Posts Tagged ‘For Providers’

The Health Benefits of Loving Yourself

Woman holding heart balloons

Valentine’s Day may be commercialized and over-hyped. For some it’s an obligatory gift-giving day, for others it’s a reminder of a broken heart or an unclear relationship status. But for those who do choose to celebrate, the holiday is an occasion to recognize love in all its forms.

This Valentine’s week, we’re exploring love in the context of the relationships we have with ourselves. Like other types of love, self-love is an action we practice and develop, one cultivated through self-compassion. And self-compassion bestows physical and mental health benefits worth celebrating in this season of love and beyond.

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How to Recognize Eating Disorders in Your Patients Over the Holidays

A doctor's desk with a laptop, notebooks, and stethoscope

The busy season is here.

In holiday calendars full of shopping, baking, decorating, and wrapping, many people are also squeezing in routine check-ups and impromptu visits to the doctor. Clinic lobbies and waiting rooms are hosting college students home on winter break, workers using holiday PTO, and insurance holders maximizing healthcare benefits before the year’s end.

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Eating Disorders in Older Adults

Woman standing on a bridge

There are many stereotypes that feed into society’s perception of the type of people afflicted by eating disorders. If we could, those of us at The Emily Program would scream it from the rooftops: Eating disorders do not discriminate! A person’s sex, race, age, socioeconomic status, and culture don’t matter when it comes to disordered thinking about food! In this post, we focus on age and the similarities and differences of eating disorders in older adults compared to young and middle-aged adults. We will also cover the importance of seeking help, no matter a person’s life stage.

Setting the record straight on eating disorders and age

Many people think eating disorders only affect young or middle-aged adults and that beyond those years, the disorders disappear. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Eating disorders do primarily affect younger populations, and they often manifest in younger adults. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), it is true that eating disorders appear in early adulthood: the median age of onset for bulimia and anorexia is 18, while the median age of onset for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is 21. However, if one of those eating disorders—or any disordered eating—goes untreated early on, that simply means that those with the eating disorder will likely continue to suffer into late adulthood. In other words, if an older adult is suffering from an eating disorder, that person has been plagued with the symptoms for decades. Adding to that heartbreak, because these adults have suffered for so long, it’s less likely that they will seek help during their golden years.

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When Two Worlds Collide: The Dangerous Intersection of Diabetes and Eating Disorders

Bowl of fruit and blood sugar monitor

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 22 million individuals are living with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. These individuals are also at significantly higher risk for eating disorders. When this dual diagnosis exists, treatment and recovery are often complicated by the complexity and conflicting demands of the two conditions.

Although the approach to treatment can vary among those with Type 1 (DMT1), Type 2 (DMT2) and latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), it is important to be aware of the increased risk these individuals carry for disordered eating and eating disorders. It is estimated that the risk for ED behaviors is three times higher in individuals with DMT1 (1) and that up to 40% of individuals with DMT2 are affected by ED behaviors (2). There are numerous factors that increase the risk for disordered eating for those with diabetes. Several common challenges include:

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The Link Between Eating Disorders and Suicide

Depressed-looking man standing on the street

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, there are resources that can help. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

In the United States alone, over 30 million individuals struggle with an eating disorder. Eating disorders are complex and biologically-based illnesses that can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, size, or any other demographic categorization. Sadly, eating disorders are often severe and may become life-threatening. Among adolescents, eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness, and the rate of children living with eating disorders is on the rise.

What Are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are characterized by a disturbance in an individual’s eating habits and self-perception. Due to the complex nature of eating disorders, the DSM-5 has broken eating disorders up into the following categories:

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How Primary Care Providers Can Support Sustained ED Recovery and Recognize Signs of Relapse

When a client has a history of an eating disorder, it’s essential to be aware of the signs of eating disorder relapse. If a client states they are struggling with relapse, a provider has one job: to get them to an eating disorder assessment. Healthcare providers shouldn’t feel like they have to make the patient feel better on their own, and they certainly shouldn’t tell the client they should wait to see what happens.

If a client communicates concerns about eating, they’ve probably had concerns for quite some time. This isn’t something people often share in the first month that it is happening. Once noticed, the provider needs to treat the eating disorder the same way that they would treat any other disease–connecting their client with the best person to treat the illness.

A common mistake made in primary care offices is a medical provider saying, “Maybe you’ll snap out of it, come back to see me in a month and we can see what happened.” Two or three things are likely to occur in this scenario. The client may hear that what is happening to them is not that serious, perhaps thinking, “My doctor doesn’t think it’s a big deal, so maybe it’s not.” Another outcome may be that the person will get worse over the next month. And if the eating disorder gets worse, it becomes increasingly less likely that they will seek treatment. So, telling someone to wait should be avoided at all costs.

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