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Having a child that is struggling with an eating disorder can be concerning — it’s difficult to witness the impact an eating disorder has on your child’s well-being. The worry over your child’s mental, emotional, and physical health can feel overwhelming, but there is hope.

Here are five hopeful messages for concerned parents of eating disorder sufferers:

  1. Being involved in your child’s treatment is the best thing you can do. Research consistently finds that parental involvement in a child’s eating disorder treatment can increase chances of recovery. Parent involvement may vary based upon your child’s age and developmental needs. Some forms of treatment, like Family-Based Treatment (FBT), which is also referred to as the “Maudsley Method,” requires high parental involvement. In FBT, parents are to temporarily take control of the child’s eating and monitor for disordered eating behaviors until a healthy weight and regular eating patterns are established. Other approaches include family therapy, in order for the family system to receive support, and multifamily psychoeducational groups, which help family members understand eating disorders and learn about valuable coping skills. There are many ways for you to be involved in your child’s treatment, but the evidence is clear — family involvement supports recovery.
  2. Your child’s eating disorder is not your fault. Eating disorders are complex and develop due to a myriad of overlapping reasons including environmental (like our cultural preference for thin bodies), social (like childhood teasing and bullying due to weight), psychological (like having perfectionistic tendencies), and biological factors (for example, having biological predispositions that make one more vulnerable to disordered eating). Eating disorders develop differently for each person who’s affected. While there are things that parents can do to support their children, there is nothing that parents can do that guarantee prevention of an eating disorder.
  3. Express compassion and understanding — for your child and for yourself. Eating disorder recovery is a complicated process — not only for the child who is struggling with an eating disorder, but also for siblings, other close family members, and especially for parents. Eating disorders can be downright scary for many valid reasons. Parents and family members can see how the eating disorder negatively impacts the struggling child’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Recognizing and acknowledging these challenges for all those who are affected can go a long way. This includes validating others’ emotions — expressing, out loud, an understanding of the other person’s experience. It’s equally important to hold compassion for yourself as a parent, too.
  4. Stay the course. As a parent, it can be helpful to maintain perspective on the big picture — keep your child’s long-term health and well-being in mind. This may look like insisting on a medical check-up and evaluation by an eating disorder expert, even if your child doesn’t think it’s necessary, and communicating with your child’s treatment team. This may also be reminding your child that life will be there once they are stable in their recovery — summer camps, vacations, extracurricular activities, sports, school, and life will not only be there but will likely be more rewarding, once they are stable. When making treatment decisions, remember that recovery comes first. Everything else can wait.
  5. Full recovery is possible. Research and clinical experience repeatedly show that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Recovery outcomes improve significantly with early intervention. Seeking treatment within the first 1-3 years of onset of illness can significantly impact prognosis and chances for recovery. One study, conducted by Reas and colleagues (2010), followed individuals struggling with bulimia nervosa and found that those who received treatment within the first 5 years of their illness had a recovery rate of 80%. The patients who waited more than 15 years after their symptoms began to get treatment, experienced recovery rates closer to 20%.

It is without a doubt that having a child who is suffering from an eating disorder is concerning. For most people struggling with an eating disorder, recovery goes through several stages and is characterized by steps forward and steps back. It is important to remember, however, that full recovery is possible.

Sources:

  1. National Eating Disorders Association. Parent Toolkit. Retrieved from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/sites/default/files/Toolkits/ParentToolkit.pdf. Accessed 16 May 2019.
  2. Reas, D. L., Williamson, D. A., Martin, C. K. and Zucker, N. L. (2000), Duration of illness predicts outcome for bulimia nervosa: A long‐term follow‐up study. Int. J. Eat. Disord., 27: 428-434. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1098-108X(200005)27:4<428::AID-EAT7>3.0.CO;2-Y
  3. National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (UK). (2014). Eating Disorders: Core Interventions in the Treatment and Management of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders. NICE Clinical Guidelines, No. 9. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK49318/.

About the Author:

Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups primarily from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) framework.

She has extensive experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at ThriveCounselingAustin.com.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 20, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 20, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post Hope for Concerned Parents of Eating Disorder Sufferers appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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Talking to a teen about pursuing treatment for anorexia can be challenging. Often, the first people to become aware of a teen’s struggle with anorexia are their parents, teachers, coaches, or friends.

When thinking about talking to the teen and encouraging them to pursue treatment, an emotionally charged conversation is often anticipated. Being prepared can make this conversation easier.

Here are five tips when talking to a teen about pursuing treatment for anorexia:

  1. Prepare resources. Understand that the teen may not be fully aware of the disordered eating patterns. Gather resources and have them available when you approach the teen. Any literature about anorexia or where to go for help may help them identify that they are struggling. Also, in the case that they may have some awareness of their struggles, you are providing them with resources they may not know were available to them.
  2. Express caring concern. Find a good time to talk to the teen. Speak to them privately and allow for adequate time to talk openly and honestly. In a caring and non-confrontational way, communicate to the teen that you are very concerned about them. Calmly tell them the specific observations that you have noticed and are a cause of your concern. Focus on eating or exercise behaviors that you have noticed or other concerns. Some examples include withdrawing or isolating from others, seeming like they may be feeling down or stressed, food that you saw hidden in their room. Avoid using words that would define the teen’s physical appearance. Words such as “thin,” “skinny,” or “sickly” may define the exact body type that they are trying to attain and unintentionally reinforce the disordered eating.
  3. Listen. Allow the teen time to respond to your concerns. Listen carefully and in a nonjudgmental and open manner. Listening is very important in this process. Face the teen, maintain eye contact, and an open posture. Avoid conflicts or a battle of wills with the teen. If the teen refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem or any reason for you to be concerned, restate your feelings calmly and the reasons for them and leave yourself open and available as a supportive listener.
  4. Validate and encourage. Summarize what you have heard them say, and tell the teen that because of what you’ve observed, you think they may be struggling with eating, body image, or exercise. Restate your concern about their health and well-being if needed. Explain that you believe these things may indicate that there could be a problem that needs professional attention. Ask the teen to explore these concerns with a therapist, doctor, or nutritionist who is knowledgeable about disordered eating.
  5. Leave with an action step — get help and support. Have an action step in mind and share it with the teen. If you feel comfortable doing so, offer to help the teen make an appointment or to accompany them on their first visit. Avoid placing shame, blame, or guilt on the teen regarding their actions or attitudes. Do not use accusatory “you” statements like, “You just need to eat.” Or, “You are acting irresponsibly.” Instead, use “I” statements. For example: “I’m concerned about you because you refuse to eat breakfast or lunch.” Or, “It makes me afraid to hear you vomiting.” Avoid giving simple solutions. For example, “If you’d just stop, then everything would be fine!”

