Posts Tagged ‘Recovery’

The How-To Guide for Starting your Child in Eating Disorder Treatment

Mom and daughter on cliff

When your child struggles with an eating disorder, it can be a time of fear, frustration, heartache, and confusion. From navigating treatment options to learning how to support your child’s recovery, it can be a complex and challenging time. The Emily Program knows this. Since 1993, we have worked with families and friends to help them support loved ones suffering from eating disorders. 

What is Eating Disorder Treatment?

Eating disorder treatment is specialized care that addresses all facets underlying an individual’s eating disorder along with their current behaviors. Eating disorders are treated most effectively at a specialty treatment center that provides multidisciplinary support. At The Emily Program, intensive care involves a medical professional, therapist, and dietitian. These professionals comprise an individual’s eating disorder treatment team, ensuring that their eating disorder is holistically addressed and that recovery begins with a solid foundation. At The Emily Program, treatment teams provide multidisciplinary, integrative support for individuals of all identities struggling with food and body issues. Treatment may look different for every client and can vary based on the level of care recommended for the individual.

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Part 1: How Culture can Influence Eating, Eating Disorders, and Recovery

Indian Food and Gathering

Bhakti Doroodian is an independently licensed marriage and family therapist who currently works for The Emily Program as a Clinical Manager and DBT Therapist.  Her background includes treating individuals, couples, and families with a wide variety of mental health and family dynamic concerns.  Her passion for eating disorders surfaced as she noticed the detrimental effects of it on not just the individual, but on the family system as a whole.  She hopes to continue educating clients on the importance of health, wellness, and body acceptance in all forms.   

Food equals love.  This was a concept I learned early on when my grandmother would secretly give me all of my favorite treats before dinner.  When I would fall sick, my mother would make me eat bitter melon for dinner followed by a tall glass of ginger-turmeric milk to nurse me back to health.  After my grandparents passed away, friends and distant relatives brought my family many of our favorite dishes to comfort and support us through a painful time in our lives.  Although I was born and raised in California, my relationship with food was largely influenced by my South Asian roots.  Every summer, my sister and I would pack up our most precious belongings, and head to India to spend our break with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.  While our cousins would fantasize about a life in the United States with the education opportunities, fast cars, and fashion models, my sister and I relished in the simplicity of living in India, even if it was only for a few short months.  

Every day, hand-in-hand, my grandmother and I would walk to the market to see what produce was available for that day’s dinner.  There was no refrigerator, pantry, or grocery store where we could store the essentials.  Instead, our variety was 100% dependent upon what was in season or available that day and whether or not we could afford the farmers’ ever-changing price for produce.  Options were limited so rarely did we choose our meals based on our mood or cravings. Rather, the focus was on counting our blessings and eating nutrient-dense meals to have energy for the day’s work.

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How to Introduce Deep Breathing into your Daily Routine

Mindfulness card

Stressors are all around us—busy schedules, conflict, challenging jobs, life changes, loss, illness—and sometimes we don’t even notice the effect stress has on us until something forces us to recognize it. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and eating disorders are often clear signs that stress has taken a toll on an individual. While these mental health conditions are not caused by stress (they are caused by a variety of things including genetics, psychology, and an individual’s neurobiology), stress often exacerbates these conditions making them more likely to greatly disrupt an individual’s quality of life.

When individuals experience stress, the fight or flight response is activated. This physiological response is the body’s reaction when it believes it is in danger, threatened, or under attack. Unfortunately, our bodies cannot tell the difference between actual and perceived danger, so our body’s reaction to being confronted with a dangerous animal may be the same as its reaction to our friend telling us they have something serious that they want to talk to us about.

When we experience a fight or flight reaction, our bodies produce excess adrenaline and cortisol. The release of these hormones is likely to make our heart rate increase, our bodies tense, and our palms sweat. In an extreme case, this reaction may spiral an individual into a full-blown panic attack, where an individual cannot seem to regain control over their body and mind. In less severe cases, individuals may experience a constant state of mild stress, which can result in a buildup of stress hormones. This ongoing stress can cause tension headaches, poor immune system functioning, mental health illnesses, high blood pressure, and an overall feeling of discomfort and disease.

Of course, in severe cases or when an individual is experiencing mental health concerns, it is important to see a licensed professional for specialized advice and treatment. Luckily, more mild cases can be controlled or dampened by using body-based defenses. In addition to using our breath to control current stress, engaging in a deep breathing or meditation practice daily can promote continued wellbeing and lessen the likelihood of developing stress-related illnesses.

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Eating Disorder Recovery during the 4th of July

American flag and fireworks

Holidays are often a challenging time for those struggling with an eating disorder or those in eating disorder recovery. With the added emphasis placed on food and celebration, those afflicted with disordered eating may feel ostracized or struggle to cope with the circumstances. If you find yourself at odds with the holidays, here are five ways you can work to reframe them as positive experiences.

1. Embody true holiday spirit

The definition of a holiday is, “A day of festivity or recreation when no work is done.” While not all folks are exempt from work during the holidays, everyone can use the date to celebrate in a way that makes sense for them or they can find a recreational activity to participate in. These moments of festivity and recreation can be big or small—from setting aside 10 minutes in the morning to reflect on our freedom to celebrating with a big group of friends—it’s important to celebrate in a way that is authentic and uplifting to you. 

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