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Posts Tagged “Eating Disorders”

February 29, 2024

The Importance of Screening for Eating Disorders

Oftentimes, primary providers are the first line of defense against eating disorders. They can be the first to notice the early signs and discover an eating disorder since they see their patients regularly. Identifying these symptoms can help interrupt these mental disorders from developing further. 

In this article, we will discuss the importance of early screening and detection, the warning signs of eating disorders, and what to ask your patients when conducting screenings. 

February 27, 2024

Is It Time to Seek Help? 5 Behaviors That Could Indicate an Eating Disorder

You’ve started dodging dinner plans because you’re worried your friends might notice that your eating habits have changed. 

You’ve become hyper-fixated on your body and started working out early every morning to “make up” for the previous day’s eating.

You’ve noticed that your ever-dwindling list of “safe” foods is making it hard to eat a nutritionally balanced diet.

If you see yourself in any of the above behaviors, it may indicate that you’re struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder.

Eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in an individual’s eating and food behaviors or self-perception. These complex, biologically based illnesses are influenced by environmental, social, and psychological factors. Unfortunately, they are not uncommon, with nearly 30 million Americans experiencing an eating disorder in their lifetime. Knowing the signs of an eating disorder can help you catch it early and get you the help you need. 

February 23, 2024

What Is the Best Treatment for ARFID?

It’s not unusual to experience some selectiveness around food. Many people have allergies that limit their food choices, others are naturally drawn to certain flavors or textures, and most of us likely demonstrated a degree of pickiness in childhood.

But what happens when these food preferences begin to erode your quality of life? When eating becomes increasingly narrowed in food variety and/or restrictiveness of overall intake that it leads to weight loss or unmet growth expectations, nutritional deficiencies, dependence on caloric supplements or tube feeding, and/or marked interference with psychosocial functioning, it could indicate the presence of Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).

Misconceptions and insufficient research on ARFID can make it difficult for those struggling to find appropriate, supportive care. ARFID is a serious mental illness—it’s not just “picky eating,” a passing “phase,” or a choice, and it needs timely, specialized, evidence-based treatment that effectively addresses its unique considerations.

January 25, 2024

The Role of Body Positivity in Eating Disorder Treatment & Recovery

Our relationships with our bodies are deeply personal, constantly shifting and evolving throughout our lifetimes. If you have lived experience with body image concerns, disordered eating, or an eating disorder, adopting a positive (or even neutral) mindset about your body can feel like an unrealistic—if not altogether impossible—task.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), body image disturbances are core clinical characteristics of many eating disorders. In fact, research consistently shows that body image distortion is the strongest psychosocial predictor of eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors. However, we know each eating disorder experience is unique, and as such, not everyone with an eating disorder may experience body image issues. For example, the food disturbances we see among those with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID) are not motivated by distorted body image or body dissatisfaction.

A primary goal of eating disorder treatment is reaching a place of body appreciation and respect. While there’s no single “best” approach to improving body image, cultivating body positivity can play a powerful role in facilitating eating disorder treatment and lasting recovery. Through awareness and active practice, those in recovery can experience a new, more accepting relationship with their bodies.

December 12, 2023

What Are Therapeutic Meals?

At Veritas Collaborative, meals are more than just fuel for the body—they’re opportunities for healing. Therapeutic meals and snacks address fear and anxiety surrounding food and eating, both hallmarks of eating disorders. These supportive meals are a major aspect of our treatment programs, including inpatient, residential, partial hospitalization (PHP), and intensive outpatient (IOP) care.

We foster a “Can Eat Culture” that embraces the philosophy that “all foods fit.” This approach rejects the restrictive “eat this, not that” mentality of diet culture, calling instead for variety and flexibility with eating. Therapeutic meals and snacks are key aspects of our “Can Eat Culture.” 

Read on to learn what therapeutic meals entail and how they can help pave the way to a more balanced and peaceful relationship with food.

November 30, 2023

How to Talk to Your Adult Child About Their Eating Disorder

Perhaps you’ve noticed some differences in your adult child’s behavior. These changes are mostly related to their eating and exercise habits, but extend to their general demeanor. 

Maybe they push their food around on their plate without eating much of it. 