Highlight the importance of talking with a trusted adult or medical professional. For example, an eating disorder specialist, doctor, school counselor or nurse, parent, or clergy. This is likely to be a challenging time for both of you. It could be helpful for you, as well as the teen, to discuss your concerns and seek support and assistance from a professional who specializes in disordered eating.

Problems that are particularly troubling and warrant immediately seeking help include: if the teen is binging and purging several times throughout the day, passes out or complains of chest pains, complains of severe stomachaches or vomiting blood, or has thoughts of harming themselves or suicide.

Encouraging a teen to pursue treatment for anorexia is challenging; however, having this tough conversation is in the best interest of the teen who is struggling. It is crucial for them to get adequate support and treatment so that they can fully recover.

Resources:

  1. National Eating Disorders Association www.nationaleatingdisorders.org
  2. Fielder-Jenks, Chelsea. (Feb 2, 2018). Thrive Counseling & Consulting Blog. NEDA Awareness Week: How to Help Someone with an Eating Disorder. Retrieved from: https://thrivecounselingaustin.com/blog/2018/2/27/neda-awareness-week-how-to-help-someone-with-an-eating-disorder

About the Author:

Chelsea Fielder-Jenks, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice in Austin, Texas. Chelsea works with individuals, families, and groups primarily from a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) framework.

She has extensive experience working with adolescents, families, and adults who struggle with eating, substance use, and various co-occurring mental health disorders. You can learn more about Chelsea and her private practice at ThriveCounselingAustin.com.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 17, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 17, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post Talking to Our Teens About Pursuing Treatment for Anorexia appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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Amanda Schlitzer Tierney, MS, CSCS – Strength and Conditioning Coach at The Victory Program at McCallum Place

Dear Track and Cross-Country Runners,

To the competitors at the height of your career, retired recreational runners and the aspiring runners seeking mentorship, guidance, and inspiration…I see you, I hear you, and I am with you.

Throughout the years in my role as an eating disorder informed/sensitive strength and conditioning coach, I have listened to countless stories of runners in all seasons of life. The common theme stringing each athlete together is their infinite adoration for embracing the freedom and adventure that comes with lacing up a pair of sneakers. Each runner expressed the great community they entered through embracing the thrill of athletic competition, striving toward a variety of personal and team triumphs, and the joyful exploration of this world, by foot.

Unfortunately, every runner that I have worked with, in the context of eating disorder treatment, has devastatingly faced the gripping and raw experience of the love, joy, and passion for running being stripped away from their hearts due to the manipulative and alluring comfort that the eating disorder provides them.

I write to you, today, not as a voice of authority – but as an empathetic and non-judgmental ally towards your athletic and life aspirations.

Please know that I understand that disordered eating and exercise patterns are, quite literally, running rampant in your athletic environments. I know the pressure and request to be “lean and mean” or “thinner to be the winner” are very real. Motivated to decrease the measurements on stopwatches and uniform sizes, defining worth, all the while being applauded for a strong work ethic and dedication to the sport. I truly understand that these messages and our sport’s culture can lead you down a painful path of comparisons, negative self-talk, and eating or exercising in an unbalanced way in order to manipulate your weight or body composition…to fit someone else’s idyllic expectations.

I am fully aware that wanting to spend extra time and energy, developing your athletic talents, abilities, endurance, speed, and significance can morph into a narrow place where one solely focuses on crafting a perfect outcome rather than striving for joyfulness in athletic excellence. I, recurrently, watch this mindset swiftly lead runners to a place of resentment and loss of passion for the very endeavor that once brought them true joy, while stealing their focus, strength, and overall well-being.

Amanda Schlitzer Tierney: Elite Athletes & Anorexia Nervosa What Coaches, Trainers, Administrators - YouTube

Attempting to gain a competitive advantage through enduring a state of energy deficiency ends up creating more baggage to run with. Without proper nourishment, sport performance will inevitably decline. Under-fueling is simply not sustainable.

When we neglect to give our bodies’ suitable nourishment, hydration and rest we hold back our performance potential and are actually working against our body, instead of with it! Nurturing our bodies and minds not only gives us what we need for our optimal performance but also our lives beyond sport! It’s an absolute gift to watch runners as they rediscover the opportunities, flexibility, and freedom in life and sport, once adequately nourished, hydrated, rested, and focused on the life beyond this narrow and painful trail.

Understandably, it can be intimidating to take the next step and seek treatment for unbalanced eating and exercise patterns. I recognize the concern about perceived changes to body composition, athletic performance, and sport future. I am aware that there is a fear associated with a decrease in training intensity, volume, and frequency. The vulnerability and perseverance needed to heal from a metabolic injury can feel overwhelming. I empathize and truly have hope that you can navigate these challenges as you commit to taking the needed time off from running to heal your body and mind.

Being a runner provides you with the gift of important life lessons. If stuck on the dead-end path of inadequate food intake, unbalanced exercise, and self-defeating comparisons, you may miss them.

