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Veritas Blog

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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!

August 24, 2023

You’ve braved the back-to-school aisles of your local retailer, reviewed your child’s class and activities schedule, established a transportation plan, and helped select a perfect first-day-of-class outfit. Whether school is already back in session for your family or your household is buzzing with first-day jitters, navigating back to school means working with your child to set them up for a successful school year.

If your child is navigating this school year with an eating disorder, how you define “success” won’t be limited to their academic performance. Rather, success means preserving their recovery during the transition into a new school year.

This season brings to the forefront the influence of body image and eating triggers distinct to the school environment. While it’s not uncommon for eating disorder behaviors to be triggered or worsened by periods of transition, your support and preparation as a parent can make all the difference in ensuring this school year is one that centers your child’s recovery.

August 17, 2023

**Content warning: This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences in recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors, and symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Isadora G. (she/her) is a recent graduate of the University of Colorado in Boulder, where she studied psychology and sociology. During her senior year, she worked at an all-female residential mental health facility, which solidified her passion for working in mental health care. She is a recovery peer mentor for ANAD and has been in eating disorder recovery for over three years.

August 15, 2023

Perhaps your body has been on your mind more than ever recently. And it’s not just the typical pressure to be thin that diet culture fuels year-round. This feels persistent and compulsive, demanding a significant amount of your daily mental energy.

Or maybe your relationship with food is causing you uncertainty and stress. You find yourself skipping out on family dinners or declining birthday invitations from friends, instead preferring to eat alone or in secret—and often to the point of physical discomfort.

If your relationship with your body and food is becoming increasingly disordered, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed about the next steps. Eating disorders comprise a cluster of symptoms, measured according to physical and mental health complications, severity and frequency, and the number of behaviors. If your observed disordered habits have negatively impacted your health and monopolized your life and daily functioning, they’ve probably tipped into eating disorder territory. Our Eating Disorder Assessment Quiz will let you know whether additional evaluation is needed.

August 9, 2023

Countless studies over recent years add up to a concerning reality: eating disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent among young people. According to a JAMA Pediatrics review released in early 2023, one out of every five children worldwide displays symptoms of disordered eating. Not only are patients being diagnosed with eating disorders at ages younger than ever before, but they’re also coming into eating disorder-related health visits with more severe mental and physical symptoms (CDC). We know that childhood and adolescence are critical periods of growth and development, adding gravity to the role of providers in screening and intervening effectively and early to limit the eating disorder’s potential for irreversible consequences.

Given this urgency, as a provider, what should you be looking out for when meeting with child or adolescent patients? How can you ensure that your eating disorder screening is informed, comprehensive, and age-appropriate? Here, we hope to equip you with a deeper understanding of the importance of early intervention, common signs of eating disorders in children and adolescents, and how to respond if you suspect your young patient is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating.

July 31, 2023

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, Holly Thorssen recounts her experience of mothering her daughter Madison through an eating disorder. Holly walks us through the course of Madison’s illness, noting the warning signs of Madison’s struggles with food and body, and sharing the family’s efforts to find a suitable treatment provider. Holly acknowledges the importance of building a supportive, judgment-free space when discussing eating concerns with a child – a space where your child can feel safe enough to disclose their emotions and struggles without fear or shame. In a poignant moment of reflection, Holly speaks on how she learned to differentiate Madison’s voice from the voice of the eating disorder, leading to a better understanding of Madison’s conflicting desire to get better while also resisting change. Connecting with The Emily Program’s family-oriented specialty care made all the difference for Holly and Madison, offering much-needed comfort and healing for both mother and daughter.

July 31, 2023

Elouise Cram, LCSW, is a therapist at Veritas Collaborative’s Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. She obtained her MSW from the University of South Carolina in 2020. She was thrilled to join the Veritas Collaborative team in 2022 after working at an eating disorder treatment center in the Midwest. She appreciates bringing the values of curiosity, willingness, and collaboration into her therapeutic approach with adults and adolescents in the Charlotte program. When not at work, she can most likely be found listening to Maggie Rogers or cuddling with her poodle, Poppy. 

Every clinician is familiar with the exciting, empowering, occasionally frustrating “rubber hits the road” moments we see in early and sustained eating disorder recovery. We hold space for, push for, and model not just wanting recovery but actively moving toward recovery every day. We are holding space for the people we work with to not just “talk the talk” of recovery, but also “walk the walk” of a recovery-oriented life. When I am struggling to hold both (for myself and for others) of talking and walking at the same time, I’m reminded of a principle of dialectical behavior therapy: individuals are doing the best they can and individuals can always do better.

