Posts Tagged ‘For Providers’

Eating Disorders 101

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Eating disorders are real, complex illnesses that can cause serious harm. Eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in an individual’s eating and food behaviors or self-perception. Common warning signs of eating disorders are extreme weight changes, altered eating behaviors, or an intense fixation on food and body talk. Eating disorders are biologically-based brain illnesses that are affected by environmental, social, and psychological factors. This means that illness is not caused by one specific factor, but rather by a series of factors in an individual’s unique life experience.

Types of Eating Disorders

Due to the complexity of eating disorders, the DSM-5 divides eating disorders into the following five categories:

Anorexia Nervosa. Anorexia is noted by extreme food restriction that causes dramatic and prolonged weight loss. It often presents with body dysmorphia and a genuine fear of food.

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). ARFID includes feeding or eating disorders that involve a lack of interest in or an avoidance of certain foods that result in a failure to meet nutritional needs. ARFID, unlike anorexia, does not include a drive for thinness.

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Why Should I go to The Emily Program Instead of Solely a Therapist, Dietitian or Physician?

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If you are struggling with disordered eating and looking into treatment options, it is common to schedule an appointment with a primary care physician, dietitian or therapist. While making an appointment with one of these professionals is a great place to start eating disorder treatment, it’s best to receive continued treatment at an eating disorder specialty center. Eating disorder centers like The Emily Program are able to offer a level of specialty care that other healthcare providers are often unable to offer. Due to the extensive knowledge of the illnesses and high-quality treatment, eating disorder centers can often facilitate lasting recovery at a higher rate. Programs like The Emily Program achieve success by offering expert staff, specialized facilities, tailored treatment, and ongoing care.

Expert Staff

The Emily Program’s multidisciplinary teams of eating disorder experts, including dietitians, therapists, and doctors,  are able to provide quality, well-rounded care to treat every aspect of an eating disorder. Our teams integrate nutritional, psychiatric, medical, and therapeutic expertise to provide exceptional eating disorder care with a focus on collaboration among staff, clients, and families. Staff at The Emily Program undergo ongoing eating disorder training, ensuring that they stay up-to-date on the latest research and treatment options.

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How Healthcare Providers can Identify Eating Disorders in Non-White Patients

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Eating disorders have stereotypically been associated with slim, white, young, heterosexual women. In reality, eating disorders can affect anyone, regardless of how they identify. Eating disorders are brain-based biological illnesses that have complex causes and require specialized care. However, the stereotypical misconception of someone with an eating disorder has serious ramifications on who is diagnosed and continues on to receive proper treatment.

Consequences of the Thin, White Woman Stereotype

Historically, there has been a misconception that eating disorders affect only thin, young, white females. Advocate Claire Mysko says, “This early assumption that eating disorders primarily affect young, affluent white women was based on the research that was conducted on young, affluent, white women.” This research conducted on only white women led people to believe eating disorders were only a white woman’s disease. Despite most providers now knowing that this is false, the initial belief had serious implications for eating disorder treatment today.

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Why Some Clients Need Residential Treatment

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Eating disorders occur at different levels of severity, which is why we offer multiple levels of client care, from outpatient to residential. Whenever possible, our goal is to minimize the disruption to a client’s day-to-day life. However, when an eating disorder presents as a crisis, more intensive care becomes necessary so harmful behavior patterns can be interrupted as soon as possible. Some examples of eating disorder related crises include:

  • Medical instability
  • Inability to control one’s own behaviors
  • Extreme changes in BMI to the degree that physical health may be at imminent risk

 In each of these situations, residential care is most often recommended. In residential care, medical safety for at-risk clients can be maintained because of the presence of 24/7 nursing and medical providers. Residential care exists so that clients who are medically unstable or unable to improve in other care levels can avoid hospitalization, which is a far more restrictive experience. Residential care is not forced care and it is not designed to limit freedom. It is designed to provide safety, rapid results, and to prepare clients for long-term recovery.

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