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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!

October 13, 2021

Eating Disorders and Depression

October is National Depression and Mental Health Screening Month, which brings awareness to the need for depression and mental health screenings. Along with other mental health conditions, depression frequently overlaps with eating disorders. In this article, we will cover common myths about depression, how to support a loved one with depression and an eating disorder, and how to notice the signs of depression in order to get someone help.

Depression and other mood disorders co-occur with eating disorders quite frequently. Research shows that 3239% of people with anorexia nervosa, 3650% of people with bulimia nervosa, and 33% of people with binge eating disorder are also diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The relationship between depression and eating disorders is complex. Depression can make people more likely to feel negative about their bodies, which can put them at risk for an eating disorder. Eating disorders can make people more at risk for the development of depression, particularly if they experience rapid weight loss or starvation.

October 4, 2021

Episode 61: The Intersection of Faith and Mental Health with Kelsey

Episode description: 

Kelsey is a pediatric registered nurse working on her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder and recovery story, including the impact of her faith and her college environment on her experiences of illness and recovery. 

Though Kelsey had seen many medical providers growing up, she says her relationship with food long went unquestioned. She had concerns about her eating but struggled in silence for years. She didn’t yet have the language to name her disordered eating, often describing her anxiety and stress more generally instead. She faced barriers getting help in college—a stressful environment already—but only found lasting support after an interaction at church. A person of faith, Kelsey turned to her pastor, who told her that her illness required professional support. Prayers alone would not heal her. After being connected with new resources, she says she became honest with her secrets with her family and made a “no more lying” rule with her parents. Her sister and niece were also strong motivations to help her recover and to model and practice body positivity. Kelsey leaves us with insight and hope for college students, people of faith, or anyone struggling with an eating disorder. 

September 30, 2021

How to Help Children Develop Positive Body Image

While the United States is making strides in eating disorder representation, education, and advocacy, there is still so much work to be done. Educating ourselves on eating disorders is essential in spotting the signs in ourselves and in others. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that parents understand the environmental risks for eating disorders in their children, including the unrealistic body ideals that are often pushed in the media. 

There are three factors that contribute to an individual getting an eating disorder: biological, psychological, and environmental. Although environmental factors are not the only factors contributing to the development of an eating disorder, it is one type we can protect against. While we cannot shield our children from the negative messages they may receive or the impossible beauty standards idealized in our culture, we can create a home environment that includes education on eating disorders, the celebration of body diversity, and praising each other for our traits and our accomplishments unrelated to appearance. Below are five ways to help protect the next generation against the environmental factors that contribute to eating disorders.

September 28, 2021

Eating Disorders in Adolescents

For parents, it can be frightening and taxing to discover your child may have an eating disorder. This blog breaks down eating disorders in adolescents, including warning signs, contributing factors, health consequences, and ways to support those affected.

September 21, 2021

The Challenges of Clothes Shopping in a Larger Body

Clothes shopping in eating disorder recovery is tough. Eating disorders are frequently accompanied by negative body image, including general body dissatisfaction, body image distortion, overvaluation of weight and shape, excessive body comparisons, and body checking behaviors. The negative body image that is often paired with eating disorders can naturally make clothes shopping difficult. The challenges of shopping can be compounded for those shopping for clothes labeled as “plus-size” by the fashion industry, as our society is often not as accommodating to people in larger bodies.

Although there are many people in larger bodies who are on a journey to body acceptance, not everyone is at the same point in their journey and very few journeys are a straight line. Therefore, shopping in a culture with weight bias and stigma is not always an easy task, no matter how far you’ve come in your recovery journey. One step toward embracing body acceptance is to be aware of the challenges of clothes shopping in recovery and to identify strategies for navigating the task.

September 15, 2021

Episode 60: Temperament-Based Therapy with Supports (TBT-S) with Dr. Laura Hill

Episode description:

Dr. Laura Hill is an international eating disorder consultant focusing on brain-based eating disorder treatment approaches. She is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at The Ohio State University and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of California, San Diego. She is one of the original founders of the Academy for Eating Disorders and the Director of the organization now known as NEDA from 1990 to 1994. In addition, Dr. Hill is the founder and former President and Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Balanced Living.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Dr. Hill introduces an emerging brain-based treatment called Temperament-Based Therapy with Supports (TBT-S). TBT-S helps people with eating disorders understand their unique temperament so that they can use it as a tool for recovery. Distinguishing between traits and symptoms, Dr. Hill explains that temperament includes traits like impulsivity, introversion, and determination, while symptoms include eating disorder behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. She emphasizes that temperament traits are neither good nor bad; what’s important is how they are applied. TBT-S helps people with eating disorders and their support people use their traits more productively to aid in recovery. Dr. Hill also talks about the importance of support in treatment and recovery. In the end, she addresses how providers can use TBT-S to complement other treatment approaches. 