July 28, 2023

Chelsea Brown, MSW, LCSW, is a PHP therapist at Veritas Collaborative’s Charlotte, North Carolina eating disorder treatment center. She received her undergraduate degree in sociology at East Carolina University and pursued her Master of Social Work from there as well in 2017. Since starting in the field, Chelsea has gained training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Chelsea worked on her clinical social work licensure from 2017 to 2019 and has utilized her supervision to gain knowledge around clinical and behavioral diagnosis while in the field.

Chelsea has worked within diverse socioeconomic groups that have helped foster her person-centered approach to treatment and building therapeutic rapport. She has mainly worked with the adolescent population in addressing behaviors and coping skills, as well as with parental approaches to increasing support and guidance in parenting skills. Chelsea has also worked with young adults through their transitional phases from adolescents to adulthood.

In this blog, Chelsea shares her perspective on BIPOC Mental Health Month, offering valuable insights into the importance of recognizing and addressing mental health issues within the BIPOC community.

July 25, 2023

Tell us about yourself! 

My name is Elaina Williams (she/her), and I have been a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Veritas Collaborative’s Child and Adolescent Treatment Center in Durham, NC, for over six years.

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

I get to come to work to see my patients for medical visits each day. The more acute patients (meaning more medically unstable) within inpatient care are seen by me or my team daily. I see the patients within lower levels of care weekly and as needed for medical complaints (like ear pain, rashes, throat discomfort, etc.). I usually chat with the patients for a little while about medical concerns, as well as what they are struggling with during treatment (I love chatting!). After we chat, I do an exam and enter any appropriate medical orders. I also get to collaborate with other team members in setting goals and individualizing care so that we can together help patients heal and move toward discharge from treatment!

July 25, 2023

Social media has woven itself into the fabric of our lives, connecting us with people and information across the globe. While social platforms offer numerous benefits, it is essential to acknowledge their potentially negative impact on mental health, including how they can contribute to the development or worsening of eating disorders

In this blog, we delve into the relationship between eating disorders and social media, shedding light on the challenges people with eating disorders may face online and how all of us can work toward a healthier digital environment.

July 21, 2023

As a parent, you want nothing but the best for your child. So when it comes to finding the right program to treat their eating disorder, it’s important to pick one fully equipped with the specialized knowledge and tools necessary to meet their unique needs.

Many eating disorder programs offered today began with treating adults and later added services for children and adolescents. However, at Veritas Collaborative, our program was specifically built with children and adolescents in mind. Treatment at Veritas stands out in our ability to provide age-appropriate, best-practice care tailored to the unique medical, nutritional, and psychosocial needs of children and their families.

July 17, 2023

During the summer, the patients at Veritas Collaborative enjoy watching the metamorphosis of caterpillars to butterflies. These furry little creatures go through a great deal of change in two short weeks, similar to the remarkable changes our patients make during their recovery process at the Veritas hospitals.

During the school year, child and adolescent patients are able to maintain progress in their coursework from their schools at home with the expert help from our Education Team. However, during the summer months, when most patients have completed their academics for the school year, we get to have a bit of fun in science and art.

July 10, 2023

Episode description:

Stacy Schilter Pisano joins Peace Meal to shed light on the signs, symptoms, and complexities of binge eating disorder (BED), dispelling the myth that the condition is a mere matter of willpower. She describes the unique challenges facing those with BED, including misunderstandings about the illness, cultural stigma and shame related to overeating, marginalization in healthcare settings, and societal weight bias, particularly for those with BED who live in larger bodies. In light of these challenges, Stacy emphasizes the vital importance of treatment tailored to those affected by binge eating.

Stacy then provides an overview of The Emily Program’s virtual CARE IOP, a standalone treatment program for those BED and OSFED with a pattern of binge eating. Informed by the expertise of eating disorder professionals and the lived experiences of previous patients struggling with binge eating, CARE IOP offers a supportive environment where individuals can connect with others who truly understand their unique intersectional experiences. Unlike mixed-diagnosis treatment settings that may leave those with BED feeling isolated, CARE IOP provides tailored, comprehensive care that promotes safety and healing. 

July 6, 2023

In the pursuit of health and wellness, many find themselves navigating a complex landscape of dietary advice and nutritional guidelines. It’s an experience that often begins with the best of intentions: to care for one’s health by nourishing the body well. But there’s a fine line that separates healthy eating from an unhealthy obsession with it. This is where orthorexia comes into play.

What is Orthorexia?

Orthorexia, a term coined by Dr. Steven Bratman in 1997, is a disordered eating pattern characterized by an extreme fixation on “healthy” eating. In many cases, the condition starts with an innocent desire to improve nutrition that spirals into rigid dietary rules, intense anxiety, and an extreme fear of consuming anything perceived as unhealthy. The relentless pursuit of a “healthy” diet becomes so consuming and restrictive that it interferes with a person’s daily life, relationships, mental and physical health, and overall well-being.

