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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!

September 15, 2022

Veritas Partners with Project HEAL to Increase Access to Eating Disorder Treatment in Georgia

Veritas Collaborative’s new partnership with Project HEAL was announced at Accanto Health’s 2022 Symposium in Atlanta, GA. Pictured from left to right: Jillian Lampert, Accanto Health Chief Strategy Officer; Rebecca Eyre, Project HEAL CEO; Dave Willcutts, Accanto Health CEO; Liz McCabe, Accanto Health Chief Clinical Officer

We’re excited to share that we’ve partnered with Project HEAL to help increase access to care for individuals currently underrepresented in eating disorder treatment—particularly those who are low-income, underinsured, or marginalized. 

Our charitable care efforts have historically focused on individuals whose insurance prematurely cuts off during a treatment stay. This partnership allows us to expand these efforts to provide charitable care to individuals who are otherwise unable to admit to care due to prohibitive insurance, financial, and systemic barriers.

As part of this partnership, Veritas will provide free residential treatment to at least 12 Project HEAL beneficiaries per year who are low-income or facing extenuating financial circumstances, experiencing medical or social discrimination related to their identity or appearance, or don’t currently have quality eating disorder treatment options through an insurance provider.

September 13, 2022

Eating Disorders and Males

The topic of eating disorders in males has only been considered widely in eating disorder research and treatment communities for the last 30 years. Prior to the 1990s, eating disorders were thought to be so rare in men that they were not typically recognized as a population that could struggle with the illness. Males with Eating Disorders by Arnold Andersen, the first textbook that focused exclusively on eating disorders in males, came out in 1990. In subsequent years, researchers have contributed new information about eating disorders in men to the field’s literature, even as the general public continues to assume that eating disorders only affect women.

Due to these trends in research and public opinion, many eating disorder treatment interventions were created with women in mind (Strother, Lemberg, Stanford, & Turberville, 2012). Thankfully, this trend is starting to change, but there is still a need for a greater focus on eating disorders in men.

In this blog, we will discuss eating disorders in men and how they may present differently than in other genders, as well as the importance of considering the male experience in the treatment, research, and discussion of these illnesses. 

September 12, 2022

Episode 76: Accepting Recovery with Avery Mock

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, guest Avery Mock discusses how a goal to “get healthy” spiraled into an obsession with food and exercise that led to anorexia. He describes how he was a different person at the height of his eating disorder, burning bridges with the closest people around him. Thankfully, Avery was able to get into treatment to start his journey to recovery. Structure and support have been key to protecting his mental and physical health, he says. In recovery he has learned that food doesn’t need to take up so much space in his brain and that clothing size does not define his worth. Now he doesn’t need—or want—to change his body to be happy. Avery ends the episode by giving advice to those struggling with eating disorders, encouraging them to accept recovery. 

Avery is an anorexia survivor and mental health advocate dedicated to helping people recognize the warning signs of eating disorders and help others in recovery.

August 31, 2022

Tips for Going Back to School in Eating Disorder Recovery

It’s back-to-school time for parents and students across the country. Big changes in routine are an adjustment for anyone, and especially for people in eating disorder recovery. In addition to shifting schedules, these individuals often face additional difficulties this time of year. This article covers the potential triggers that can come with going back to school, as well as strategies for coping with these challenges in eating disorder recovery.

Student Mental Health Crisis

In 2021, more than a third of surveyed high school students in the U.S. reported experiencing poor mental health during the pandemic, and 44% said they persistently felt sad or hopeless during the past year, according to a recent CDC study. In a 2020 survey of 1,000 parents around the country, 71% said the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health. 

August 24, 2022

Physical Effects of Bulimia Nervosa

**Content warning: This post includes discussion of purging behaviors. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Bulimia nervosa, like all eating disorders, is associated with both long- and short-term health consequences. Without professional help, this illness is incredibly damaging to the body––even life-threatening. With early intervention and treatment, however, it’s possible to prevent these health effects from becoming lifelong issues. In this blog, we will discuss what bulimia entails, the warning signs and symptoms, and the physical health effects so that you can help those struggling get connected to help as soon as possible.

