While research on LBGTQ people with eating disorders is relatively limited, the findings that have emerged are concerning. It is clear that we need to do better in making the medical and psychological needs of the LGBTQ population a priority and ensure that our health providers are educated in the unique needs of this community.
Inclusive treatment environments – built on knowledge, respect, empathy and understanding for everyone – are imperative. Based on my work as an eating disorder specialist, and my own experience as a member of the LGBTQ community, I’d like to share a few tips for those working with the LGBTQ community.
Are you concerned that your loved one might be exhibiting signs of disordered eating, but aren't quite sure what to be looking for? Check out the symptoms below that can be indicative to Binge Eating Disorder.
Eating disorders are serious, impacting millions of school-aged youth across America. Like any mental health condition, they warrant honest and sometimes uncomfortable conversations. But these discussions help.
Inclusive treatment environments for all communities, including the LGBTQ population, are imperative. Based on my work as an eating disorder specialist, and my own experience as a member of the LGBTQ community, here are a few tips for providers and friends/family.
Despite having many differing characteristics, eating disorders and substance abuse share a complex connection with one common human requirement – the desire to avoid or numb negative emotions.
Learning the skills of self-care is a lot like learning to drive a car. We often expect to already have these skills, when in reality, learning how best to care for ourselves is a process that typically requires a lot of trial and error before we figure out what actually works.
Understanding what self-compassion is--and what it isn't--is a critical piece in gaining self-acceptance and boosting self-esteem.
We often hear from clients post-discharge, that without the support of the staff and milieu in program, the transition back to daily life can be quite challenging. For this reason, it is imperative that parts of the treatment environment get carried over upon discharge.
Whether down the road or hundreds of miles away, parents can remain invaluable advocates and support systems for their child struggling with an eating disorder while also transitioning to college.
We are so used to picking people apart, or judging people based on their external appearance, that body shaming has become a sort of white noise that is constantly playing in the backdrop of our lives.
Meet Heather Chenette, LICSW and Lead Clinician for Walden's Adult Partial Hospitalization Program and Adult Intensive Outpatient Program at our Waltham Clinic!
While some studies link weight loss and overall health improvements when following the Paleo Diet, many remain skeptical regarding its overall effectiveness. From a nutritional standpoint, adhering to certain parts of this diet can result in potentially damaging consequences.
While weight loss surgeries have proven to be effective and appropriate for many, what some candidates for weight loss surgery, and even the medical professionals working with them may fail to consider is the very real, and even common possibility of an underlying eating disorder.
Walden Behavioral Care’s new whitepaper, “Behind the Curtain: 4 Factors Contributing to the Alarming Rise in US Suicides,” dives into these areas in more detail – offering specific suggestions for health care providers, parents and loved ones to minimize the risk with each.
Eating disorders are complex, misunderstood and subject to a lot of “did he/she really just say that?!” types of statements. Trying to dodge these annoying comments can sometimes feel like trying to dodge rain drops without an umbrella.
How do you explain to a 12-year old that as she gets older, fitting in with the “popular” crowd won’t matter as much? That individualism is an asset in the adult world? How do you give her hope that her ideas, values and self-concept will change as she matures?
Adequate rest is vital for mental health, learning and overall wellness. If we don’t make good sleep a priority, we risk a multitude of health issues, including the most common problems we see in individuals with eating disorders.
I know eating disorders are one of the most complex conditions. The process of recovering is often one of the hardest battles a person will face. I grossly underestimated, however the prevalence, demographics and the depth of their impact not just on the person struggling, but on all those who care for them.
Do people feel badly about their bodies because they’re overweight, or are they overweight because they feel badly about their bodies? This question reminds me of that unsolvable quip involving the chicken and the egg. Does anyone actually have an answer as to which came first?
There are many applications (apps) out there that can aid with symptom management of or recovery from a mental health disorder. Choosing an app might even feel overwhelming and that’s not the purpose of these tools! I have made a select list of some of the eating disorder/mental health apps available. Remember everyone is unique so take time, do your homework and find the app or apps that work best for you!
While Martin Luther King Junior was a brave and profoundly brilliant advocate in the African American civil rights movement, I think it is important today, and everyday, to reflect on his teachings in a way that resonates with each of us individually. Being that this is a mental health blog, I thought it useful to relate MLK's preachings of tolerance and support for the whole person to those who have been touched by a mental illness.
My disdain for the word “or” came in fourth grade when I took my first True OR False exam in Science. “True or false, the world has people in it,” the test question mused. “Well,” I thought to myself, “it is true that the world has people in it, but it also has animals and trees and insects…that must mean the answer is false…but the answer couldn’t be false because there ARE people in the world…”
Families, friends, and providers often feel concerned during the initial stages, however, without the right questions and information, might dismiss an eating disorder as related to something else – depression, anxiety, or a milder form of disordered eating. That is why Walden Behavioral Care and Walden Center for Education and Research make it a priority to provide education and awareness in our communities.
