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Posts Tagged “Family”

December 7, 2023

Happier Holidays: How to Be a Recovery Ally this Season

The “most wonderful time of the year” is often anything but for those battling an eating disorder or working toward recovery. It should come as no surprise that the holiday season is frequently a time for relapse or exacerbation of eating disorder symptoms. After all, the much-beloved traditions and events this time of year are teeming with potential triggers. Increased exposure to fear foods, activities centered around eating, and extended time with family can magnify an individual’s struggles.

For a peek behind the curtain of these illnesses, consider a holiday meal at a relative’s home. Being immersed in a group setting can elicit tremendous pressure for those in recovery, particularly around the holidays when the expectation is to engage in the “normal” food and social activities of the season. Those in any stage of recovery may avoid holiday gatherings altogether out of the fear that every eye will be on them, silently (or not so silently) assessing their appearance, weight, and the contents of their plate. 

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. 

August 24, 2023

How to Support Your Child Returning to School with an Eating Disorder

You’ve braved the back-to-school aisles of your local retailer, reviewed your child’s class and activities schedule, established a transportation plan, and helped select a perfect first-day-of-class outfit. Whether school is already back in session for your family or your household is buzzing with first-day jitters, navigating back to school means working with your child to set them up for a successful school year.

If your child is navigating this school year with an eating disorder, how you define “success” won’t be limited to their academic performance. Rather, success means preserving their recovery during the transition into a new school year.

This season brings to the forefront the influence of body image and eating triggers distinct to the school environment. While it’s not uncommon for eating disorder behaviors to be triggered or worsened by periods of transition, your support and preparation as a parent can make all the difference in ensuring this school year is one that centers your child’s recovery.

July 31, 2023

Episode 85: Supporting a Child Through an Eating Disorder with Holly Thorssen

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, Holly Thorssen recounts her experience of mothering her daughter Madison through an eating disorder. Holly walks us through the course of Madison’s illness, noting the warning signs of Madison’s struggles with food and body, and sharing the family’s efforts to find a suitable treatment provider. Holly acknowledges the importance of building a supportive, judgment-free space when discussing eating concerns with a child – a space where your child can feel safe enough to disclose their emotions and struggles without fear or shame. In a poignant moment of reflection, Holly speaks on how she learned to differentiate Madison’s voice from the voice of the eating disorder, leading to a better understanding of Madison’s conflicting desire to get better while also resisting change. Connecting with The Emily Program’s family-oriented specialty care made all the difference for Holly and Madison, offering much-needed comfort and healing for both mother and daughter.

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.

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 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. 

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 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.

April 26, 2023

A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Patient in PHP/IOP Care

Seeking help for an eating disorder takes tremendous courage. We applaud you for taking this brave first step toward helping your child heal. By pursuing the right level of care for your child today, you’re giving them the best chance at achieving full and lasting recovery. 

Your child’s upcoming admission into Veritas Collaborative’s partial hospitalization (PHP) or intensive outpatient (IOP) program will put them on the path to healing, restoring their health, and getting them back to the things that matter most to them. We understand that the most daunting parts of eating disorder treatment aren’t always related to food or body, but rather all the unknowns. You might be wondering: What does an average day look like in treatment? or What types of eating disorder therapies will my child encounter? or How are parents and communities of support involved in treatment? 

We’ve crafted this blog to alleviate any anxieties surrounding the components of our intensive eating disorder treatment programs. Read on to learn about what to expect from these levels of individualized, support-driven care.

April 20, 2023

A Day in the Life of an Adolescent Patient in Inpatient and Residential Care

Eating disorder treatment is a big step – especially when your child will be leaving home to receive care. It’s normal for both you and your child to feel some anxiety about upcoming inpatient or residential eating disorder treatment. After all, you are taking a very brave leap into the unknown! Knowing what to expect during treatment can help alleviate some of the stress and anxiety. Our clinical team also understands the apprehension surrounding treatment. We promise to be right beside you, offering support and guidance on your first day – and every day – of the treatment journey.

Adolescent Inpatient and Residential Care Schedule Overview

A day in the life of an adolescent patient in an inpatient or residential program is full from start to finish. With a focus on around-the-clock support and care, all patients and families are provided with the structure and skill development needed for lasting recovery back in their home environment.

Throughout the week, your child will take part in treatment interventions and hands-on culinary experiences to develop skills and equip them to maintain their recovery once they return to their everyday life. Some therapy sessions, nutrition sessions, meals, and culinary experiences will include families so skills can be discussed and practiced with caregivers and communities of support. Your child will also have structured time built into the day for schoolwork so they can keep up with their studies while they receive care.

November 23, 2022

Navigating the Thanksgiving Table: A Letter for Those in Eating Disorder Recovery

A note upfront: you will get through Thanksgiving this year.

You will get through this day supercharged with expectations of gratitude, joy, and togetherness. This day when seemingly everyone is eager to take to the kitchen and prepare their assigned dish, presenting it to a table of revelers ready to express their thankfulness over an abundant feast.

