Posts Tagged “Education”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Episode 84: Treating Binge Eating Disorder with Stacy Schilter Pisano
Stacy Schilter Pisano joins Peace Meal to shed light on the signs, symptoms, and complexities of binge eating disorder (BED), dispelling the myth that it is merely a 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 virtual CARE IOP, The Emily Program’s and Veritas Collaborative’s standalone 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 them feeling isolated, CARE IOP provides tailored, comprehensive care that promotes safety and healing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Episode 83: Eating Disorders and Menopause with Val Schonberg
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.
Navigating Resistance: How to Support Families Who Want to Postpone Eating Disorder Treatment
“My patient received a recommendation for a higher level of eating disorder care, but their family wants to hold off until a ‘better time.’ How do I help them understand the risks of waiting?”
Eating disorder clinicians frequently face the challenge of resistance to care. This resistance stems from various factors, such as a fear of the unknown, difficulty acknowledging the severity of the illness, and ambivalence toward the recovery process. The prospect of interrupting life for treatment often only adds to the anxiety.
What are the Levels of Eating Disorder Treatment?
At Veritas Collaborative, we provide the highest standard of care across a continuum of levels. We recognize that each patient comes to us with a unique set of treatment needs based on their current medical status, the amount of structure necessary to decrease their eating disorder behaviors, and their motivation for recovery, among other factors. To create a treatment plan just for them, we consider these factors, as well as individual clinical judgment, to ensure each patient receives the treatment modalities that align best with the severity of their illness. We know that recommending the level of care that is right for each patient provides a solid foundation for long-lasting recovery.
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.
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.
Practicing Self-Care in the New Year
Happy New Year! As we settle into the month of January, reflection on the year before and dreams of the year ahead are the focus for many. Discussion of “be better” and “do more” goals, resolutions, tasks, and dreams are floating around in the minds of many.
What if we instead focused on goals that center on ways we can better engage in a self-care practice? What if we tried taking care of ourselves, exactly as we are, and made sure that we managed the things that are present in our everyday lives, today, in the moment?
In all the self-care conversations, research, and TED Talks, we find ideas for successful self-care, as well as what self-care is and is not. Surveys seem to indicate that most people agree that self-care is both important and valuable. However, at the same time, many people report that they don’t have time for it or that they struggle to put themselves before the many other tasks at hand.
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.