Please remember that not all strength is developed on the race course. Your true strength comes from within. Enjoy the journey. Remember the adventurous thrill that athletic competition brings. Marvel at the wonders that your body is capable of. Celebrate with joy during your winning seasons. Sit, learn, and reflect during the seasons that bring setbacks, disappointments, and defeat. As a runner, you will absolutely encounter your share of obstacles. Find value in each experience.

There is absolutely hope when you feel stuck!

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The Eating Disorders in Sport Conference is a unique place to explore these challenges and will provide continuing education credits for psychologists, counselors, social workers, registered dietitians, athletic trainers and strength and conditioning coaches and will be held at the David Brower Center in beautiful downtown Berkeley, California.

My hope for you is that you may:

  • Seek out the support needed to cultivate healing in your athletic setting.
  • Advocate for your needs and overall well-being when the goodhearted supports in your life are not yet equipped with the knowledge to help you navigate this painful situation.
  • Find your voice!
  • Meet yourself where you are!
  • Challenge the desire of reaching for instant gratification and instead focus on your long-term health, happiness, and success.
  • Find the clarity to focus on other factors that contribute to sport performance beyond body weight and composition – (e.g. confidence, learning from mistakes, hard work, strength, flexibility, balance, rest, knowledge of the sport, etc.)
  • Keep running a sacred place: one filled with compassion, grace, creativity, and adventure. Tapping into these principles are a true strength and will help you cultivate your resilience and regain passion.
  • Get familiar with your values, talents, contributions, gifts, and quicks…Explore what energizes you!
  • Be loyal to your body, whole self, and unique experience.

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Just a reminder:

You are more than a track and cross-country runner. Your race times don’t wholly define you. They define your running abilities during that snapshot in time. You are more than your ranking, accomplishments, body composition and the outcome of yesterday’s training session. You have determination. You have passion. Your resilience is enduring. Working through these challenges will set you on a path to develop more mental toughness and grit than unbalanced exercise and eating patterns can ever provide to you! There is hope!

Happy Trails,
Amanda Schlitzer Tierney, MS, CSCS – Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Victory Program at McCallum Place

About the Sponsor:

McCallum Place is a nationally recognized eating disorder treatment center where professionals can help guide you through the process of treatment and recovery every step of the way. We operate treatment facilities in St. Louis, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas, that offers comprehensive medical, nutritional, and psychological care within the flexibility of several levels of treatment for adult men and women, adolescents, and elite athletes alike. We will work with you personally to create a treatment program that is right for you.

About the Author:

Amanda Schlitzer Tierney, MS, CSCS – Strength and Conditioning Coach at The Victory Program at McCallum Place

Amanda is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and holds her Master’s degree in Sport Science/ Exercise Psychology from Lock Haven University and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Chestnut Hill College. She is the Strength and Conditioning Coach for The Victory Program at McCallum Place and is the Owner/Founder of Discovering Balance: Fitness Coaching and Support.

Amanda is an affiliated professional of the Body Positive Fitness Alliance and is currently the Co-Chair of the Association for Applied Sports Psychology: Eating Disorder Special Interest Group. Amanda has been working with athletes and non-athletes with eating disorders since 2006. Over the years, Amanda gained a wide-range of knowledge for this specialized population and found her true passion: helping individuals incorporate balanced exercise into the recovery environment.

Amanda’s goal as a Strength and Conditioning Coach is working with individuals to help identify unhealthy exercise thoughts and behaviors and supporting them in redefining their relationship with fitness. She aims to help her patients find a balance between challenging the body and bringing the fun back to exercise. She encourages listening to one’s body cues and adequate fueling to maintain a healthy body and mind. Amanda’s target reaches beyond the patient and she strives to educate athletes, teams, coaches, parents, athletic trainers, and sport medicine personnel on how to work with this specialized population.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 16, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 16, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post A Letter to Track and Cross-Country Runners appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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The corporations and societal stigmas behind the perpetuation of the diet culture such as “grazing” are master manipulators, and one of their greatest tricks is posing diets as “lifestyle changes” or “anti-diets.”

If it looks like a diet, quacks like a diet, and involves restriction and encourages you to ignore the needs of your body like a diet, it is a diet.

All this is to say, the eating pattern of “grazing,” is a diet, and one that research is finding has the potential to manipulate and harm vulnerable individuals.

What is Grazing?

One study gave a well-rounded definition of “grazing” as “the unstructured, repetitive eating of small amounts of food over a longer time period, outside of planned meals and snacks and/or not in response to hunger or satiety sensations [1].”

The eating pattern was originally recommended for individuals struggling with reported obesity and “the majority of our current knowledge concerning the ‘grazing’ eating pattern has been derived from research concerning bariatric surgery in extreme obese populations [2].”

Now, it has become a fad diet, the common theory being that eating many small meals a day increases the metabolism by having it “work” more often throughout the day.

Grazing vs. Snacking & Binge Eating

In defining “grazing,” researchers were quick to differentiate it in comparison to snacking behaviors. Snacking is defined as “an eating episode in which the amount of food is known at the outset with some certainty, and which lacks a repetitious element [1].” Additionally, one study that importantly differentiates the two is that snacking is “a behavior associated with a positive outcome [2].”

Researchers also clarified the difference between grazing and binge eating, noting that “it (grazing) is differentiated from binge eating by its lack of discrete time limits, the relatively slow manner in which eating occurs, and the relatively small amounts of food at each intake [2].”

What’s the Harm?

To begin, the moment a person stops listening to the hunger and satiety cues of their body is the moment that they become vulnerable to dangerous forms of disordered eating. Grazing behaviors involve ignoring these responses in favor of following a pre-determined feeding schedule, as the definition specifies above, “not in response to hunger or satiety sensations [1].”

Many argue that, if caloric intake is the same, there is no harm in engaging in these behaviors. However, research indicates otherwise.

One study determined that grazing is “a clinically significant form of overeating that is associated with binge eating, weight gain and reduced treatment success for obesity [2].”

Additionally, while many engage in grazing after receiving bariatric surgery, studies show that 80% report still experiencing a loss of control over their eating while engaging in grazing behaviors post-operatively. This pattern is associated with “reduced post-operative success.”

