Posts Tagged “For Providers”
Episode 83: Eating Disorders and Menopause with Val Schonberg
Val Schonberg joins Peace Meal to discuss eating disorders during menopause, an often-overlooked period of vulnerability for midlife individuals. She begins by explaining why this life stage carries an increased risk for disordered eating and eating disorders. Our cultural biases toward aging and weight are partially to blame, she says, which can lead providers to misdiagnose or completely miss disordered eating behaviors. To better serve midlife individuals during this vulnerable period, Val urges healthcare providers to re-evaluate their own beliefs about aging, weight, and menopause. She emphasizes that menopause is a natural phase of life and not a “disease” that must be “fixed,” as many problematic cultural messages suggest. Val ends the podcast by expressing her belief that everyone can recover – no matter their age – and that aging is a precious gift.
Val Schonberg is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition science from the University of Minnesota. She is Board Certified as a Specialist in Sports Dietetics, a Certified Menopause Practitioner with the North American Menopause Society, and a Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Val owns a private practice in Atlanta, Georgia, where she specializes in midlife health and menopause, recreational and professional sports nutrition, all types of eating disorders, and helping individuals break free from dieting and disordered eating.
Identifying Eating Disorders in Children and Teens
Regular doctor visits are essential to a child’s and teenager’s overall health. These routine checkups are an opportunity to not only chart growth and development, but also to screen for a range of physical and mental health conditions, including eating disorders.
In fact, pediatricians and other primary care providers are often our first line of defense against eating disorders. Well-positioned to monitor ongoing health at well-child visits and other physicals, providers have a unique role in detecting and addressing any issues with food and body. Early identification of eating disorder symptoms can help prevent and interrupt the development of these serious disorders.
Eating Disorders and Autism: What You Need to Know
Note: In this blog, we use identity-first language (e.g., “an autistic individual”) to reflect those who embrace autism as an identity category – a diverse way of perceiving and interacting with the world (Taboas et al., 2022; Bury et al., 2020). However, we recognize that this language choice may not be suitable for everyone in the community. Whenever possible, please ask individuals about the language appropriate for them.
Living with and treating an eating disorder may be complicated by the presence of a co-occurring condition, particularly when the condition shares characteristics with an eating disorder. One such condition that shares some psychopathology with a disordered eating mindset—and is frequently seen alongside an eating disorder diagnosis—is autism spectrum disorder.
There are a number of factors that increase the risk of disordered eating or an eating disorder in an autistic individual. By looking at the nature of both eating disorders and autism spectrum disorders, we can better understand their relationship and improve the detection, care, and treatment of both conditions.
Episode 80: The Role of an Eating Disorder Nurse with Stacey Brown
Stacey Brown, RN, joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to reflect on the role of nursing in eating disorder care. She begins by acknowledging the lack of eating disorder education and training in nursing programs; it wasn’t until she began interacting with patients that she fully understood the impact of these illnesses on every body system. Stacey’s experiences have set her on a mission to speak to nurses at all levels about best practices when caring for patients with eating disorders, including developing strong emotional intelligence. She highlights the importance of every care team member and multidisciplinary collaboration to meet a patient’s full range of needs. The episode concludes with Stacey’s words of wisdom for the next generation of eating disorder nurses.
Questions You Should Ask Every Patient About Their Relationship With Food
Whether in-person or virtually, you’re invited to assess, assess, assess! In school, we clinicians are taught to ask questions—so many questions. We are taught to ask about our patients’ history, their current happenings, and their future hopes and dreams. We are taught to ask about easy things and hard things. We are taught to ask about things that aren’t socially appropriate and would be extremely uncomfortable outside of medical and mental health settings. We are trained to ask questions about substance use, depression, anxiety, suicide, sexual behaviors, and peculiarities of the human body and its functioning.
Yet, so often, we forget to ask questions about one of the things that sustains life: FOOD! We know that to survive, we need to eat. From conception to the moment of death, we are required to consume, in some way, calories that feed and nourish the systems within the body. Why, then, do we shy away from asking questions about this life-giving, life-sustaining human behavior?
Anecdotally, I hear medical and mental health providers say, “We have never had training,” “I don’t know what to ask,” and “I’m not sure what to do if it seems as though there might be a problem.” However, in the same way that we all learned how to ask, respond to, or intervene following questions about suicidal ideation or even substance use, we can all learn to become more comfortable integrating questions about eating disorders into our patient assessments.
Eating Disorder Signs to Watch for in Your Patients Over the Holidays
For those living with an eating disorder, the holidays may be the toughest time of the year. Holidays are often synonymous with large amounts of food, increased stress, and extended periods of time with family—all factors that can exacerbate eating disorder symptoms. Because eating disorder thoughts and behaviors can increase during the holidays, it’s important to be especially vigilant of your patients this time of year.
There are many common signs and symptoms healthcare providers should look for that signal the presence of an eating disorder. During the holidays, certain symptoms may become more noticeable, such as: