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Posts Tagged “Education”

March 22, 2024

Binge Eating Disorder: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States, with more people experiencing BED than anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa combined. Despite its widespread impact, BED is generally less well-known than anorexia and bulimia. 

This lack of recognition can be a significant barrier to getting help. Knowing what to look for when it comes to the signs of binge eating disorder can empower you to identify BED early in yourself, a loved one, or a patient. Early intervention for this serious illness is essential to mitigating harm to physical, emotional, and mental well-being and setting the stage for a long and successful recovery.

Read on for a comprehensive exploration of binge eating disorder, including its signs and symptoms, risk factors, treatment options, and more. We’ll give you the knowledge and resources you need to help you, your loved one, or your patient understand and heal from binge eating. 

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.

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.

August 15, 2023

I Think I Have an Eating Disorder. What Should I Do Next?

Perhaps your body has been on your mind more than ever recently. And it’s not just the typical pressure to be thin that diet culture fuels year-round. This feels persistent and compulsive, demanding a significant amount of your daily mental energy.

Or maybe your relationship with food is causing you uncertainty and stress. You find yourself skipping out on family dinners or declining birthday invitations from friends, instead preferring to eat alone or in secret—and often to the point of physical discomfort.

If your relationship with your body and food is becoming increasingly disordered, you’re likely feeling overwhelmed about the next steps. Eating disorders comprise a cluster of symptoms, measured according to physical and mental health complications, severity and frequency, and the number of behaviors. If your observed disordered habits have negatively impacted your health and monopolized your life and daily functioning, they’ve probably tipped into eating disorder territory. Our Eating Disorder Assessment Quiz will let you know whether additional evaluation is needed.

August 9, 2023

Screening for Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents: A Guide for Providers

Countless studies over recent years add up to a concerning reality: eating disorders are becoming increasingly prevalent among young people. According to a JAMA Pediatrics review released in early 2023, one out of every five children worldwide displays symptoms of disordered eating. Not only are patients being diagnosed with eating disorders at ages younger than ever before, but they’re also coming into eating disorder-related health visits with more severe mental and physical symptoms (CDC). We know that childhood and adolescence are critical periods of growth and development, adding gravity to the role of providers in screening and intervening effectively and early to limit the eating disorder’s potential for irreversible consequences.

Given this urgency, as a provider, what should you be looking out for when meeting with child or adolescent patients? How can you ensure that your eating disorder screening is informed, comprehensive, and age-appropriate? Here, we hope to equip you with a deeper understanding of the importance of early intervention, common signs of eating disorders in children and adolescents, and how to respond if you suspect your young patient is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating.

July 28, 2023

BIPOC Mental Health Month: A Q&A with Veritas Therapist Chelsea Brown

Chelsea Brown, MSW, LCSW, is a PHP therapist at Veritas Collaborative’s Charlotte, North Carolina site. She received her undergraduate degree in sociology at East Carolina University and pursued her Master of Social Work from there as well in 2017. Since starting in the field, Chelsea has gained training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Chelsea worked on her clinical social work licensure from 2017 to 2019 and has utilized her supervision to gain knowledge around clinical and behavioral diagnosis while in the field.

Chelsea has worked within diverse socioeconomic groups that have helped foster her person-centered approach to treatment and building therapeutic rapport. She has mainly worked with the adolescent population in addressing behaviors and coping skills, as well as with parental approaches to increasing support and guidance in parenting skills. Chelsea has also worked with young adults through their transitional phases from adolescents to adulthood.

In this blog, Chelsea shares her perspective on BIPOC Mental Health Month, offering valuable insights into the importance of recognizing and addressing mental health issues within the BIPOC community.

July 21, 2023

How to Know if PHP/IOP Treatment is Right for Your Child

As a parent, you want nothing but the best for your child. So when it comes to finding the right program to treat their eating disorder, it’s important to pick one fully equipped with the specialized knowledge and tools necessary to meet their unique needs.

Many eating disorder programs offered today began with treating adults and later added services for children and adolescents. However, at Veritas Collaborative, our program was specifically built with children and adolescents in mind. Treatment at Veritas stands out in our ability to provide age-appropriate, best-practice care tailored to the unique medical, nutritional, and psychosocial needs of children and their families.

July 10, 2023

Episode 84: Treating Binge Eating Disorder with Stacy Schilter Pisano

Episode description:

Stacy Schilter Pisano joins Peace Meal to shed light on the signs, symptoms, and complexities of binge eating disorder (BED), dispelling the myth that the condition is a mere matter of willpower. She describes the unique challenges facing those with BED, including misunderstandings about the illness, cultural stigma and shame related to overeating, marginalization in healthcare settings, and societal weight bias, particularly for those with BED who live in larger bodies. In light of these challenges, Stacy emphasizes the vital importance of treatment tailored to those affected by binge eating.

