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This is EDTC’s submission to the yearly contest IMAGINE ME for the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals –iaedp:

Much like the universe is in constant expansion, recovery is an expansion of awareness and understanding of oneself. Our mannequin draws inspiration from Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” which was painted in a time of adversity while he was in a mental hospital. In his painting, the sky is not photorealistic, but still captivating and expressive in its uniqueness.

Our piece also features our take of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” which we used to symbolize breaking out of the perfect porcelain mask and choosing instead to allow ourselves emotions, even if they’re not sparkling smiles. We also explored the silent scream of Eating Disorders – a scream for help and scream to silence the critical voice inside.

On the backside of the mannequin, we explored the concept of space to challenge perspective. In recovery, we learn the truth that we are so much more than a thin, flimsy mannequin. The world is much bigger than the body/food focus world we have lived in within our heads. Our lives / our world contains a whole universe that’s just waiting to be explored!

Our artistic medium of choice was acrylic paint and nail polish, which allowed us the opportunity to exercise creativity, work with the fluidity of the paint. In our medium choice, we wanted to keep it simple to express that beauty isn’t as complicated as the world makes it seem. The variety of colors symbolizes the many things we go through in life – the dull moments and the bright ones, the losses, the victories, and the hope. Imagining beyond what you can see requires breaking rigid norms and learning to live without the cage of expectation and perfection, allowing yourself the space to be yourself, and affirming the multifaceted, imperfect beauty of your own unique humanity.

Contribution by Cyd Davis-Hubler, Art Therapist

The post Imagine Me appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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While the title of this blog may seem dramatic to some, it is not.

We work with parents of teens with Eating Disorders. We are amazed at the dedication, commitment, and humility it takes for a parent to walk in the door of EDTC with their child. For many, it is a big sacrifice of time, work, money and ego to undertake the task of engaging in treatment. It isn’t easy. Yet, it is well worth all of it.

Here is what we experienced over the years of treating eating disorders.

Family-Based Treatment

Research tells us that for teens with Eating Disorders, Family-Based Treatment is the most effective, in the short- and long-term. It reassures parents and teens to hear this truth, “it’s not your fault”.

Blame games

Too often families (and sometimes professionals) play the “blame game” in an attempt to understand how the illness started. And it never helps.

You don’t need to know why

Another thing experience has demonstrated – it isn’t necessary to know all the “why’s or how’s” of this illness to treat it.

Eating Disorders Treatment Center in Albuqerque

At EDTC, we work to change what doesn’t work into a recovery process that does.

We help parents to nourish their child, on many levels. We teach care and re-feeding. We offer coaching to patients and families while moving through the stages of recovery. We address concerns that parents have about “forcing their child to engage in treatment they don’t want” by offering support and teaching them about setting helpful boundaries.

We have experienced the myriad ways the illness works to disconnect the family. This illness thrives on disconnection and isolation. We encourage and support you all through the process of increased communication.

We need you as much as you may need us. It is our goal to work together, as a treatment team partnership, to cure your family of the Eating Disorder illness and thrive.

Ann Flosdorf, Director of PHP

The post If you are a parent of a child with an Eating Disorder – We need your help! appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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Several years ago, I lost my 17-year old son in a car accident.  After the passing of someone you dearly love, you often start to look at life in a new way. I questioned my own life and questioned if I was living my life to its fullest?

I began to look at how much of my life was wasted in fear of things that never happen and negative thoughts that keep me stuck. I could have chosen to stay stuck on the ground and robbed of joy, peace and happiness, but instead, I began to work on recovery. The hot air balloon became a metaphor of taking flight rising above life on the ground (stuck in my head and negative thoughts).

As I rise above the ground in my hot air balloon (I rise above my thoughts), things look much smaller and less threatening up in the sky.  I caught a glimpse of a bigger picture and solutions/possible pathways. My hot air balloon became a recovery therapy tool. I put my negative thoughts in the basket of my balloon and send them skyward, letting them go. Because we never know how short life can be, I work at my recovery to be healthy, free and live life to its fullest.

Contributed by Cyd Davis-Hubler, Art Therapist at EDTC

The post Art Therapy and the Hot Air Balloon Metaphor for Overcoming Negative Thoughts and finding meaning in life appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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Every few years or so it seems like another major nutrient is completely blamed for destroying our health. In the 90’s, fat became synonymous with heart disease and every manufacturer started rolling out the fat-free options, usually substituting added sugars so that people could tolerate the taste. We now know, of course, that fat is essential to good health and that striking the right balance between types is what is important. So for now, fat is once again in our good graces.

Today, it is carbohydrates that are under attack. From crazy diets that exclude them completely to well-meaning medical professionals who can’t find the truth amongst the mythology, it seems that everyone is vilifying an entire class of nutrients, which I’m sure you can guess is completely bonkers.

While budgeting for the appropriate amount of sweets and added sugars is important, carbs as a whole are absolutely essential to a well-balanced diet. They do not cause weight gain. In fact, a gram of carbohydrate has the exact same calories as a gram of protein, arguably the most celebrated nutrient of the moment. Furthermore, carbs are critical to many important bodily functions. The brain, for one, can ONLY run on carbohydrates. There’s a reason you feel foggy when you don’t eat them. Also, carbs literally make us happy, helping regulate serotonin and other important mood lifting chemicals in our bodies.

Different carbs offer different nutrition super powers. Focusing on eating whole grains and fruit is a healthy habit to get into, at least at a certain point in your recovery, and fun foods and dessert comprised of simple sugars are best eaten in moderation. At the end of the day, even a brownie (aka “junk food”) can be good for you if it makes you happy!

So, the next time you hear someone bragging about how they haven’t had a carb in weeks, just know that what they’re really saying is that they’ve fallen for the biggest nutrition myth of the day and rest easy knowing that your mind and body are running on the carbohydrate-fueled truth.

by Rick Elliott, Nutritional Consultant

The post Nutrition Myth Busters #1 – Carbohydrates Are Bad for You appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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We are rarely afforded the opportunity to forget which holiday will be coming next: Halloween costumes are replaced by Christmas trees and Christmas trees become an aisle of Valentine’s Day candy overnight. When you are trying to recover from an eating disorder, Valentine’s Day might be somewhere at the bottom of your holiday list, due to its emphasis on coupledom, chocolate and the date night of the year.

What’s a recovery-focused person, or even a single person to do?

Our hope for those in recovery is to find room on Valentine’s Day for self-love. Eating disorders thrive on self-loathing in some form, after all. The voice that fuels an eating disorder does not send love letters to its sufferers. Instead, an eating disorder would have you think that you are lazy, fat, stupid, ineffective or any other host of judgmental adjectives. The very idea of self-love through the lens of an eating disorder becomes twisted into selfishness or worse. Eating disorders are not maintained through love, but by the idea that we are inherently flawed.

Ask yourself a couple questions that will help you nurture and love yourself:

What is my hope for self-love in recovery? How can I sweeten my life or romance myself? Now go get the most beautiful Valentines card you can find and write yourself the love note you always wanted to receive – don’t be shy!

You deserve every bit of it, just because you get up and do you, every day. Take a step back from the aisles of red foil boxes and decide what you would like Valentine’s Day to be about.

Much love from all of us at EDTC!

Alayna Orozco, LPCC, CEDS

The post Practice Self-Love this Valentines Day! appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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Holly recorded this video at the ieadp Foundation in March 2016.
It contains helpful information about role-playing and how to facilitate healthy communication.

Finlay - YouTube

The post Role Playing to Facilitate Healthy Communication appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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I recently watched the Netflix movie that has created a lot of “buzz” with many of us working to help people with an eating disorder.

The movie did a good job portraying the condition of anorexia nervosa in a way that kept the viewers’ attention, and even elicited a few smiles despite the seriousness of the subject. It also clearly mentioned several times the awful consequences that all too often can happen when patients resist treatment.

However, though realistic in its portrayal of the condition itself, I was struck by the failure of the movie to show an understanding of effective treatment for eating disorders in general, and for showing bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder as bit players in the tragedy. In actuality, more people suffer with bulimia and binge eating disorder, while anorexia nervosa is less common. The movie focused mainly on the condition, and only superficially and unrealistically portrayed the treatment which presumably led to a path of recovery.

The movie portrayed the highly dysfunctional, even toxic, family of Ellen, the protagonist, implying the family dynamics were the cause of the problem. It is true that people with eating disorders often do come from polarized families in which there is a father who is controlling and authoritarian, and a mother who is passive and somewhat childlike, or perhaps narcissistic and neglectful. Conversely, sometimes the mother is both controlling and enmeshed with the daughter, and the father is a fleeting apparition, orbiting well outside the family circle. However, it is simplistic to imply that the family dynamics alone cause the illness.