September 14, 2021

Eating Disorders in Latinxs: Lessons Learned From History | Veritas Collaborative

The 10th Annual Veritas Collaborative Symposium on Eating Disorders, co-hosted by The Emily Program, will unite healthcare professionals and eating disorder experts around this year’s theme, “Engaging Science, Unifying Voices, and Transforming Access.” In this article, Mae Lynn Reyes-Rodríguez, PhD, FAED, a speaker at this year’s Symposium, discusses the prevalence of eating disorders in the Latino population and underscores the need for culturally competent care.

Eating disorders do not discriminate based on race or ethnicity. Actually, data from different national studies have shown that eating disorders in the Latino population are at similar or higher prevalence when compared with non-Latino Whites (Alegria et al., 2007; Marques et al., 2011; Udo & Grilo, 2018). However, due to the historical emphasis around European White females in the eating disorder field, most of the assessments and treatments have been developed and tested with and for this population. This is problematic because it has contributed to clinician bias and stigma, which are some of the barriers preventing Latinas to seek treatment for eating disorders (Reyes-Rodríguez et al., 2013). Moreover, the research about service utilization among individuals with a history of eating disorders reveals that Latinxs with bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) are less likely to seek treatment when compared with non-Latino Whites (Coffino, Udo, & Grilo, 2019; Marques et al., 2011). This health disparity is concerning because BN and BED are the most prevalent eating disorders in this population (Perez, Ohrt, & Hoek, 2016). Other factors such as lack of health insurance, lack of bilingual services, and lack of information about services can be associated with this underutilization of services (Ali et al., 2017; Reyes-Rodríguez, 2013). The long history of misconception and negligence has negatively affected the early detection, prevention, and treatment for eating disorders in the Latino population.

September 10, 2021

Untangling Eating Disorders and OCD

The 10th Annual Veritas Collaborative Symposium on Eating Disorders, co-hosted by The Emily Program, will unite healthcare professionals and eating disorders experts around this year’s theme, “Engaging Science, Unifying Voices, and Transforming Access.” In this article, Ben Eckstein, a speaker at this year’s Symposium, explores the connection between OCD and eating disorders.

Rigid routines. Experiential avoidance. Feeling out of control. Ruminative thoughts. Are we talking about OCD or eating disorders? Maybe both. If you’ve spent any time treating eating disorders, chances are good that you’ve come across an individual with comorbid Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). While rates vary across different types of eating disorders, studies generally show comorbidity rates ranging from 10–44%. This frequent overlap between OCD and eating disorders can create diagnostic confusion even for seasoned clinicians. It’s easy to see why: though there are some clear distinctions, the phenomenological similarities can muddy the water and complicate diagnosis and treatment planning. Similar behavior patterns regarding food, OCD’s compulsive actions intersecting with food intake, and more complicating behaviors can easily blur these lines. Let’s explore where the similarities and differences lie.

September 7, 2021

Episode 59: Choosing Recovery with Kathryn

Episode description: 

​​Kathryn is a 31-year-old woman who enjoys cooking, hosting friends, teaching music, and getting lost in nature. Best known for her big heart and passion for life, she lives in a larger body and advocates for people to take up more space. Kathryn joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to share her eating disorder story, including how living in a larger body has impacted her recovery. 

For over 20 years, food was the center of Kathryn’s life. She kept trying to figure out what was happening on her own, blaming herself for her struggles. After talking with the people closest to her, she decided to seek help even though she didn’t have a lot of hope that anything would work. 

As soon as Kathryn reached out for help, however, she says it felt like a “warm hug.” In speaking with an eating disorder specialist, she discovered that she did, in fact, have an illness. It was not her fault. While she experienced many barriers throughout her recovery living in a larger body, she grew to learn that all food is good food and that you should take up as much space as you need. With the support of her treatment team, friends, and family, she learned how to take care of herself, live as the most authentic version of herself, and make sure all her needs are met.

September 7, 2021

What Providers Should Know About Suicide and Eating Disorders

**Content warning: This post discusses the topic of suicide. Please use your discretion when reading and speak with your support system as needed. If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness and suicide prevention efforts. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, and those who have an eating disorder are particularly vulnerable to the risk. This blog will break down the different types of eating disorders and the link between suicide and eating disorders, as well as warning signs for suicide.

August 26, 2021

Genes and Environment: Embracing Complexity in Eating Disorders

The 10th Annual Veritas Collaborative Symposium on Eating Disorders, co-hosted by The Emily Program, will unite healthcare professionals and eating disorders experts around this year’s theme, “Engaging Science, Unifying Voices, and Transforming Access.” In this article, Cynthia Bulik, PhD, FAED, a speaker at this year’s Symposium, explores the complexity of the genetics of eating disorders.