Another university study focused on a young adult sample and found that “grazing was associated with shape and weight concern and a tendency to binge eat” as well as “negative affect and stress [1].”

This study also mentioned that grazing is a “habitual behavior, performed automatically in response to internal emotional states, and/or food-related cues in the environment.” These symptoms are also seen in Binge Eating Disorder [1].

Full disclosure, there are some studies that indicate grazing is not a problematic behavior for all samples. However, the above evidence shows how harmful it can be to ignore one’s daily and ever-changing body cues.

Resources:

1] Heriseanu, A. I., et al. (2017). Grazing in adults with obesity and eating disorders: a systematic review of associated clinician features and meta-analysis of prevalence. Clinical Psychology Review, 16-32.

[2] Lane, B., Szabo, M. (2013). Uncontrolled, repetitive eating of small amounts of food or ‘grazing:’ development and evaluation of a new measure of atypical eating. Behaviour Change, 30:2, 57-73.

About the Author: 

Margot Rittenhouse, MS, PLPC, NCC is a therapist who is passionate about providing mental health support to all in need and has worked with clients with substance abuse issues, eating disorders, domestic violence victims, and offenders, and severely mentally ill youth.

As a freelance writer for Eating Disorder Hope and Addiction Hope and a mentor with MentorConnect, Margot is a passionate eating disorder advocate, committed to de-stigmatizing these illnesses while showing support for those struggling through mentoring, writing, and volunteering. Margot has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Johns Hopkins University.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 15, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 15, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post Grazing & Disordered Eating appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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Contributor: Center for Hope of the Sierras Team at Center for Hope of the Sierras

The world of eating disorders is vast. With so many conditions, it can be difficult to find straightforward information on the common ones. To counteract that, we’ve listed Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge-Eating Disorder and Compulsive Overeating which are a few of the most common types of eating disorders and behaviors, along with their symptoms and information about treatment.

Common Types of Eating Disorders Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is one eating disorder that most people have heard of. People with anorexia often starve themselves in order to achieve an unattainable ideal of thinness. This condition, like many eating disorders, tends to affect more women than men.

People who are at risk for anorexia may be those who have been through abusive or traumatic experiences, have been bullied, have low self-esteem, live in a society that values thin people, and may already have mental health concerns. Conditions like anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression are often linked to anorexia.

Symptoms of anorexia can include:

  • Rapid and excessive weight loss
  • Eating very little or eating and purging
  • Being obsessed with keeping caloric intake low
  • Over-exercising
  • Drinking a lot of water to ease hunger pangs
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss
  • Developing a thin layer of hair across the body
  • Wearing a lot of layers even in hot weather
  • Constantly being “busy” at meal times

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People with anorexia experience obsessive-compulsive thoughts around food, eating, and weight. They think about food a lot, both about restricting food intake and often collecting recipes they may not use. They may also engage in purging behaviors or laxative abuse to attain a lower weight.

Long-term effects of anorexia can include infertility, organ damage, heart failure, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or attempts.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is characterized by eating large amounts of food rapidly and then purging in some way. This can include abusing laxatives, vomiting, and over-exercising.

As with anorexia nervosa, people most at risk for bulimia nervosa may be those who have a history of trauma or abuse, struggle with mental health issues, have low self-esteem, and/or are women living in thin-praising societies.

Symptoms of bulimia include:

  • Binge-eating
  • Overeating
  • Frequently using the bathroom right after eating
  • Avoiding eating in public
  • Discolored teeth and other dental problems
  • Bloating
  • Swelling around the cheeks or jaw
  • Weight fluctuations
  • Fainting
  • Poor impulse control
  • Mood swings

Long-term effects of bulimia can include heart attack, rectal prolapse, organ failure, self-harm, suicide attempts, and death.

Binge-Eating Disorder

This condition is similar to bulimia with one notable exception—there is no purging. Instead, a person feels unable to stop themselves from eating too much. Because of this, they gain weight and often move into the obese weight categories quickly.

People most at risk for developing binge-eating disorder may be those who have low self-esteem, a history of dieting, and a history of mental illness themselves or in their families.

While each person’s symptoms may vary, common signs of binge-eating disorder include:

  • Eating a large amount of food quickly
  • Continuing to eat when full
  • Eating alone or in secret
  • Dieting frequently, often to extremes
  • Failure to accomplish tasks or accomplish quality work at school or work
  • Obesity and related conditions (e.g., Type 2 diabetes)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Guilt over eating
  • Acting or seeming distracted

Long-term consequences of binge-eating disorder can include losing a social life, becoming isolated, having an upset stomach, losing jobs, failing classes, having suicidal ideations, or attempting suicide.

Compulsive Overeating

While compulsive overeating is not a clinical disorder, it is a common behavior associated with multiple eating disorders.

Symptoms include:

  • Eating more food than others in the same period of time
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Using unhealthy food to soothe uncomfortable emotions
  • Guilt over binge-eating
  • Lack of control over eating habits
  • Hoarding and hiding food
  • Weight fluctuations, particularly weight gain
  • Self-esteem and body image issues
  • Increased symptoms of depression

Long-term effects of compulsive overeating can include depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

Treatments

Eating disorders can be difficult to manage, and therefore require treatment that is specifically designed to address the specific symptom of the disorder. Developing a healthy relationship with food takes some time. Relapses happen. After all, we all have to eat daily as a means of survival.

Thankfully, there is help. A well-rounded, holistic approach has been shown to be most effective for treating eating disorders. Managing other existing mental disorders like anxiety can help ease the intensity of eating disorder symptoms.

Various forms of therapy, such as those that involve animals and art, can help, too. Lastly, meeting with other people who struggle with an eating disorder and learning that you’re not alone can make all the difference.