Ellen’s family certainly followed those stereotypical dynamics. Her biological mother seemed somewhat helpless and childlike, falling apart and needing to be parented herself, with her new partner portraying the more dominant and stable presence in the couple-ship.

Susan, Ellen’s step-mother, occupied the role of mother and father in Ellen’s home. Although it seemed she was well-meaning and did care about Ellen, she was often controlling, critical, and frustrated with Ellen’s illness. It was she who finagled a way for Ellen to be accepted into the highly sought-after treatment program after Ellen had been booted from other programs. All of this was believable since often it is one parent who tries so hard to “make” the child well while acting as a stand-in for the absent parent.

Though he was often referenced, Ellen’s father wasn’t seen in person at all in the entire movie, which did not go unnoticed by both Ellen and her half-sister, and clearly was resented by both girls. The story’s implication was that Ellen was acting out in response to her father’s neglect, and her biological mother’s abandonment. In real life though, it is never just that simple. Eating disorders are a bio-psychosocial illness and many factors come together to create a perfect storm made manifest in the illness.

Ironically, Threshold (the treatment program) seemed to parallel the family dynamics. Keanu Reeves was portrayed as a workaholic physician who avoided intimacy by his own admission, rarely making a meaningful appearance in Ellen’s therapeutic treatment, yet appearing as the be-all-end-all super doc.

In keeping with the parallel theme, the female group therapist and the live-in Mental Health Worker provided the most consistency and support for the patients.

As is often the case in real life, Ellen’s sister, and her peer in treatment, Luke, were the most supportive characters in the movie. However, in treatment, Luke and Ellen were permitted to pair-up which caused difficulties for the other patients, and would never be allowed to happen in a properly run treatment program.

To someone who has devoted a lifetime to treating eating disorders, the movie was frustrating to watch. While the movie portrayed common behaviors and symptoms of advanced anorexia nervosa and implied just how or perhaps why neglected, gifted, and/or perfectionistic young people could develop an eating disorder, the therapy was simplistic, nearly non-existent. The treatment center setting was a re-creation of Ellen’s original familial situation. In addition, the lack of structured meals mimicked Ellen’s family meals including allowing other members to fill in as food-cops. We saw polarization, splitting, parentification, and unstructured meals, none of which leads to recovery.

Treatment of anorexia nervosa involves a structured approach, with therapeutic support rather than parentification. Recovery is possible, and it doesn’t necessarily have to happen after the sufferer hits rock bottom or has an out of body experience that allows him/or her to see just how close to death he or she may be.

At EDTC, we individualize treatment with a comprehensive program of therapy and nutritional rehabilitation to enable our clients to change and thrive in a safe, warm, and healthy environment – which is what everyone deserves on the journey to recovery.

Holly Finlay, Founder/Clinical Director EDTC

For more information contact EDTC 505-266-6121

The post ‘To the Bone’ Movie: Adding Insult to Injury appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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Parents are getting ready for their children’s re-entry to school. Back-to- School sales abound. Primary Care Physician and Pediatrician Offices are full of young folks getting their annual physicals and immunizations.

While you’re checking in with patients’ weight, height and BMI, be sure to ask about changes in eating habits. This is a good time to check in with potential Eating Disorder Screening Questions. Every year, the age of young girls and boys decreases where Eating Disordered Behaviors are concerned.

The latest statistics for pre-teens with full-blown Eating Disorders is staggering! Research indicates that there are about 3% of this age group (8-12) that have a diagnosable Eating Disorder.

Although anorexia nervosa typically appears during adolescence, a disturbing number of cases have been appearing in young children as early as age 7 or 8. In young children, eating disorders are often associated with depression as well as obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Here are five questions to ask:

  1. Ask for a 24-hour recall of food eaten (verified by a parent).
  2. How do you feel about eating meat/dessert/bread/dairy products?
  3. If you could change your body what would you change?
  4. Does anyone tease you about your appearance?
  5. How much physical activity do you get in a week?

Did you know that EDTC in Albuquerque has the most Credentialed Eating Disorder Specialists and Dietitian in all of NM? We also have Higher Level of Care Programs for all the Eating Disorders. We have been in the Eating Disorders Treatment business for over 100 years (combining the years of experience of our current clinical staff)!

We are opening an IOP for pre-teens, another first for this area.

So, while you’re doing those Back-to-School check-ups, remember that being of healthy body for school is also about having a healthy mind. Nourishment with food is the first order of treatment for young people with Eating Disorders.