You will get through this day that marks the first in a series of seasonal holiday gatherings in which family dynamics and food compete for the center stage–for better or for worse.

Thanksgiving can push the limits of eating disorder recovery in so many ways. It is fraught with the potential for triggers, whether you are well-established in your healing journey or are in the throes of an eating disorder.

Know the lessons from this day will be abundant. Moments that challenge your recovery may be abundant. Ultimately, your growth will be the most abundant. You can and will get through this.

November 9, 2022

How to Help Children Build a Healthy Relationship with Food

Diet culture is so ingrained in our society that we sometimes can’t even see it. It’s in media messages that tell us that being thin will make us attractive, popular, and successful. It’s on grocery store labels that say foods are “guilt-free” or “sinful.” It’s in conversations about the latest diet or the food someone is “being so bad” for eating. 

In a culture that regards some bodies and foods as good––and others “bad”––it’s no surprise that children might start to develop unhealthy relationships with both. Unfortunately, a negative relationship with food and one’s body can play a part in the development of an eating disorder. Although a child’s environment alone cannot cause a biopsychosocial illness like an eating disorder, it is the factor we can work together to change. Parents have the opportunity to create a healthy environment around food and body image in their home, which can have an incredibly positive impact on their child’s development. 

In this blog, we will delve into how parents can help their children develop a healthy relationship with food and body image.

June 1, 2022

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. 

March 29, 2022

Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys: A Q&A with Charlotte Markey

Charlotte Markey, PhD, is a world-leading expert in body image research, having studied all things body image and eating behaviors for her entire adult life (25 years!). She is passionate about understanding what makes us feel good about our bodies and helping people to develop a healthy body image. Charlotte loves to share her body image wisdom with others and is an experienced book author, blogger, and professor at Rutgers University, Camden. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her son Charlie, daughter Grace, husband Dan, and their dog, Lexi. 

Here Charlotte tells us about her new book, Being You: The Body Image Book for Boys, why discussions of body image and mental health need to become more normalized for boys, how parents can help their sons build a positive body image, and more.

October 4, 2021

Episode 61: The Intersection of Faith and Mental Health with Kelsey

Episode description: 

Kelsey is a pediatric registered nurse working on her master’s degree in psychiatric nursing. In this episode of Peace Meal, she shares her eating disorder and recovery story, including the impact of her faith and her college environment on her experiences of illness and recovery. 

Though Kelsey had seen many medical providers growing up, she says her relationship with food long went unquestioned. She had concerns about her eating but struggled in silence for years. She didn’t yet have the language to name her disordered eating, often describing her anxiety and stress more generally instead. She faced barriers getting help in college—a stressful environment already—but only found lasting support after an interaction at church. A person of faith, Kelsey turned to her pastor, who told her that her illness required professional support. Prayers alone would not heal her. After being connected with new resources, she says she became honest with her secrets with her family and made a “no more lying” rule with her parents. Her sister and niece were also strong motivations to help her recover and to model and practice body positivity. Kelsey leaves us with insight and hope for college students, people of faith, or anyone struggling with an eating disorder. 

September 30, 2021

How to Help Children Develop Positive Body Image

While the United States is making strides in eating disorder representation, education, and advocacy, there is still so much work to be done. Educating ourselves on eating disorders is essential in spotting the signs in ourselves and in others. Because of this, it is of the utmost importance that parents understand the environmental risks for eating disorders in their children, including the unrealistic body ideals that are often pushed in the media. 

There are three factors that contribute to an individual getting an eating disorder: biological, psychological, and environmental. Although environmental factors are not the only factors contributing to the development of an eating disorder, it is one type we can protect against. While we cannot shield our children from the negative messages they may receive or the impossible beauty standards idealized in our culture, we can create a home environment that includes education on eating disorders, the celebration of body diversity, and praising each other for our traits and our accomplishments unrelated to appearance. Below are five ways to help protect the next generation against the environmental factors that contribute to eating disorders.

September 28, 2021

Eating Disorders in Adolescents

For parents, it can be frightening and taxing to discover your child may have an eating disorder. This blog breaks down eating disorders in adolescents, including warning signs, contributing factors, health consequences, and ways to support those affected.

February 1, 2021

Episode 45: An Eating Disorder’s Impact on Siblings with Jaeden Luke & Kianna Garmanian

Episode description:

Jaeden Luke is a singer-songwriter who wrote the single “Beautiful” for his older sister Kianna, who experienced and fully recovered from an eating disorder. Kianna is a graduate of St. Martin’s University, a young adult group ministry leader, and the author of a forthcoming book about her healing journey, The Cross That Set Me Free.

Jaeden and Kianna join us in this Peace Meal episode to explore the sibling experience of eating disorders. The brother and sister pair recall how Kianna’s eating disorder impacted their relationship as well as how their relationship—and “Beautiful”—helped her heal.