Sports and Eating Disorders: What Coaches Need to Know About Eating Disorder Treatment
What do an Olympic swimming champion, a famous college football kicker, a highly successful professional baseball payer, and a rising tennis star all have in common? Eating disorders. “Studies show that as you move up in competition level, problems with eating disorders increase,” says Ron Thompson, PhD, an Indiana-based sports psychologist who specializes in eating disorders. “The same competitive personality traits and perfectionist tendencies that make elite athletes successful are also factors that contribute to eating disorders.” Dr. Thompson told ESPN, “I’d estimate that 90 percent of the college athletes I see with eating disorders do not develop their problems in college. They begin much earlier, at the high school level.”
Out of the Shadows: Outpatient Treatment For Bulimia
In the secret life of teenagers, it’s a dangerous silent threat to physical and mental health. Young people with bulimia nervosa may hide this eating disorder long into adulthood because they feel guilty and ashamed. The disorder can continue for years before anyone notices because the person’s outward physical appearance or size may offer no obvious clues. As Australian journalist and writer June Alexander reveals, on the National Association of Eating Disorders blog, “My life, from the age of 15 to 30 years was a struggle – no wonder my family, husband and friends had trouble understanding me, and no wonder I had trouble understanding myself.” Most people respond first to residential treatment or a partial hospitalization program, but if their physical and emotional health and are determined to be stable, outpatient (OP), or intensive outpatient care (IOP), for bulimia can be an option.
Trauma and Eating Disorder Recovery: Studies Reveal High Rates of PTSD Among People with EDs
According to a report by Nurse.com, recent research confirms an important relationship between traumatic events, post-traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders. The studies reveal high precentages of PTSD among people with eating disorders. This is no surprise to PTSD expert Rachel Yehuda, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Dr. Yehuda told Nurse.com, “It completely makes sense to me that there would be trauma-related symptoms in people who have eating disorders. Eating disorders are, in some sense, about trying to control your environment. People who have been exposed to uncontrollable, traumatic events -such as being the victim of interpersonal violence or having an accident that could have resulted in physical injury or death -may wish to try to control their environments by restricting their own food intake.”
Anorexia and Residential Treatment for Eating Disorders
In ‘To The Bone,’ British-born actress Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror) and Keanu Reeves star in a dark comedy/drama about a young woman in a residential eating disorder treatment program. Writer and director Marti Noxon says the film’s unusual story comes from her own personal battles with weight stigma, body issues, and her recovery from anorexia. While it’s common for people to complain that nearly every actress in Hollywood has an eating disorder, it’s rare for Tinseltown to produce films that honestly portray people with eating disorders and treatment for them. Noxon admits that she hopes to shatter some of the myths people may have about eating disorders. Ms. Collins says, “I’m incredibly honored to be part of such a powerful story of love, self-doubt, and the courage it takes to fight for survival. I believe this film has the potential to shine a light on something that’s becoming more prevalent within our society every day and let those suffering know they’re not alone.”
Parents Offer Advice for Families Fighting Eating Disorders During the Holiday Season
Recovery, relapse, treatment, therapy, support groups…When your child’s eating disorder makes the rest of the family feel like prisoners to the disorder, it can all become a mad blur, some parents admit. Add any holiday expectations to this mix, and the season can turn into something you merely want to survive. At the times when the path to recovery seems like a painful, exhausting journey, it’s not always easy to remember that every step in a forward direction will lead to healing. That someday soon, you’ll have your child back, and life will return to a normal state. If your teen is in residential treatment for eating disorder, you’ve probably already done or tried nearly everything you can to help them. But who is looking after you?
21st Century Cures Act: New Law Promises More Help for Families With Eating Disorders
For the first time in U.S. history, legislation that includes provisions specifically designed to help people with eating disorders passed votes by both Congress and the Senate. President Barak Obama recently signed the bill into law. “This legislation will have a profound impact on the millions of Americans experiencing eating disorders and will help ensure they will not be denied access to the same mental health services as those facing other types of illnesses,” said West Virginia Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R). Within the bipartisan 21st Century Cures and Mental Health Reform Package were key provisions from the Anna Westin Act of 2015 that sought to improve health insurance coverage for eating disorders and residential treatment, increase training for health professionals in the identification of EDs, and enhance information and resources available to the public. Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar (D) said, “Passing our bipartisan legislation into law brings us one step closer to preventing future tragedies and giving patients the tools they need to get help.”
How to Make New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Want to Keep
If you work out regularly in a public place, you’ve seen them– the people that fill the gyms or bike trails on January 2nd, and then disappear in a few weeks. Like fad diets, these intense bursts of energy may actually cause people to gain weight, binge, or engage in weight cycling. While starting the New Year with a fresh objective might sound like a good idea, most people tend to focus on changes that involve diet, weight, appearance, or exercise, all goals that could easily reinforce emotional triggers for people with eating disorders, and threaten their recovery. But what if you abandon the ordinary and decide to create your own resolutions? What if you could set goals that empower your recovery rather than adopt ones that might sabotage it? Here are some suggestions from people who are determined to embrace the coming new year.
Find Out What Families Can Do When a Loved One Has an Eating Disorder
The longer your child’s eating disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated, the longer they will suffer from it, and the more damaging it will ultimately be to their health. According to Harvard University Medical School’s HelpGuide website, aside from being supportive, the best thing any parent can do for a teen or adolescent with an eating disorder, is to encourage them to begin treatment, right away. If they are familiar with the symptoms for eating disorders, a family healthcare provider may be able to diagnose your loved one and test them for any serious medical issues that might need to be addressed immediately. There may also be co-existing conditions that require treatment, such as depression, substance abuse, or an anxiety disorder. Seeking help can be intimidating, but it’s important to remember that eating disorders are treatable. Here is some advice for parents that are taking the first steps.
New Brain Science Promises Breakthroughs in Eating Disorder Treatment
Due to some exciting new advances in brain research, scientists now believe they may have discovered neurological reasons why people with anorexia or bulimia are able to override the desire for food. “Eating disorders seem very behavioral. Sometimes it even seems oppositional when a child refuses to eat,” says Christina Wierenga, PhD, a clinical neuropsychologist and associate professor of psychiatry at University of California San Diego. “Showing there are brain circuits that are not functioning effectively gives parents some pause, and helps them understand their child’s illness.” According to a recent report published by the American Psychological Association, independent studies point to roles that portions of the brain and neural circuits play in mental health disorders. For the millions that struggle with anorexia and bulimia, these efforts could signal major breakthroughs in understanding eating disorders.
Self-Acceptance in Raising a Body Positive Daughter
In a recent article in Parents Magazine, Wayne Fleisig, PhD, says, “Kids don’t automatically pick up how to tie their shoes or brush their teeth; we have to teach them. The same is true for the values we want them to learn, such as the importance of healthful eating habits or why it’s wrong to be cruel to others about their weight.” Dr. Fleisig, a clinical psychologist at Children’s of Alabama, a pediatric health system in Birmingham, says, “With the difficult things, you can teach them in little pieces, on an ongoing basis.” Rebecca Puhl, PhD, deputy director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University, adds, “People truly do come in different sizes, and some heavy people may be fit, just as some thin people may not be fit.” Puhl told Parents Magazine that it’s important we tell our kids that some of us are naturally rounder or heavier than others, and that’s okay. Experts say this is a concept we must pass along to adolescents and teens if we want them to have healthy attitudes about food and their bodies.