Maybe they can’t seem to stop talking about their new diet and exercise regimen.  

Maybe they deliberately avoid family gatherings that involve food. 

Approaching your child about these behaviors may feel daunting. You might worry about upsetting them or creating distance in your relationship. While you understand that they are now in charge of their own health decisions, you are deeply concerned about their well-being. The situation is undeniably distressing. Though you cannot force your adult child into seeking help, your support, empathy, and guidance can empower them to take that crucial next step. 

Read on to learn some helpful tips on initiating a conversation about eating disorder treatment with your adult child. 

October 12, 2023

Sports & Eating Disorders: The Hidden Dangers in Competitive Environments

Sports can have an incredibly positive effect on people’s lives, promoting social connection, self-confidence, and skills in teamwork and leadership. However, athletes also grapple with unique challenges, particularly when it comes to their relationship with food and their bodies. Research has shown that participation in sports can trigger or exacerbate eating disorders in those who are susceptible.

Read on to learn why athletes are at special risk of developing eating disorders, the signs to watch out for, and how these disorders can affect athletic performance.

September 28, 2023

The Impact of Eating Disorders on the Brain and Academic Performance

You don’t know what to do. You’ve never had to worry about your twelve-year-old son before. His school report cards consistently reflect his conscientiousness, situating him comfortably at the top of his classes. He demonstrates the same drive outside the classroom, where he’s established himself as a dependable scorer for the school’s soccer team.

But something’s been off lately, giving you a gnawing feeling in your gut. Your son seems to be regressing to the picky eating of his childhood. His palette is increasingly limited these days, and he alleges digestive problems when asked to gather with the family for dinner. He used to have a tight-knit group of friends, but recently has been declining birthday party invitations and isolating himself. His soccer coach has called you and suggested your son take a leave from the team—he fainted during this evening’s practice.

You know you need to act, but you’re facing pushback from your son. He meets your concerns with heightened defensiveness, firmly denying that anything is wrong. He’s doubling down on his already rigid study schedule, convinced that any disruptions will derail his high-achieving track. You understand that school can wait, but you’re struggling to get your son on board with taking the time for treatment. Is it possible his reaction and this resistance are related to his unusual food behaviors? You reason it would be easier for him to continue his top performance if he wasn’t battling these food issues, but you can’t be sure. You need guidance from those who have walked this path before—that’s where we come in.

September 14, 2023

Medical Complications of Eating Disorders

Unlike some other mental health diagnoses, eating disorders have a high prevalence of associated medical complications. In fact, eating disorders are responsible for more than 3 million lost healthy years annually worldwide and are the second deadliest of all psychiatric diagnoses, second only to opioid use disorder.

Virtually every organ and system in the human body can be impacted by disordered eating, with effects ranging from mild to severely debilitating—and even life-threatening—depending on the duration and intensity of the illness.

As with all eating disorder-related complications, intervening early and connecting with a specialty care team are key to mitigating the risks of lasting physical damage.

September 7, 2023

Yoga and Mindfulness: Their Role in Eating Disorder Recovery – Veritas Collaborative

Healing from an eating disorder doesn’t end with your discharge from treatment. That’s why it’s so important that eating disorder care helps patients develop effective coping strategies, self-care practices, and emotion regulation skills to use long after formal treatment ends. Transitioning from specialized eating disorder care into the “real world” can be jarring. Equipping patients with the tools and confidence to navigate life’s inevitable challenges ensures their recovery begins with a solid foundation.

Both yoga and mindfulness are tools that support the reconnection to mind and body essential in eating disorder treatment. They also protect a continuing recovery, offering patients accessible grounding techniques to confront urges and stressful moments. At Veritas Collaborative, we integrate yoga and mindfulness as holistic, skill-based therapies within our evidence-based treatment model.

Given the mainstream popularity of yoga and mindfulness, it’s critical to differentiate eating disorder-informed practices from the more insidious variations of yoga and mindfulness that have been commodified by wellness culture.

June 15, 2023

3 Ways PHP/IOP Can Help Adults Balancing Treatment and Family Life

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 2, 2023

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.

May 10, 2023

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. 