What is Bulimia?

Bulimia is characterized by recurrent binge eating and purging behaviors, along with a preoccupation with body appearance. Those diagnosed with the condition typically consume large amounts of food in a discrete period of time and then purge in an effort to control their body weight or shape. Purging can include self-induced vomiting, laxative or diuretic misuse, insulin mismanagement, and excessive exercise. 

August 16, 2022

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. 

Call 855-875-5812 to get help with an eating disorder.

If you or someone you know needs help with anorexia, reach out today.

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.

August 10, 2022

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. 

August 1, 2022

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. 

July 31, 2022

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.

July 20, 2022

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.

July 18, 2022

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 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.

July 11, 2022

Episode 74: Finding Yourself in Recovery with Eric Pothen

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, Eric Pothen discusses how well-meaning comments about his body played a part in the development of his eating disorder. Following the body commentary he received after college, he says he started restricting, bingeing, and purging via excessive exercise. Eventually exhausted by the darkness he was living in and the feeling of losing himself, he set out on a path to recovery. He explains how preparing for a marathon helped his recovery because he had to focus on nourishing his body to prepare for the race. He also tells us how affirmations played an integral role in his recovery. Eric ends the podcast by explaining that recovery not only gives you freedom from your eating disorder, but also helps you rediscover and love yourself.  

A middle school choir teacher in Albertville, MN, Eric struggled with an eating disorder for several years. Today, he uses his previous struggles of having an eating disorder as his strength to raise awareness and serve as an advocate for those who struggle with these illnesses, disordered eating, or body image. Eric is the owner and founder of the apparel company Embrace Wear, whose mission is to help others learn how to embrace themselves and discover beauty and self-worth within. He recently launched a podcast of his own, Embracing You, which is now available on Apple Podcasts.  

July 8, 2022

Barriers to Eating Disorder Treatment for People of Color

BIPOC Mental Health Month is a time to educate ourselves on the unique mental health challenges and needs of people of color in the United States. Among these mental health issues are eating disorders, psychiatric illnesses that regularly go under-recognized and under-treated in communities of color. The reasons behind this gap are complex, ranging from eating disorder stigma and provider bias to treatment access and cultural forces. 

In this article, we will cover the prevalence of eating disorders in communities of color, barriers to treatment, and how healthcare providers can spot the warning signs and symptoms in these communities. 

July 6, 2022

Staff Spotlight, Haleigh Stanley

Tell us about yourself! 

My name is Haleigh Stanley and I am the Hospital Education Manager at the Atlanta Hospital. I have been with Veritas Collaborative since July 2020, so almost two years now!

Describe the career path that led you to Veritas Collaborative.

I went to college at the University of Dayton (go Flyers!) for Middle Childhood Education. I was a teacher for five years and worked with students ages 10 to 14 in varying subject areas, including math, science, English, and special education. 

June 29, 2022

Make Small, Gradual Changes in Anorexia Recovery

**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.

Yvonne-Anne is an anorexia survivor currently residing in the UK. While caring for her family members, Yvonne also went to university for a Health and Social Care degree and graduated in 2016. Yvonne’s passion is providing coping strategies with a mix of self-help for those suffering with an eating disorder. She is also seeking literacy representation for her book, The Kaleidoscope Influence, which has recently been published on Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

I would firstly like to congratulate those who have recovered or are still recovering from an eating disorder. My journey began when I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa at the age of 16. The treatment, or lack of treatment, that I received would be considered unethical compared to the treatments available today. I had no choice but to navigate recovery on my own and find alternatives that worked for me.

In this blog, I will be discussing my recovery journey, including how I dealt with some of the physical and emotional effects that can come along with it.

June 16, 2022

Are You Sure It’s Just Picky Eating?

