Posts Tagged ‘Eating Disorders’

A woman sits on her couch with a sad expression on her face

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.

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A man sits with his head resting on his hand

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. 

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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. 

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.

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Margo Maine

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.

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Dr. Jaime Taylor and Nayiri Khatchadourian

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. 

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Group therapy

Ethics in Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorder clinicians are guided by ethics to ensure the best for every patient that comes into their care. In general, ethics help clinicians determine appropriate clinical decisions and behavior. They provide a compass for what is “right” and what is “wrong,” although determining that is not usually so simple. Treatment providers will encounter a variety of moral dilemmas in their careers, and ethics can provide a general framework for navigating these situations. 

In this blog, we will cover key ethical principles in the treatment of eating disorders, as well as several dilemmas that the field’s clinicians may face. 

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A patient sitting on a couch with a medical provider

Responding to the Rise: The Growing Need for Eating Disorder Care

Over the past few months, we have seen a significant decrease in COVID-19 cases across our communities. Every region that The Emily Program and Veritas Collaborative serve is currently rated either low or medium risk for COVID-19 by the CDC. We have collectively seen a tremendous diminishment in the numbers of people with COVID, hospitalized with COVID, and dying from COVID. 

Having said that, we have now lost almost a million Americans to COVID-19. It is the most profound pandemic of any of our lifetimes. We are so glad to now see fewer people becoming ill or dying from this virus, as well as a rising level of safety in our community. However, two years of this pandemic have had a profound negative impact on people with eating disorders. 

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Heidi Andersen

Episode 70: The Healing Power of Embodiment with Heidi Andersen

Episode description: 

Heidi Andersen is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor Supervisor, Certified Eating Disorder Specialist Supervisor, Registered Yoga Teacher, and Embodiment Specialist. She has worked with people struggling with eating disorders as a therapist in residential, PHP, IOP, and outpatient levels of care. She currently maintains an outpatient group practice of body-centered psychotherapists specializing in weight-inclusive treatment for the intersection of trauma, attachment wounds, and eating disorders through an anti-oppression lens and somatic approach.

In this episode of Peace Meal, we explore the concept of embodiment and how it relates to eating disorders and recovery. Heidi covers the reasons we can become disembodied, as well as different ways we can work toward reconnecting with our body. Heidi also dives into how important it is for healthcare providers who help others with their embodiment to work on their own. She offers yoga as one tool in increasing embodiment, and it is a practice she finds especially valuable to ground herself on bad body image days. Recognizing that embodiment can often feel unsafe for people who are not in white, straight-sized bodies, Heidi hopes for a future where embodiment is more accessible for all.

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A woman stands outside holding a notebook and looking at her phone while listening to a podcast

Top 5 Podcast Episodes for Eating Disorder Awareness

Here at Veritas Collaborative, we are recognizing Eating Disorders Awareness Week, an annual campaign to educate the public about the realities of eating disorders, as well as provide hope, support, and visibility to individuals and families affected by these illnesses. 

In honor of this week, we are spotlighting five episodes of Peace Meal that raise awareness and provide education on eating disorders. Peace Meal, a podcast we co-produce with The Emily Program, covers topics related to eating disorders, body image, and how society may influence our thinking. In each episode, our host Dr. Jillian Lampert speaks with experts in the field and those experiencing recovery for themselves. Check out these five episodes to learn the basics of eating disorders and who they affect, why it’s possible to recover, and more. 

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A couple grocery shopping

Grocery Shopping in Eating Disorder Recovery

It’s been a few weeks since you’ve completed treatment. You have learned coping strategies to manage eating disorder impulses and behaviors, but certain activities can still be triggering. Shopping for food is a common challenge for so many who are struggling or have struggled with an eating disorder. A grocery store, with its endless options and food labels abound, can be an overwhelming place for anyone, let alone someone recovering from an eating disorder. When thoughts of food are already taking up your whole brain, entering an environment filled with such a vast amount of food can understandably exacerbate that issue, causing anxiety, fear, and distress. 

We want to help you cope with this common trigger. In this article, we will cover the potential challenges of grocery shopping while in recovery, as well as helpful strategies to overcome those challenges.

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Person pushing a cart through a grocery store

Food Insecurity and Eating Disorders

Life is unpredictable. Unexpected expenses like layoffs, medical emergencies, or home repairs can force families to choose between buying food or paying their bills. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 10.2% of American households experienced food insecurity in 2021. The percentage translates to more than 34 million people, including 9 million children. These millions of Americans are at risk of experiencing the serious physical and psychological consequences of food insecurity, including eating disorders

In this blog, we will examine the topic of food insecurity and its connection to eating disorders, as well as what we can do to help those affected. 

What is Food Insecurity?

Food insecurity describes a lack of consistent access to enough food for every member of a household. The issue disproportionally affects marginalized communities, including people of color, people with disabilities, and low-income households. In addition, low-income neighborhoods tend to have fewer supermarkets and grocery stores, which can leave them with lower-quality food options. 

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Woman looking out the window lost in thought

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. 

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Ben Eckstein

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. 

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Two people hold hands with a Pride flag in the background

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. 

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A parent cutting up their child's food for them

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. 

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A group of adults sitting in a circle

The Importance of a Multidisciplinary Care Team

Eating disorders are complex illnesses that require medical, psychological, and nutritional treatment. At Veritas Collaborative, every member of the multidisciplinary treatment team plays an essential role in a patient’s recovery. In higher levels of care, eating disorder specialists collaborate to deliver treatment that fits the unique needs of each individual in our care. 

In this blog, you will learn about the varied roles that make up our multidisciplinary team of professionals, as well as how each team member contributes to the evidence-based treatment of eating disorders.

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Farheen Ahmed

When Exercising Goes Too Far

**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.

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Teen girl sits on the beachnd looks out at the ocean

Recovery is Not an Overnight Thing

**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.    

Leah Appel is a senior at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minnesota. She was born in Florida but moved to Minnesota when she was about three years old. She grew up in the suburbs of Minneapolis. Her father moved to Florida when she was in middle school, so traveling has been a big part of her life. Leah loves to shop, spend time with friends, and explore places and stores around the city.

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A teen boy with glasses and a hoodie looks thoughtfully towards the sky

Eating Disorders 101: Warning Signs, Risk Factors, and Treatment

Each February, Veritas Collaborative recognizes National Eating Disorders Awareness Week with education about the illness that affects our patients and their families. The national campaign aims to increase public understanding and support for eating disorders, widespread yet often misunderstood mental health conditions.   

Nearly 30 million Americans experience an eating disorder in their lifetime. The vast majority, however, do not receive care due to stigma, misinformation, and access barriers. Increasing our understanding of these serious illnesses is crucial to improving early detection and intervention. In this blog, we provide a general overview of eating disorders, including the types, risk factors, and warning signs, as well as the importance of multidisciplinary treatment.  

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An adolescent speaks to providers sitting beside her

PHP/IOP Treatment at Veritas Collaborative

At Veritas Collaborative, we offer a full continuum of care for people with eating disorders of all types. Ranging from inpatient to outpatient, the levels of care vary according to the level of support and structure they provide. These diverse and distinct levels support our individualized approach to treatment.

In this article, we provide an overview of both our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Learn the components of PHP/IOP for adults, adolescents, and children and how day programs differ from other kinds of treatments on the care continuum.

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