About Our Sponsor:

Center for Hope of the Sierras provides personalized eating disorder treatment for adolescents and adults age 14 and older. In addition to focused care for anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder, our services include specialized programming for individuals who have been struggling with diabulimia, or co-occurring Type 1 diabetes and an eating disorder. Treatment at Center for Hope incorporates an array of research-supported therapeutic methods and approaches, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and the intuitive eating philosophy. We place considerable emphasis on the development of productive therapeutic alliances, and we are committed to maintaining a safe, structured, and highly supportive environment for all who heal with us.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 14, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 14, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post Common Types of Eating Disorders and Behaviors appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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Contributor: Center for Hope of the Sierras Team at Center for Hope of the Sierras

In an era where teens are constantly bombarded with images of what they should look like and how they should portray themselves on social media, it’s natural to worry about them developing an eating disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 3 percent of teens struggle with some type of disordered eating. So, what are the signs that your teen may have an eating disorder?

The best thing to do if you’re concerned about your child is to educate yourself as much as possible. The more you know about eating disorders, the more you can help treat them early on. Working with your pediatrician can help you track changes in weight more easily. They’ll have great insight into what might be happening, too.

Here are some warning signs to watch for to determine if your teen may have an eating disorder:

Changes in eating habits

  • Not eating in front of others
  • Eating noticeably smaller or larger amounts than normal
  • Counting calories
  • Eating less of their favorite foods
  • Practicing new, picky eating habits
  • Heading to the bathroom right after eating
  • Possibly taking on a more restricted diet, such as vegetarianism or veganism

Body image

  • Makes disparaging and self-deprecating comments focused on appearance
  • Talks about being overweight
  • Starts wearing clothing several sizes too big to hide their body
  • Obsesses over small parts of their body they dislike (body dysmorphic disorder)

Other negative actions

  • A change in desire to go to the gym (whether that be in frequency or intensity)
  • Obsession with fitness and/or calorie trackers
  • Daily habits and choices that are centered around “burning off” calories
  • Limited interaction with others
  • Insomnia
  • Repeated weighing of self or focus on a scale
  • Increased interest in weight loss supplements, drinks, or “detox teas”
  • Use of laxatives

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Mental health

  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Memory issues
  • Difficulty maintaining a conversation

Body changes

  • GI issues
  • Fainting and dizziness
  • Increased dental issues
  • Catching illnesses like colds and the flu more easily
  • Hair thinning and falling out
  • Dry skin
  • Changes in skin color
  • Fatigue
  • Weight changes, especially quick ones
  • Increased infections and injuries
  • Complaints of being cold in warm environments
  • Constantly looks pale
  • Delay of period onset or disruption of menstruation cycle
  • Headaches
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Irregular and/or fast heartbeat

If more than a few of these situations sound familiar, it might be time to consider sitting down with your adolescent or teen and asking them what’s going on. If your teen might have an eating disorder, addressing the issue as soon as possible will help lead to a quicker recovery.

Approaching your teen

As difficult as it can be to suspect your child has an eating disorder, talking to them about it can be even harder. Many people with eating disorders deny that they are struggling. They might not even realize they have a problem.

Life as a teenager is full of a variety of changes. Peer pressure, combined with pressure from society and pop culture about what an ideal body looks like, weigh down all of us–especially adolescents and teens. Genetics can also influence someone’s likelihood of developing an eating disorder.

When you approach your teen with your concerns, don’t accuse them or place blame on them. Ask them about how they’re feeling and share that you’re worried. Focus on being a listener and confidant during this conversation.

Consider reading up on active listening and empathy skills before engaging with your teen. Above all, let your teen know that you’re here for them–no matter what. Remind them that their condition is no one’s fault. An eating disorder is an illness, and it can be managed with treatment.

Treatment

Ideally, treatment centers are set up holistically–to treat the whole person and not just the eating disorder. That means they often have people on hand to help manage medications and treat comorbidities. Additionally, they often have people well-versed in self-love, family dynamics, and spirituality.

There are a variety of different treatment options available. What your child needs will depend upon the particular eating disorder they have; the severity of the disorder; and the availability of local support.

Options include full or partial hospitalization and outpatient treatment. Types of therapy within these treatment settings can consist of dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), group therapy, family therapy, individual therapy, and even experimental therapy.

Looking forward

No matter what treatment your teen gets, relapses may happen. It’s important not to get too down about setbacks.

A person’s relationship with food isn’t easy to adjust, especially with disordered eating and mental health issues at play. Your teen may need more hands-on treatment than they initially receive, or need more support overall.

Your teen will need to work together closely not only with you but also with a slew of health care providers to have the best bet at recovery. Getting the right mix of support and education will be critical. Don’t be afraid to look into other providers or treatment centers.

As long as you work together as a family, your teen has a shot at a brighter future.

About Our Sponsor:

Center for Hope of the Sierras provides personalized eating disorder treatment for adolescents and adults age 14 and older. In addition to focused care for anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder, our services include specialized programming for individuals who have been struggling with diabulimia, or co-occurring Type 1 diabetes and an eating disorder. Treatment at Center for Hope incorporates an array of research-supported therapeutic methods and approaches, including dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and the intuitive eating philosophy. We place considerable emphasis on the development of productive therapeutic alliances, and we are committed to maintaining a safe, structured, and highly supportive environment for all who heal with us.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 13, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 13, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post Signs Your Teen Might Have an Eating Disorder appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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Contributor: Montecatini Team at Montecatini

If you’ve clicked on this article, it’s likely for a reason.

Perhaps you’re struggling with an already-diagnosed eating disorder and are concerned about a relapse. Maybe you’re unsure of whether or not you have an eating disorder.

Learning the symptoms of an eating disorder and showing concern are the first steps toward treatment.

There are a number of risk factors for developing an eating disorder. Some of the risk factors for eating disorders may include:

  • Stress
  • Young age (teens to 30)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poor body image
  • Being female
  • Personally having a mental illnes
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Having relatives with eating disorders
  • Easily succumbing to peer pressure

Having a family that pressures you about your weight is a risk factor, too. A history of traumatic events such as abuse or sexual assault can also increase your risk of developing an eating disorder. Add to this the fact that our society highly values thinness, and these factors can create the perfect environment for an eating disorder to develop.

