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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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask how you can become a contributor!
Utilizing Art Therapy in Eating Disorder Recovery
At Veritas Collaborative, we integrate a variety of treatment components to support patients healing from eating disorders. Art therapy is an essential element of this comprehensive approach. Led by our trained art therapists, this type of therapy allows patients to use creative modes of communication to share, process, and reflect on their thoughts, emotions, and experiences over the course of treatment.
The Power of Art Therapy in Eating Disorder Treatment
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps patients work through their thoughts and feelings about food and their body through active art-making and creative processing. 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.
5 Podcast Episodes to Listen to During Pride Month
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.
Eating Disorders Create Unique Challenges in the LGBTQ+ Community
Pride Month reminds us to promote awareness and education around the spectrum of unique challenges that the LGBTQ+ community faces, including a greater risk of developing an eating disorder. Existing research shows that beginning as early as age 12, gay, lesbian, and bisexual teens may be at higher risk of binge eating and purging than their heterosexual peers. For example, gay males are thought to only represent 5% of the total male population, but among males who have eating disorders, 42% identify as gay. And, according to one study, females who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or mostly heterosexual were about twice as likely to report binge eating at least once a month in the past month.
Staff Spotlight, Leah Belay
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.
The Role of Nutrition in Eating Disorder Treatment
Veritas Collaborative’s patients generally enter eating disorder treatment mired in food rules and rituals. Their mindsets around food tend to follow a pattern of dichotomous extremes. Types of food and eating behaviors are labeled either “good” or “bad.” Food consumption might alternate between periods of total restriction and severe overconsumption. One might hyperfocus on food when eating or disconnect entirely. Often, the “perfect conditions” must be met to eat, with rigidity around the location, specific foods or food groups, and other people present while eating. Eating can feel like a test that one passes or fails. Disordered eating and eating disorders weaken the mind-body connection, elevating the power of these intense cognitive distortions as the mind takes over as a micromanager of the body’s needs.
Grasping for the Light
**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.
KP Pauly (they/them) is a queer, nonbinary, recovering anorexic. They enjoy writing, reading, meditation, yoga, and spending time outside. They are passionate about eating disorder recovery and disrupting diet culture. You can connect with them via Instagram (@kprecovers) or their website, kprecovers.com.
3 Reasons to Recommend PHP/IOP Treatment for Your Adolescent Patients This Summer
Summer can be a hectic time for families. With vacations planned, camps booked, and social gatherings scheduled, your patient’s family may hesitate to seek eating disorder treatment. Unfortunately, these illnesses leave no room for putting off care. The “right time” for treatment may, in fact, be this summer — not because the timing is perfect, but because the sooner an eating disorder is treated, the better.
Eating disorders are severe, potentially life-threatening illnesses. Adolescent patients are particularly vulnerable to their effects, as they are in a critical stage of development physically, emotionally, and mentally. Therefore, it is critical to get your young patients the help they need as quickly as possible. As a healthcare provider, you play an essential role in identifying the signs of an eating disorder and referring young patients to the right resources. Early intervention is crucial to protecting their overall health and achieving positive treatment outcomes.
Is Overeating the Sign of Something Deeper?
Everyone overeats sometimes. Maybe it’s at a special event, a night out with friends, or a stressful day. Maybe it’s when your favorite food is around. This occasional overeating is common and, in most cases, nothing to worry about. However, when the behavior becomes compulsive, it could be a sign of something more serious.
Compulsive overeating is a disordered eating behavior characterized by consuming an excessive amount of food frequently and uncontrollably, without regard to hunger levels. Typically, this behavior serves as a way to avoid challenging feelings or circumstances. If you consistently eat excessive amounts of food in a way that feels uncontrollable, it may indicate the presence of an eating disorder, such binge eating disorder (BED) or Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED).
9 Ways to Practice Self-Care in Eating Disorder Recovery
Self-care can sometimes function as self-preservation; in your recovery, practicing self-care is a necessity and a healthy way to find peace and joy. In fact, regular self-care is critical to sustaining recovery from an eating disorder.
How Does School Work in Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Treatment?
If your child is suffering from an eating disorder, we understand the pain you’re experiencing as a parent. You want your child to get the help they need, but you’re also worried about them falling behind in school or missing out on childhood experiences. These concerns are completely valid. Your child’s health must come first, however. Early intervention is key to a successful, long-lasting recovery from eating disorders. Fortunately, prioritizing treatment does not mean that academics have to go ignored.
At Veritas Collaborative, we serve the whole person on their path to recovery, including supporting our child and adolescent patients’ academic progress. In our higher levels of care – including inpatient and residential – we offer a range of onsite education options, allowing your child to make progress in their academics while prioritizing their treatment.
Episode 83: Eating Disorders and Menopause with Val Schonberg
Val Schonberg joins Peace Meal to discuss eating disorders during menopause, an often-overlooked period of vulnerability for midlife individuals. She begins by explaining why this life stage carries an increased risk for disordered eating and eating disorders. Our cultural biases toward aging and weight are partially to blame, she says, which can lead providers to misdiagnose or completely miss disordered eating behaviors. To better serve midlife individuals during this vulnerable period, Val urges healthcare providers to re-evaluate their own beliefs about aging, weight, and menopause. She emphasizes that menopause is a natural phase of life and not a “disease” that must be “fixed,” as many problematic cultural messages suggest. Val ends the podcast by expressing her belief that everyone can recover – no matter their age – and that aging is a precious gift.
Val Schonberg is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition science from the University of Minnesota. She is Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Certified Menopause Practitioner with the North American Menopause Society, and a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Val owns a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where she specializes in midlife health and menopause, recreational and professional sports nutrition, all types of eating disorders, and helping individuals break free from dieting and disordered eating.