**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, or symptoms. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed.

Farheen Ahmed is a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park, studying Neuroscience on the pre-medical track. She is originally from Virginia and spends almost half of every year in Houston, Texas. In her free time, you can find her working at her research lab, volunteering for Rock Recovery, hanging out with her friends, or reading romance novels. Farheen struggled with an eating disorder throughout her high school years and can proudly say she is a recovered survivor.

For the longest time, my friends had me labeled as a picky eater. To them, I didn’t like pasta, I hated pizza, and I’d rather not eat at all than eat anything with cheese. Some excuses I told them were that cheese hurt my stomach, dairy made me break out, and ice cream hurt my teeth. All of this was nothing but lies. I was trying to cover up my fear of most foods. To my friends, I was just a picky eater, which is how I justified eating the same foods every day. I called myself “a creature of habit,” but in reality, I was simply living my life in fear of foods that didn’t deserve to have any sort of power over me.

June 6, 2022

Eating Disorders in the LGBTQIA+ Community

There is a stereotype that those with eating disorders are primarily young, thin, cisgender white women. Here at Veritas Collaborative, we know this stereotype is untrue and potentially harmful. Eating disorders affect people of any race, gender, sexuality, age, socioeconomic status, or size. In fact, studies show that the LGBTQIA+ community experiences eating disorders just as much, if not more than their non-LGBTQIA+ peers. LGBTQIA+ is an umbrella term that includes several sexual and gender identities. We will be speaking about this group generally, but we know that it encompasses a diverse mix of identities and experiences. 

In this blog, we will discuss eating disorders in the LGBTQIA+ community, including unique challenges, barriers to treatment, and ways healthcare providers and treatment centers can create an inclusive environment. 

June 6, 2022

Episode 73: Diabetes and Eating Disorders with Dr. Jaime Taylor and Nayiri Khatchadourian

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, Dr. Jaime Taylor and Nayiri Khatchadourian discuss their study on physicians’ knowledge about disordered eating in patients with diabetes. Through their study, they found that many physicians feel that they do not have the resources to help patients who show signs of disordered eating. They also describe warning signs of disordered eating to look for in patients with diabetes, as well as some serious health complications that may occur in patients with an eating disorder and diabetes. They end the conversation by emphasizing the importance of spreading awareness about the elevated eating disorder risk for those with diabetes, as well as highlighting the fact that weight does not determine health.

Dr. Jaime Taylor is the Director of Adolescent Medicine at Beaumont Children’s and is the Medical Director of the Hough Center for Adolescent Health. She is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of adolescents and is passionate about teaching on that subject as an Assistant Professor at Oakland University – William Beaumont School of Medicine. Nayiri Khatchadourian is currently a third-year medical student at Oakland University – William Beaumont School of Medicine. Her passion for advocating for mental health along with nutrition and wellness stemmed from her personal journey and struggles throughout her adolescent years. 

June 1, 2022

How to Support Your Child with ARFID

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) is a newer eating disorder diagnosis that is not as well known as conditions like anorexia and bulimia. Once classified as Selective Eating Disorder (SED), ARFID most commonly affects children and young adolescents⁠—and of course, the parents caring for them. Navigating how to support a child with an eating disorder can be a challenging journey, one made even more difficult when the eating disorder is not widely known or discussed. 

In this blog, we will provide an overview of ARFID, its warning signs, and helpful ways to support your child affected by this type of eating disorder. 

May 27, 2022

Reflections on Mental Health: A Q&A with Veritas Staff

Millions of Americans struggle with their mental health. That is one reason why Mental Health Awareness Month is so significant. Eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder are just some examples of what people are experiencing. Mental health is often stigmatized, but it deserves to be seen as equally as important as physical health. Everyone deserves support and care for their mental health, regardless of whether they suffer with a mental illness. 

To close out Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked some of our therapists about mental health—what it means to them and how they protect theirs while working in the field. Check out their answers below!