While there isn’t much research yet, there is the possibility that being “different” in any way—for instance, having a chronic illness or disability—may increase the likelihood someone could develop an eating disorder. This may not be surprising, as those who are perceived as “different” may feel more pressure to conform.

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Symptoms of eating disorders can vary, depending on which ones you may be experiencing. That said, common symptoms of an eating disorder can include:

  • Constantly thinking about weight and/or food
  • Forcing yourself to vomit
  • Using laxatives frequently
  • Eating too little or not at all
  • Eating too much
  • Eating in secret
  • Boarding or hiding food
  • Working out excessively
  • Making negative comments about your weight despite what others sa
  • Obsessively weighing yourself
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Weakness
  • Feeling cold all the time, even in hot weather
  • Growing fine hair all over your body
  • Missing periods or having them stop completely
  • Struggling to concentrate
  • Confusion
  • Constantly counting calories
  • Mood swings
  • Increase in dental problems such as cavities
  • Fatigue, or being tired all the time
  • Being overly focused on how you look
  • Substance abuse
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Increased infections
  • Dehydration
  • Erratic heartbeat

Without adequate treatment for your eating disorder, you may experience some of the following short- and long-term effects:

  • Damage to relationships
  • Losing jobs or doing poorly in school
  • Weakened bones
  • Malnourishment
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Cavities and other dental problems
  • High cholesterol and blood pressure
  • High blood sugar
  • Infertility
  • Nerve damage
  • Slowed digestion
  • Heart disease
  • Organ damage
  • Ruptured organs
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)
  • Coma
  • Death

It’s okay if this hits home. If this information feels familiar to you, it might feel alarming.

The first thing you need to know is that this is not your fault. You didn’t do anything to bring this on. It’s neither a punishment nor a sign of weakness. An eating disorder is a complex medical condition and, like similar chronic illnesses, just happens to some of us.

What now?

If you feel you are developing an eating disorder, please remember that, since this is a complex medical condition, you will need help to heal. Eating disorders require a team of experienced providers. Teams can include dieticians, therapists, and physicians.

You can’t move toward healing if you’re still putting the needs of others above your own. You are worthy of the time, attention, and potential costs of treatment. There is no ideal time to seek help, but putting it off will never lead you toward treatment.

Next steps

If you feel that it’s time to seek help, there are places to turn.

Consider seeing your primary care physician. If you have one, a primary care doctor can be a great guide throughout the diagnosis and treatment process.

Both primary care providers and therapists may be able to help provide options for treatment centers. They may also have suggestions on which types of treatment might work best for you. Keep in mind, though, that they may not be trained in handling eating disorders. The sooner you begin the process to get officially diagnosed, the sooner you can work toward healing.

About Our Sponsor:

Montecatini offers treatment for women age 16 and older for a variety of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, orthorexia, and body dysmorphic disorder. Montecatini also provides co-occurring disorder treatment programs for patients who need care for both an eating disorder and another mental health disorder simultaneously. Located just three miles off the Pacific Coast in scenic Carlsbad, California, Montecatini features gorgeous views and offers premier eating disorder treatment. Depending on their specific needs, patients who come to Montecatini can engage in residential treatment, partial hospitalization programming, intensive outpatient programming, experiential therapies, and a state-of-the-art wellness center. Treatment for eating disorders is possible in the right environment and with intentional and compassionate staff. We invite you to experience our dynamic and vibrant healing community here at Montecatini.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 10, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 10, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post Signs You Might Have an Eating Disorder appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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Contributor: Emily Keehn, M. Ed., LPC – Dialectical Behavior Therapy Specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center

As temperatures warm up in the Midwest, coats and extra layers are discarded, and we eagerly welcome the feeling of the sun on our bare skin once again. Transitioning from clothes that protect us from the harsh winter elements to those that expose skin to the warm sunshine can also invite one to consider the relationship of body positivity and social norms based on dress and body image.

Social psychology research points to a correlation between self-awareness, self-perception and social interpretation, dress, and behavior. Simply, how we dress our bodies is a two-way street. How we perceive ourselves, how we dress ourselves and how we act is in some part connected to the direct and indirect information we receive from the environment.

A woman may knowingly dress in a way to send a message of body positivity and self-expression and can be told by others that her clothing is too revealing, thereby sending the message that her clothing and body positivity are inappropriate for the public eye.

It is intriguing to experience this phenomenon first hand both as a woman navigating concepts of self and as a therapist working to help women and adolescent girls work towards developing positive relationships with their bodies and self-expression. In both capacities, this inevitably includes an aspect of internal and external self-acceptance and self-awareness.

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It also necessitates acknowledging a painful component of reality: the world can be harsh, judgmental and often objectifies women and their bodies. As such, this becomes a true balancing act between the celebration of the body and observing the implicit and explicit limits that are woven into our culture regarding sex appeal, provocative attire, and body shaming.

Blending my personal observations and my work as a clinician, I find it helpful to approach these opposing truths through the lens of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), along with elements of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).

DBT is established on the concept that a dialectic is identified when two opposing truths exist at the same time. This theory encourages self-acceptance and self- expression while navigating an often invalidating environment that has its own rules regarding what is appropriate or expected.

ACT principles reinforce focusing on taking action guided by values and commitment toward living a meaningful life that inevitably has painful moments. Acknowledging these principles provides a clearer path toward dealing with this complicated issue.

Perhaps we can practice becoming more aware of our bodies: our legs, arms, stomach, chins, and noses. We can also acknowledge how our clothes fit and contour our bodies.

Additionally, we must also acknowledge the fact that there will always be moments that will invalidate, shame or guilt us into thinking that women need to dress a certain way regardless of the rising temperatures outside or that the messages we want to convey differ from the ones received.