August 24, 2021

How Dangerous Is Purging, and How Does Purging Affect The Body?

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

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

Purging is a compensatory behavior experienced by many people with eating disorders. It refers to the act of compensating for or expelling food intake to influence body weight or “make up for” consuming calories. Purging is most commonly associated with self-induced vomiting but also includes the misuse of laxatives, diet pills, and diuretics, as well as excessive exercise. This is seen across eating disorder diagnoses, including bulimiaanorexia, and OSFED (Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder).

August 19, 2021

How to Support a Loved One with an Eating Disorder

If you have a loved one with an eating disorder, navigating how to best support them can be challenging. You don’t want to say the wrong thing, but you also know that you have to address it and not ignore it. Eating disorders are complicated and at their core, they are brain-based illnesses that no one would choose. While you can’t force a person with an eating disorder to change, you can offer your support and encourage treatment. This can make a major difference to your loved one’s recovery.

August 18, 2021

Episode 58: Advancing Eating Disorders Education with Shikha Advani

Episode description:

Shikha Advani is an incoming master’s student and dietetic intern at Boston University who is passionate about eating disorders awareness, as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion in the nutrition and eating disorder fields. As a teenager, Shikha battled anorexia and orthorexia. She hopes her story can help others with eating disorders, no matter where they are in their recovery process.

August 12, 2021

The Interesting Relationship Between ADHD and Eating Disorders

The 10th Annual Veritas Collaborative Symposium on Eating Disorders, co-hosted by The Emily Program, will unite healthcare professionals and eating disorders experts around the theme of “Engaging Science, Unifying Voices, and Transforming Access.” In this article, Roberto Olivardia, PhD, a speaker at this year’s Symposium, examines the complex relationship between ADHD and eating disorders.

August 2, 2021

Episode 57: Supporting a Partner with an Eating Disorder with Dana Harron

Episode description:

Dr. Dana Harron is a practicing psychologist, the founder and director of Monarch Wellness & Psychotherapy, and the author of Loving Someone with an Eating Disorder: Understanding, Supporting and Connecting with Your Partner.

July 29, 2021

Post-Isolation Life: Reflections on Reopening and Reconnecting

As we settle into the second half of 2021 and the world increasingly opens up, you might be experiencing a kaleidoscope of mixed emotions — happiness, relief, fear, anxiety. It can be overwhelming to re-engage with our former lives and transition into a lifestyle that we haven’t participated in for more than a year.

July 21, 2021

Episode 56: The Healing Power of Horses with Lisa Whalen

Episode description:

Lisa Whalen, PhD, is the author of Stable Weight: A Memoir of Horses, Hunger, and Hope. Her writing has also appeared in An Introvert in an Extrovert World, The Simpsons’ Beloved Springfield, Introvert, Dear, and Adanna, among other publications. Lisa teaches writing and literature at North Hennepin Community College and is an equestrian and volunteer for the Animal Humane Society.

In this episode of Peace Meal, Lisa describes two key components of her eating disorder recovery: writing and horseback riding. Underscoring the multifaceted nature of the healing process, she reflects on how writing and riding each offered unique lessons for her mind and body. Writing, she explains, supported and extended her therapy lessons, while riding provided a space to put the lessons into practice. Lisa introduces us to a few of the horses that served as mentors throughout her recovery, highlighting the lessons they could teach us all about staying present, taking up space, and being imperfect. She then translates how these and other recovery “nuggets”—the wisdom learned from horses, writing, and therapy—continue to serve her life and career.

July 12, 2021

Swimsuit Season: How to Practice Self-Compassion This Summer

The concept of “swimsuit season” isn’t new, but this year’s swimsuit season is uncharted territory for all of us. Not only are we beginning to meet up with people that we haven’t seen in more than a year, but now we may be seen in swimsuits and other warm-weather clothing.

July 6, 2021

Episode 55: Eating Disorders in Fiction with Emily Layden

Episode description:

Emily Layden is a writer and former high school English teacher from upstate New York. A graduate of Stanford University, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, The Billfold, and Runner’s World. She joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to discuss her debut novel All Girls. We explore the depiction of disordered eating and anxiety in the book and society more generally, using Emily’s experience with the co-occurring concerns as context along the way. 

We center our conversation on one of the characters of All Girls, Macy, who struggles with clinical anxiety and an eating disorder resembling ARFID. Emily tells us about her decision to write Macy as she did, eschewing graphic descriptions of behaviors to highlight Macy’s anxious thoughts instead. She describes what she hopes All Girls adds to the larger conversation about eating disorders and the adolescent females among whom eating disorders are particularly prevalent. Emphasizing the importance of taking both eating disorders and young women more seriously, we explore how society tends to think similarly of both.