and was thought of as a protégé in the expression of abstract images. She was quiet with pink streaks in her hair. She wore layers of clothes and sometimes seemed to disappear into her own internal world. Mentors at times wondered if she was too thin, but her work was impeccable, and they had no idea how to express their concern.

Kayla suffered a cardiac arrest in her studio at her art school on a Tuesday night, and with her, her art died. She had struggled with anorexia in high school and never fully recovered. Her relapse went unaddressed in a college environment, where her eating disorder gained strength in isolation and ultimately proved fatal. Eating disorders have a very high mortality rate relative to other mental health disorders, and they thrive on secrecy.

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Veritas Durham Lodging

Lodging Opens in Durham

Veritas Collaborative now provides lodging for adult patients (18+) of all genders in Durham, North Carolina! Lodging is currently available to those in our partial hospitalization program (PHP) who do not live near our Durham Adult Hospital and Center. The comfortable, safe space is just minutes from this treatment location, making it easy to go back and forth for care. 

Veritas lodging provides patients a homelike place to stay in a safe neighborhood with lots of shopping and restaurants nearby, as well as public transportation to get there. The non-therapeutic, peer-supported setting offers patients an opportunity to put what they’ve learned in formal treatment into real-life practice.

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