If we can embrace that our concept of self can be portrayed through the clothes we wear and observe that public perception of body image and acceptance is complicated, we can become more flexible when we acknowledge the celebrated parts and the painful parts.

About Our Sponsor:

Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center provides quality, holistic care to women and adolescent girls ages 12 and older. We treat individuals struggling to overcome eating disorders, substance abuse, mood and anxiety disorders, trauma and post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD), and co-occurring disorders. Our campus is located on 43 wooded acres just outside Chicago. This peaceful setting offers an ideal environment for women and girls to focus on recovery.

About the Author:

Emily Keehn, M. Ed., LPC is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.

She earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology as well as a Graduate Certificate in Eating Disorders and Obesity from Northern Illinois University.

She was awarded a Master’s of Education in Community Counseling from DePaul University.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 9, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 9, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post Navigating Body Positivity and Social Norms During Seasonal Change appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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Contributor: Montecatini Team at Montecatini

Is there a relationship between having a disability and having an eating disorder? While there is little research into the co-occurrence of disability and eating disorders, that’s slowly changing. A study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institute of Mental Health in 2000 showed that women with physical disabilities were more likely to develop eating disorders.

Why?

It’s impossible to narrow down the cause of this phenomenon to just one thing. For some people, the pressure to conform after already feeling too “different” can take a toll. Others may be punishing their bodies for not being “normal” enough from the start.

Of course, there are also higher rates of traumatic and abusive experiences for people with disabilities than their peers. Research has already shown a strong link between traumatic experiences and eating disorders.

Other potential links include a disconnect between mind and body, a lack of healthy media representation, and control. Many people with disabilities feel they have no control over their bodies, including even what they’re able to do on a daily basis. Restricting eating can be a way to feel like you’re in control.

What types of conditions can influence eating disorders?

Many conditions involving the gastrointestinal tract may be related to higher incidences of eating disorders. Any GI condition can easily make it hard to eat—or want to eat. This could be due to a number of factors, including fear, pain, or other physical symptoms.

Gastroparesis, or slow digestion, can be both a symptom of and a possible link to eating disorders. This condition can lead to feeling full very quickly, making it difficult to eat very much.

Additionally, it can lead to bloating and pain. If someone experiences pain when they eat, it may be hard to get over pain avoidance techniques to get enough food in their body.

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Some conditions, such as Prader-Willi Syndrome, can lead to someone continuing to eat despite being full. This can lead to rapid weight gain. Other conditions, like autism, may lead to difficulty eating.

Autism can cause a host of other issues. For example, if touching or tasting food that has one particular type of texture is upsetting, this can lead to a lack of eating. Some people with autism may have an aversion to particular colors, tastes, or other food characteristics.

Many people with mental health conditions engage in very rigid and controlled behavior. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) may have to complete a compulsion, or ritual before they’re able to eat. Depending on what’s involved, these rituals might prove to be a barrier to meal time.

Conditions like anxiety, celiac disease, motility disorders, and more can even be mistaken for eating disorders prior to diagnosis. But, like others mentioned here, these conditions can also play influential roles in the development of eating disorders.

Treatment

For those who do develop an eating disorder, there is help. As with many other conditions, an eating disorder is a chronic illness that will always be there. However, with the right help, recovery is possible.

All it takes is finding the right provider and treatment center.

Treating co-occurring conditions

To get the best treatment, people should be working with treatment providers and centers that are familiar with both eating disorders and other conditions they may be facing simultaneously. For example, disorders like diabulimia require treatment under an endocrinologist due to this disorder’s being both an eating disorder and a chronic illness.

What to look for

If you or a loved one is dealing with an eating disorder in addition to another chronic illness, below are some factors to consider while looking for treatment:

  • Do you know what type(s) of eating disorder(s) with which you’re dealing? If not, consider making an appointment with your primary care doctor to explore that more.
  • Is this provider familiar with your chronic illnesses?
  • Does this provider have local connections to ensure that you have the best support system possible?
  • Can treatment for your eating disorder(s) coexist with treatment(s) for your other chronic illnesses?
    • If not, this is a very important issue to discuss with both your regular doctor(s) and providers at any treatment centers you’re considering evaluate.
  • Stay hopeful. Recovery isn’t always easy, but it can be done—especially with the right help.

About Our Sponsor:

Montecatini offers treatment for women age 16 and older for a variety of eating disorders, including anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder, orthorexia, and body dysmorphic disorder. Montecatini also provides co-occurring disorder treatment programs for patients who need care for both an eating disorder and another mental health disorder simultaneously. Located just three miles off the Pacific Coast in scenic Carlsbad, California, Montecatini features gorgeous views and offers premier eating disorder treatment. Depending on their specific needs, patients who come to Montecatini can engage in residential treatment, partial hospitalization programming, intensive outpatient programming, experiential therapies, and a state-of-the-art wellness center. Treatment for eating disorders is possible in the right environment and with intentional and compassionate staff. We invite you to experience our dynamic and vibrant healing community here at Montecatini.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 8, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 8, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post The Connection Between Disabilities and Eating Disorders appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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Contributed by Whitney Owens, MA, RMHCI with Canopy Cove

Attending college and being a part of the world of academia can be an exciting time in a student’s life. But when suffering from an eating disorder, many students face challenges they cannot overcome on their own. So How do you find the best eating disorder treatment center for a college student?

In a culture that is primarily focused on performance and success, the temptation can be to ignore symptoms and push through without asking for help. However, ignoring eating disorder symptoms is dangerous and can become life-threatening.

People usually seek a residential treatment program when their physical or emotional health has become severely compromised. When parents and caretakers begin to investigate treatment options for their college students, there are several factors to consider:

Ambivalence and Resistance

While some students are open to entering treatment, others may express ambivalence or outright resistance. This is a common response as it typically takes time for the seriousness of the eating disorder to sink in.

There is also a high correlation between eating disorders and perfectionism [1]. Perfectionism has been described as a trait with inflexible and excessively high standards, an overly critical evaluation of one’s behavior, and a belief that one’s self-worth is contingent on perfect performance [2].