June 29, 2023

Healing from an eating disorder is a collaborative journey that often begins with a patient, their referring healthcare provider, and our specialty care professionals. It is imperative that, as a provider, you work to develop competency around eating disorder screening and early detection and act quickly after spotting the signs of issues around food, body image, weight, and/or eating. Eating disorders may begin innocently, but without intensive, evidence-based treatment, they can snowball into serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses.

Once you become aware of an eating disorder in your patient, you can also support them in determining the treatment setting that’s right for them. At Veritas Collaborative, our model of care is comprehensive, empirically based, and refined by the clinical judgment of experts in the field. It is also tailored to what each patient needs. Although eating disorders share many features across individuals, recovery looks different for each person, and treatment must take a number of factors into account, including individual life circumstances, history, co-occurring conditions, motivation to recover, symptomology, and illness presentation. No matter the level of care or treatment format (in-person or virtual), patients at Veritas can expect superior treatment modalities and support from each member of our multidisciplinary treatment team.

June 26, 2023

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Lucie Jiru (she/her), MA, and I am a Utilization Reviewer (UR) for Accanto Health (the parent company of Veritas Collaborative and The Emily Program). I have been working for Accanto since January 2022.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

Since I am a remote worker, a typical day consists of logging in to my computer, going through my emails, and making sure I have all admitting patients on my calendar. I also verify that all patients who need a concurrent review are listed. URs, on average, complete anywhere between three to eight reviews per day. I spend most of my workday collecting clinical information about patients, identifying their progress and challenges, and ensuring I have all the data necessary to advocate for them when I communicate with insurance companies. I complete reviews, document all interactions, and communicate with clinical teams about outcomes. Every insurance provider is different, so every review is unique. 

June 21, 2023

Family-based treatment (FBT), also known as the Maudsley method or Maudsley approach, is widely regarded as the treatment of choice for children and adolescents with eating disorders. Extensive research has consistently shown the efficacy of FBT, and our experience at Veritas Collaborative supports these positive results. Specifically, we have observed that adolescent patients who engage in FBT achieve the most favorable outcomes when compared to non-FBT treatment approaches utilized for this age group.

At Veritas Collaborative, we use this evidence-based treatment method because we understand that involving a patient’s family in treatment is essential to their successful recovery. 

June 15, 2023

Eating disorders are serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses, and yet, research shows that a majority of diagnosed, suffering adults will not seek treatment for their symptoms or concerns. We know that early treatment is critical when navigating the challenging landscape of an eating disorder. The longer one delays care, the greater the risks are for an extended duration of illness, heightened social isolation, increased body shape concerns, deeper internalization of eating disorder-related cognitive distortions, and worsened mental and physical outcomes, including a heightened mortality risk. 

The treatment of eating disorders often requires practitioners of all disciplines to engage in challenging conversations with their patients. Managing ambivalence, preferences, and resistance to recommendations for entering specialty eating disorder care are known concerns when working with adults affected by eating disorders. For adults with children, concerns about care often revolve around leaving behind family. 

June 7, 2023

Eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder are complex mental health conditions that require a comprehensive treatment approach. While traditional therapies play an important role in the recovery process, integrative interventions such as expressive arts and movement therapy can also offer unique benefits.

At Veritas, we facilitate expressive arts alongside therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and family-based therapy (FBT). Combining these interventions offers additional avenues for self-expression and exploration, ensuring patients receive treatment highly tailored to them.

Discover our eating disorder treatment centers.

The Power of Expressive Arts in Eating Disorder Treatment

In eating disorder treatment, expressive arts groups involve active art-making and creative processing to support patients in navigating thoughts and emotions surrounding food and their bodies. The practice encompasses many expressive activities to support a patient’s personal growth, enhance self-awareness, and address treatment goals across varying diagnoses. These goals may include creating coping methods for eating disorder triggers, exploring and addressing difficult emotions that have been avoided, and more.

June 2, 2023

Eating disorders thrive in secrecy and shame. For those with LGBTQ+ identities who have an eating disorder, the sense of isolation is often compounded by the unique stressors and added layers of stigma and prejudice facing this historically marginalized community. A large population of LGBTQ+ individuals with eating disorders often fail to seek treatment or face having their struggles dismissed, in part, because of a lack of cultural competency and representation in eating disorder media.

May 31, 2023

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Leah Belay (she/her), and I have been a Registered Dietitian at Veritas Collaborative’s Adult Treatment Center in Durham, NC, for almost five years.