May 1, 2023

Episode 83: Eating Disorders and Menopause with Val Schonberg

Episode description:

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. 


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February 16, 2023

Spot Eating Disorders via Child and Adolescent Growth Records

Eating disorder clinicians are noticing symptoms emerging at younger ages than before. While these illnesses can present at any time in life, early-onset eating disorders are concerning for several reasons. Childhood and adolescence are critical times for growth and development, and disruption of the nutrition required for the development of vital body structures can have lasting effects (Mumford, Kohn, Briody, et al. 2019). 

Eating disorders can significantly impact psychological and social development as well. It’s critical to detect these serious illnesses early to limit any of their lasting effects. 

February 9, 2023

Quiz: How Do I Know If I Have an Eating Disorder?

Eating makes you anxious. So anxious, in fact, that you try to avoid “bad” and “unhealthy” foods—at least until you find yourself bingeing on them later. 

Your new exercise routine has you hooked; you’ve even canceled some plans to fit it in. 

You think about your body constantly, with frequent mirror checks and harsh self-scrutiny becoming a daily routine. 

It’s common to question whether certain attitudes and behaviors related to food may point to an eating disorder. However, it can be hard to determine what is considered “normal” in our culture that celebrates restrictive eating and thinness. 

You may feel overwhelmed and unsure where to turn. We’re here to help. Read on to learn about key eating disorder diagnoses, the signs and symptoms to watch for, and some self-assessment questions. By gaining knowledge about eating disorders, you’ll have a better understanding of what you or a loved one may be experiencing. Remember, you don’t have to face this alone. We’re here to support you from the very start. 

January 9, 2023

5 Podcast Episodes to Support Your 2023 Intentions

We are currently bombarded with messages suggesting that we should change our bodies in this new year. It’s a particularly noisy time for diet culture, but there are plenty of 2023 intentions that have absolutely nothing to do with a new diet fad or trendy exercise routine. These recovery-aligned goals can protect both your physical and mental well-being, as well as improve your relationship with food, your body, and yourself.

You may want to start meditating, treat yourself with more compassion, or find movement practices that bring you joy. On our podcast Peace Meal, host Dr. Jillian Lampert speaks with experts in the eating disorder field and people in recovery on a range of topics, including practical tips to support these types of recovery-related goals. Read on for five episodes that can help you achieve the intentions you may be pursuing in 2023.

December 5, 2022

Episode 79: Pregnancy and Postpartum Eating Disorders with Katie Gantt

Episode description:

Katie Gantt, MHS, RD, LDN, RYT, is a registered dietitian who has been working in the field of eating disorders and disordered eating for over five years. Katie is passionate about helping moms have a healthy pregnancy and postpartum period by finding health without dieting and challenging disordered eating patterns. She is the owner of Kathryn Gantt Nutrition where she uses her clinical expertise and yoga training to help moms reconnect with their bodies and their relationship to food in a positive, trauma-informed style. Katie focuses on mindful and intuitive eating, Health At Every Size (HAES), and non-diet approaches when counseling clients and helping parents raise intuitive eaters.

November 29, 2022

The Link between Diabetes and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are incredibly complex, in part because they often occur with other physical and mental conditions. One such condition is diabetes, a chronic disease that requires medical intervention and lifelong maintenance. This maintenance often includes close attention to diet and exercise, which are areas of particular concern for those susceptible to developing, experiencing, or recovering from eating disorders. 

Read on to learn about how diabetes intersects with eating disorders and the potential health consequences for those experiencing both conditions. 

September 29, 2022

Eating Disorders, Suicidal Ideation, and Nonsuicidal Self-Injurious Behavior

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses that commonly co-occur with other mental disorders. Research has shown that 55–97% of people diagnosed with these illnesses are also diagnosed with at least one more psychiatric disorder. In addition, individuals with eating disorders are at a higher risk of dying by suicide in comparison to the general population (NEDC). This information highlights the importance of understanding the signs of suicidal thoughts and methods of preventing suicide in those experiencing eating disorders.

Alyssa Kalata, PhD, Clinical Training Manager for Veritas Collaborative and The Emily Program, joins us in this blog to discuss five actions you can take to reduce suicide risk when working with eating disorder patients.