As a result, these perfectionistic tendencies can make it especially painful to take a leave of absence from school. When treatment is being considered, it is essential for families and friends to come together in agreement that physical and emotional health must take priority over academic performance.

Types of Treatment

Though the tendency can be to focus on food, eating disorders are not about food. Yes, physical nourishment and nutritional education are a part of the treatment process. But, simply focusing on issues of food and weight distracts from underlying issues that allow the eating disorder cycle to continue [3].

Some eating disorder treatment centers focus solely on symptom management and weight restoration or maintenance. This type of treatment limits the level of healing that can occur in the treatment process.

An eating disorder serves many purposes, such as a way to cope with poor self-esteem, providing a sense of control, and suppressing emotions [3]. When identified, these underlying issues bring further insight and awareness into the purpose and cycle of the eating disorder. However, awareness alone will not make someone well.

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Working with a qualified mental health professional allows clients to integrate awareness with understanding and empowers them to make necessary changes. When researching treatment options, look for a treatment center that is accredited and whose treatment team is comprised of licensed, credentialed, and qualified professionals.

Experiential Therapies

Some underlying emotions cannot be easily identified or processed in a traditional office-based psychotherapy setting. Knowing the personality of your loved one may help you choose a treatment option that includes other therapeutic approaches.

Experiential therapy, such as art, music, body movement, and equine-assisted psychotherapy enhance the treatment process. These therapies encourage clients to deal with challenging emotions in a non-traditional environment.

Memories or triggers can be identified and processed in a safe environment such as an art studio, doing gentle stretches on a yoga mat, or in nature spending time with horses. The creative and grounding nature of these activities help clients connect to themselves and learn to navigate difficult emotions without using eating disorder behaviors to cope.

Family Work

To give your college student the best chance to succeed in their recovery, including family therapy in their treatment process is a necessary step. There may be instances when family therapy is not an option for a client due to legal situations or other concerns.

However, dysfunctional systems within the family and relational issues often play a role in the development of the eating disorder. Identifying these struggles and moving together towards healing is a crucial part of treatment.

Length of Stay

Most treatment centers recommend at least a 30-day length of stay, but sometimes a treatment team may recommend additional time to allow a client adequate opportunity to process and heal. College students may be eager to return to their studies or social lives.

But, they cannot succeed in their aspirations until they have the tools they need to live without the eating disorder. Rushing the treatment process can have a detrimental effect on a client’s level of functioning after discharge [4].

Step Down Programs

While in a treatment environment, clients can focus solely on their healing and recovery and are removed from many pressures of daily life. When the client has completed the residential portion of their treatment, some life stressors are reintroduced in a step-down program called a partial hospitalization program (PHP).

A PHP program allows clients an in-between time to practice the skills and tools they have learned while in residential treatment. Clients attend the program for part of the day and live independently using the skills and tools they have learned throughout the rest of the day. This time allows for necessary practice so that any remaining or new issues which may arise from facing stressors may be addressed.

Recovery is Possible

Eating disorder recovery takes hard work. It is not a simple process, but it is an incredibly worthwhile process. Choosing recovery will allow your college student to experience healing, embrace themselves and their emotions, explore their true passions, and develop the tools that will help them live a healthy and fulfilled life.

References:

[1] Claydon, E., & Zullig, K.J. (2019). Eating disorders and academic performance among college students. Journal of American College Health. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/07448481.2018.1549556.

[2] Swider, B., Harari, D., Breidenthal, A.P., & Steed, L.B. (2018) The pros and cons of perfectionism, according to research. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2018/12/the-pros-and-cons-of-perfectionism-according-to-research.

[3] Costin, C., & Grabb, G. S. Key 3: It’s not about the food. In 8 keys to recovery from an eating disorder (pp. 63-86). New York, NY; London: W.W. Norton & Company.

[4] Elmquist, J., Shorey, R.C., Anderson, S., & Stuart, G.L. Eating Disorder Symptoms and Length of Stay in Residential Treatment for Substance Abuse: A Brief Report. Journal of Dual Diagnosis,11(3-4), 233-237. doi: 10.1080/15504263.2015.1104480.

About Our Sponsor:

Canopy Cove Eating Disorder Treatment Center is a leading residential Eating Disorder Treatment Center with 25 years’ experience treating adults and teens who are seeking lasting recovery from Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating Disorder and other related eating disorders.

We are a licensed rehabilitative provider accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. Trusted and recommended by doctors and therapists throughout the country, our program provides clients with clinical excellence and compassionate care.

As one of the most experienced Eating Disorder Centers in the nation, we’ve developed a highly effective program that incorporates solid evidence-based therapies which have been shown to increase recovery rates.

  • Each person we treat receives a customized treatment plan tailored to their specific needs.
  • We increase recovery rates by simultaneously treating co-existing conditions such as anxiety, depression. (We also accept clients with an Eating Disorder and co-existing Diabetes).
  • We provide family education and family therapy throughout the recovery process. (Offered by phone for out of town families).
    Our Christian-based eating disorder treatment program warmly accepts all clients from various belief systems.

Get help now. Call 855-338-8620.
www.canopycove.com
info@CanopyCove.com

About the Author:

Whitney Owens, MA, RMHCI

Whitney Owens is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern with the state of Florida. She has been working with eating disorders in residential treatment for over two years at Canopy Cove in Tallahassee, FL. Whitney works with groups, individuals, and conducts family therapy. She is an EAGALA certified equine therapist and does equine therapy with clients at Canopy Cove. Before working with eating disorders Whitney worked with trauma, sexual abuse, grief and loss, and spiritual issues. In her free time, she enjoys riding horses, reading, playing tennis, studying cultures and languages, and listening to music and watching films.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on May 6, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on May 6, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Published on EatingDisorderHope.com

The post How to Choose an Eating Disorder Treatment Center: What is Best for My College Student? appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.

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