Why You Should Start Screening Your Patients for Binge Eating
The importance of identifying binge eating early
Binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious mental health condition marked by recurrent episodes of consuming a large amount of food in a short period of time, often accompanied by feelings of distress, guilt, and lack of control. If left untreated, BED can lead to significant physical and mental health issues.
As a healthcare provider, it’s important to screen for binge eating in your patients to identify and treat the disorder early. Here are some steps you can take to screen for binge eating:
Mental Health Awareness
Mental Health Awareness Month highlights the importance of acknowledging mental health as a shared human experience. A licensed mental health counselor supervisor and certified eating disorder specialist supervisor, Sara Hofmeier lives that mission every day as part of her effort to normalize mental health talk.
A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Patient in PHP/IOP Care
Seeking help for an eating disorder takes tremendous courage. We applaud you for taking this brave first step toward helping your child heal. By pursuing the right level of care for your child today, you’re giving them the best chance at achieving full and lasting recovery.
Your child’s upcoming admission into Veritas Collaborative’s partial hospitalization (PHP) or intensive outpatient (IOP) program will put them on the path to healing, restoring their health, and getting them back to the things that matter most to them. We understand that the most daunting parts of eating disorder treatment aren’t always related to food or body, but rather all the unknowns. You might be wondering: What does an average day look like in treatment? or What types of eating disorder therapies will my child encounter? or How are parents and communities of support involved in treatment?
We’ve crafted this blog to alleviate any anxieties surrounding the components of our intensive eating disorder treatment programs. Read on to learn about what to expect from these levels of individualized, support-driven care.
Staff Spotlight, Jo DeVane
Tell us about yourself!
My name is Jo DeVane. I’m a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW), and have been a psychotherapist at Veritas Collaborative in Atlanta since May 2022. I also worked as a therapeutic assistant at Veritas from December 2020 through May 2021 while I was pursuing my master’s in social work.
A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Patient in Inpatient and Residential Care
Eating disorder treatment is a big step – especially when your child will be leaving home to receive care. It’s normal for both you and your child to feel some anxiety about upcoming inpatient or residential eating disorder treatment. After all, you are taking a very brave leap into the unknown! Knowing what to expect during treatment can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety. Our clinical team also understands the apprehension surrounding treatment. We promise to be right beside you, offering support and guidance on your first day – and every day – of the treatment journey.
Adolescent Inpatient and Residential Care Schedule Overview
A day in the life of an adolescent patient in an inpatient or residential program is full from start to finish. With a focus on around-the-clock support and care, all patients and families are provided with the structure and skill development needed for lasting recovery back in their home environment.
Throughout the week, your child will take part in treatment interventions and hands-on culinary experiences to develop skills and equip them to maintain their recovery once they return to their everyday life. Some therapy sessions, nutrition sessions, meals, and culinary experiences will include families so skills can be discussed and practiced with caregivers and communities of support. Your child will also have structured time built into the day for schoolwork so they can keep up with their studies while they receive care.
Considering Treatment? 3 Reasons Not to Wait for the “Perfect Time” to Get Help for Your Child
Seeking eating disorder care for your child can be an overwhelming decision. Their illness has already robbed them of so much, and you can’t help but wonder: Won’t treatment mean sacrificing even more? Maybe it can wait until a better time, you reason – when school is out, or social activities have settled down. For now, you just want your child to have some semblance of normalcy.
It’s understandable to want to shield your child from interruptions to their life, especially when they’re already struggling. However, postponing eating disorder treatment often only leads to greater pain and disruption. In fact, every moment spent waiting for the “right time” is a moment an eating disorder can take deeper root.
Here are three reasons not to wait for the “perfect time” to get help for your child with an eating disorder.
Navigating Resistance: How to Support Families Who Want to Postpone Eating Disorder Treatment
“My patient received a recommendation for a higher level of eating disorder care, but their family wants to hold off until a ‘better time.’ How do I help them understand the risks of waiting?”
Eating disorder clinicians frequently face the challenge of resistance to care. This resistance stems from various factors, such as a fear of the unknown, difficulty acknowledging the severity of the illness, and ambivalence toward the recovery process. The prospect of interrupting life for treatment often only adds to the anxiety.
Episode 82: No Longer Settling for “Fine” with Rebecca Amis
In this episode of Peace Meal, Rebecca Amis shares her story of recovery from a decades-long eating disorder. Rebecca first traces her path through illness and healing, disclosing the risk factors that may have contributed to her anorexia, as well as the intense life transitions and medical issues that prolonged the disorder and complicated her recovery.
Loneliness is a common thread through Rebecca’s years of struggles. She shares that she felt invisible and sorely misunderstood by those around her, resulting in the urge to hole up with nothing but the false sense of comfort that her disorder provided. The prospect of following a meal plan and losing the rules and rituals of her eating disorder terrified Rebecca and initially kept her from pursuing treatment. With the encouragement of her support system, she courageously surrendered to help and experienced a profound “rebirth” of self on the other side of suffering.
Staff Spotlight, Shannon Wilcoxson
Tell us about yourself!
Hi everyone, my name is Ro’Shannon Wilcoxson-Jordan, and my preferred name is Shannon. I have been a Veritas collaborator for three years and 11 months, and that time has flown by. My current primary position is the Practice Manager for Veritas’ Eating Disorder Treatment Center in Atlanta, Georgia.
I began this path as an on-call front desk administrator. After a few months, my supervisor recommended me for a full-time opening. My passion for supporting those in need was evident, and I was hired as the second full-time administrator.
Over time, the Practice Manager position opened. Although I had just enrolled in my school’s master’s program and was providing support as a therapeutic assistant for our IOP program at the time, I accepted the role. Since growing with Veritas, I have learned invaluable information and become a mental health advocate for patients and families battling this illness.