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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Unique Roles Mothers Play While Facing Eating Disorders—Personally or Through Their Children
Mother’s Day celebrates the special role of moms and all that they do to support their families every day. While caring for others, moms facing an eating disorder experience a variety of unique challenges, whether caring for a child with an eating disorder or focusing on their own recovery journey.
Every year, eating disorder treatment centers across the country experience a significant uptick in phone calls during summer vacation and following the holidays, from parents who are worried their child may be struggling with an eating disorder.
Compassion to me is grace, kindness, patience, and motivation. Compassion helps us to relate to and identify with our patients. Connecting with others leads to increased motivation to help the other person achieve their goals as it relates to self-actualization or toward full recovery. A mentor of mine once shared that in order to experience an authentic therapeutic relationship with a patient, we must find one thing we value and appreciate about that individual. This has always been at the core of my therapeutic work with patients.
To do the kind of work that we do, we must have compassion. Compassion has also been shown to improve outcomes in healthcare and to improve one’s relationship with his or her healthcare provider. Providers must learn to regulate their own boundaries so as not to experience compassion fatigue.
Self-compassion is often the precursor to demonstrating compassion toward others. When we can demonstrate compassion toward ourselves, we model that for our teams and for our patients. It shows up when we say “I should have looked at this differently” and we have the ability to recognize that we are doing the best that we can and can give ourselves grace.
Compassion is showing up in an empathic way for a patient and for a family.
Compassion is being with the individual and saying “yes, I get it. . . I can relate to that” versus feeling sorry.
Compassion is showing the individual the path to recovery and providing them with the tools to start the journey versus doing it for them.
Everything that we do at our hospitals and centers models real life for our patients around us. Whether showing compassion toward a teammate or compassion toward a patient, we are role-modeling this core value for our patients who may not have had role models of this very important humanistic trait.
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and begin to define our “new normal”, it’s important to acknowledge the impact these times can have on individuals suffering from an untreated eating disorder, as well as those who are in recovery.
The holiday season is a wonderful and exciting time for families and friends to celebrate together. While many people look forward to the holiday season, this time of year can cause added stressors for individuals who are in recovery from an eating disorder.
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and now more than ever, we need to examine how we can each play a role in decreasing suicide rates in the United States and beyond.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and on average, 129 individuals die by suicide each day. Individuals diagnosed with eating disorders are particularly vulnerable, with suicide rates for this population up to 31 times more than the suicide rate for the general population.
In the medical field, as well as in life, things are not always either black or white, but rather various shades of gray. In the past, providers have used growth charts, family history, and pubertal status to review development, growth spurts, pubertal status. In the early 1990’s Body Mass Index (BMI) became a new determinant of health yet BMI alone, without looking at growth patterns and growth spurts are not indicative of health: just as weight alone does not indicate or refute evidence of an eating disorder.
The Veritas Collaborative Symposium on Eating Disorders offers medical, mental, behavioral and other healthcare professionals the opportunity to learn from renowned experts in the eating disorder field. Steven Tsao, Ph.D., a keynote speaker at this year’s symposium, walks us through the complex comorbid relationship between obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and eating disorders and how to properly diagnose and treat these two disorders.