What does it mean to be “guilt-free”? To not feel that nagging sense that you’ve done something wrong, let someone down, or hurt someone? When you run an Internet image search of the term “guilt-free,” surprisingly, there are no images of people free from guilt because they are in content relationships being loyal to their partners.
What has kept me from sharing my road to recovery from everyone I meet? Part of it is the fear of being stigmatized for recovering from an Eating Disorder (E.D.) Ignorance can be bliss at times. I remember it like yesterday. The feeling of being crazy and hopeless, barely escapes me.
The feel-good energy surrounding the holiday season has begun as we prepare for Thanksgiving. While many of us look forward to seeing family, watching football and “binging” on turkey and stuffing, those who struggle with an eating disorder have probably been dreading this day for several months. I have found a few really helpful articles with tips and reminders for those who struggle, but have yet to find information on how to SUPPORT a loved one through the Thanksgiving holiday.
I took that leap. The leap of faith that got me through the day. I knew I was not alone, I couldn't be. I knew that this could not be an internal struggle inside myself anymore. Despite, all the thoughts I thought inside my head, I believed I was not alone. I hoped that sharing my story would help me and others too.
I reflect on my past, asking myself what I missed out on in life with an eating disorder (E.D.). This is what I reflected on. I missed out on reality. Life with love.
To an individual with an eating disorder, fear foods are foods that Ed prohibits you to eat. Fear foods vary from individual to individual, day to day and sometimes don’t even make sense. No matter what the fear food is, Ed is right there to be sure the rules are followed and it is not eaten. Should a fear food really be feared? Will something bad happen if it is eaten? The answer is NO.
What I learned from fracturing a bone in my foot, it takes time to mend. However, healing emotional scars and wounds can take time to mend too.
As I reflect on my life at the age of thirty-five years old, I wonder how I have learned to love myself along the way. I ask myself, "how can one love themselves' when there is so much more to love in others?" Well, I've learned along the way, through the guidance of my parents, that it is important to love yourself first. It can be a hard concept to grasp for a selfless person, but as I walk in my own shadow, I trust and love myself for all of me.
Did you know that Oct. 4 -10 is Mental Health Awareness Week? That’s right, this awareness week began in 1990 when the U.S. Congress recognized the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) for all of their work to educate and increase awareness around mental illness. This year, to commemorate this event, NAMI created web and social media initiatives to help break down the facts and figures around mental illnesses.
There is often a misconception that eating disorders are primarily a “young, white woman of privilege” problem and that other races, ethnicities, and cultures do not struggle with the disorder. This can often make it difficult for individuals to enter eating disorder treatment if they do not fit this image. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) website, the prevalence of eating disorders in other cultures is unknown as there is limited research into the area of eating disorders and other races/ethnicities/cultures. However, reports of eating disorders in other cultures are on the rise.
Every year around this time memories flood in of back to school and specifically for me back to dance. Dance was (and still is) an integral part of my life and unfortunately so were eating disorders.
“During your cancer treatment, you have no control over your body — you give up your body to your doctor,” said Kathleen Emmets. “You are willing to do it because you want to live. Food restriction is the one thing that you can do to have some sense of control when everything is chaotic.”
During my recovery, one of my therapists Thom, had me talk about and look at my inner child (aka: little Cheryl, a younger version of myself etc.) and how I relate (or related) to her and what may or may not come up in how I am relating it all to Ed.
The transition from adolescence to young adulthood can be an exciting and challenging time for anyone. It can be particularly hard for someone working towards recovery from an eating disorder. Many adolescents are eager to reach this milestone, and for some, their eating disorders look to this time as an opportunity to capitalize on the possibility for decreased support, supervision and accountability. However, the transition from adolescent to adult programming can be smooth and support needs to be ongoing, and for both the adolescent and their parents, knowing this going in can help make the process a smooth one.
It seems like eating disorders have become a popular topic lately. There have been countless news stories depicting eating disorders in teens, parents, athletes etc. Catch up on the most recent ones listed below.
At Walden Behavioral Care we strive to individualize eating disorder treatment. To increase the specific services we offer to patients, we have developed “track programs” that are tailored for patients who need support in certain areas. This August, the College Track program for students with eating disorders ran for patients that were heading to college this fall. Whether a new freshman in college, or going back for another year, patients in this program focused not only on learning traditional research-based eating disorder interventions, but also developing skills necessary to managing triggers or scenarios specific to what a college student might encounter on campus.