Stacy then provides an overview of The Emily Program’s virtual CARE IOP, a standalone treatment program for those BED and OSFED with a pattern of binge eating. Informed by the expertise of eating disorder professionals and the lived experiences of previous patients struggling with binge eating, CARE IOP offers a supportive environment where individuals can connect with others who truly understand their unique intersectional experiences. Unlike mixed-diagnosis treatment settings that may leave those with BED feeling isolated, CARE IOP provides tailored, comprehensive care that promotes safety and healing. 

July 6, 2023

What Is Orthorexia? When Healthy Eating Becomes Harmful

In the pursuit of health and wellness, many find themselves navigating a complex landscape of dietary advice and nutritional guidelines. It’s an experience that often begins with the best of intentions: to care for one’s health by nourishing the body well. But there’s a fine line that separates healthy eating from an unhealthy obsession with it. This is where orthorexia comes into play.

What is Orthorexia?

Orthorexia, a term coined by Dr. Steven Bratman in 1997, is a disordered eating pattern characterized by an extreme fixation on “healthy” eating. In many cases, the condition starts with an innocent desire to improve nutrition that spirals into rigid dietary rules, intense anxiety, and an extreme fear of consuming anything perceived as unhealthy. The relentless pursuit of a “healthy” diet becomes so consuming and restrictive that it interferes with a person’s daily life, relationships, mental and physical health, and overall well-being.

June 29, 2023

Which Approach Is Right for My Patient? Comparing Virtual and In-Person Eating Disorder Treatment Options

Healing from an eating disorder is a collaborative journey that often begins with a patient, their referring healthcare provider, and our specialty care professionals. It is imperative that, as a provider, you work to develop competency around eating disorder screening and early detection and act quickly after spotting the signs of issues around food, body image, weight, and/or eating. Eating disorders may begin innocently, but without intensive, evidence-based treatment, they can snowball into serious, potentially life-threatening illnesses.

Once you become aware of an eating disorder in your patient, you can also support them in determining the treatment setting that’s right for them. At Veritas Collaborative, our model of care is comprehensive, empirically based, and refined by the clinical judgment of experts in the field. It is also tailored to what each patient needs. Although eating disorders share many features across individuals, recovery looks different for each person, and treatment must take a number of factors into account, including individual life circumstances, history, co-occurring conditions, motivation to recover, symptomology, and illness presentation. No matter the level of care or treatment format (in-person or virtual), patients at Veritas can expect superior treatment modalities and support from each member of our multidisciplinary treatment team.

June 21, 2023

The Power of Family-Based Treatment in Adolescent Recovery

Family-based treatment (FBT), also known as the Maudsley method or Maudsley approach, is widely regarded as the treatment of choice for children and adolescents with eating disorders. Extensive research has consistently shown the efficacy of FBT, and our experience at Veritas Collaborative supports these positive results. Specifically, we have observed that adolescent patients who engage in FBT achieve the most favorable outcomes when compared to non-FBT treatment approaches utilized for this age group.

At Veritas Collaborative, we use this evidence-based treatment method because we understand that involving a patient’s family in treatment is essential to their successful recovery. 

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 17, 2023

The Role of Nutrition in Eating Disorder Treatment

Veritas Collaborative’s patients generally enter eating disorder treatment mired in food rules and rituals. Their mindsets around food tend to follow a pattern of dichotomous extremes. Types of food and eating behaviors are labeled either “good” or “bad.” Food consumption might alternate between periods of total restriction and severe overconsumption. One might hyperfocus on food when eating or disconnect entirely. Often, the “perfect conditions” must be met to eat, with rigidity around the location, specific foods or food groups, and other people present while eating. Eating can feel like a test that one passes or fails. Disordered eating and eating disorders weaken the mind-body connection, elevating the power of these intense cognitive distortions as the mind takes over as a micromanager of the body’s needs.

May 4, 2023

How Does School Work in Child and Adolescent Eating Disorder Treatment?

If your child is suffering from an eating disorder, we understand the pain you’re experiencing as a parent. You want your child to get the help they need, but you’re also worried about them falling behind in school or missing out on childhood experiences. These concerns are completely valid. Your child’s health must come first, however. Early intervention is key to a successful, long-lasting recovery from eating disorders. Fortunately, prioritizing treatment does not mean that academics have to go ignored. 

At Veritas Collaborative, we serve the whole person on their path to recovery, including supporting our child and adolescent patients’ academic progress. In our higher levels of care – including inpatient and residential – we offer a range of onsite education options, allowing your child to make progress in their academics while prioritizing their treatment.