We are here to help, feel free to call us!

Contributed by Ann Flosdorf, Clinical Director of IOP and PHP

References:

Eating Disorders Diagnoses That Are Commonly Seen in Young Children: (Defined by DSM-5)

  • Avoidant/ Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID): Lack of interest in food, limited diet due to sensory issues, or food refusal related to fears of aversive experiences (choking, vomiting)
  • Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorder (OSFED)Dysregulated eating that does not fit all diagnostic criteria of AN, BN, or BED
  • Anorexia Nervosa (AN)Significantly low body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, distorted body image, and persistent behavior that interferes with weight gain. (Many children meet these criteria except fear of weight gain and/or distorted body image and may be diagnosed with OSFED.)

The post 5 Questions to Ask When You Do Your Back to School Check-ups! appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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1. Anxiety: Yoga has been known to help reduce anxiety and calm the central nervous system. Practicing yoga teaches one to control their breath which in turn calms the mind. When the mind is calm and focused on a single task such as breathing, outside worries, anxieties, and stresses become reduced. Eating disorders are often coupled with anxiety disorders so practicing yoga can be a helpful tool to use outside of treatment to help reduce anxiety.

2. Digestion: Certain yoga poses help with digestion and absorption. Gentle twisting and compressing of the internal organs can help the digestive system move through any blockages, increase absorption, and decrease constipation. Incorporating gentle exercise and movement in eating disorder treatment is important for blood flow and digestion as it may have been impaired from eating disordered behaviors. It’s known that eating disorder behaviors cause distress to the digestive tract and having a regular yoga routine can ease some of the symptoms of these behaviors.

3. Mind-Body Connection: Practicing yoga regularly can help redefine one’s relationship with their body. It can help make the body a safer place to be. Learning to accept one’s body can improve body image distortions. Eating disorder patients often struggle with connecting to their body and yoga can reconnect the mind and body in a safe, non-threatening way. Patients can experience what their body feels like when they move it, how to position their bodies into uncomfortable poses, and how to accept where they are that given day. Working towards recovery includes getting more in touch with the mind-body connection and yoga is a gentle way to bridge this connection.

Post by Sydney George, Nutrition Consultant, and Yoga Teacher

The post 3 Benefits of Yoga in Eating Disorders appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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Working in the trenches has taught us all this: work life happiness directly affects patient care in a proportional way. Great teamwork in Eating Disorders recovery, or any recovery for that matter, allows this to happen. The inspiration for this post comes from the photo attached. We teach patients to focus on the positive and affirm successes, no matter how small. Our staff does the same for each other. We do, in fact, practice what we preach!

Eating disorders are challenging for the people and families who struggle with them, and the doctors and therapists who treat them.

The challenge is … to get well and to move on to build a meaningful and enjoyable life.

Right here in Albuquerque, the Eating Disorders Treatment Center offers the most Certified Eating Disorders Specialists in New Mexico, all in one place.  Since 2011, more than 800 individuals have been treated here at the EDTC.

Our founding Clinical Director is now President of the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals – and she’s right here in Albuquerque!

In my 35 years as a Clinical Social Worker, I have worked at many different facilities/agencies/practices … and the EDTC is by far the best place I’ve had the pleasure to hang my hat.  The staff here is friendly, warm and compassionate – everyone here loves this work.  Those dealing with eating disorders know that they are truly cared for – and that’s the best context for doing the work needed to move past the eating disorder and into a more satisfying life.

Here are the facts:  The EDTC staff is a team – we have each other’s backs – and we communicate effectively, constantly learning from our patients and their doctors and families.  We’ve added two Higher Level of Care programs in the last 16 months to meet the needs we’ve identified in our community:  both the Binge Eating Disorder Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) and the Partial Hospital Program (PHP) fit neatly with our other programs to help us successfully treat several different eating disorders, as well as co-occurring illnesses like PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse problems.

Just as we teach freshly-minted physicians about eating disorders (something they don’t learn much about in school), we also regularly host Interns from several colleges and universities to learn the most up-to-date treatment, backed up by clinical research, and we are on a constant search to improve eating disorders’ treatment outcomes.

Working with eating disorders sufferers is our mission here.  We all hold each other up, so we can hold, for our patients, this sacred space where they can work on successful recovery.  This is truly a special place to heal!

Post by Ann Flosdorf, Clinical Director

The post The EDTC is a great place to work. Here’s why that matters to YOU! appeared first on Eating Disorders Treatment Center.

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