Apr 24, 2013
The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents by Marci Warhaft-Nadler is a must read for every parent raising a child in the 21st century. A negative body image is a contributing factor for developing an eating disorder. Eating disorders are on the rise in children. There was a 119% increase of eating disorder related hospitalizations among children under 12 years old between the years 1999 and 2006.
Watching a family drop off their daughter at the Victorian – Eating Disorder Treatment is heart breaking. Emotions are high; crying, screaming and bargaining are all quite familiar. Our staff calms the parents and client reminding them that they are making a wise decision to seek help for this deadly mental illness. It is a scenario every parent dreads – acknowledging their child is sick and in need of professional help. Many question if anything could have been done to prevent the eating disorder? A genetic and social disease, preventing eating disorders is hard to quantify. However, a new book titled, The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents by Marci Warharft-Nadler, eating disorder survivor and Certified Personal Trainer provides several preventative tools to navigate a child towards a healthy body image.
The Body Image Survival Guide is broken down into chapters addressing issues for every age group:
- Ages 0-3
- Ages 4-8
- Ages 9-12
- Age 13 and up
As well as how to address body image in a variety of scenarios:
- Body image issues with boys
- Building self-esteem
- How to help an overweight child
- When parents need to lose weight
- Post-pregnancy dieting
- Role modeling positive body image
- The dangers of negative body image
- Media literacy
My favorite thing about the book is the way Nadler breaks up the chapters with real questions from parents. The “Dear Abby” format of the book quickly makes it seem as if Nadler is simply one parent talking to another. I highly recommend The Body Image Survival Guide for Parents to parents, teachers and school counselors.
You can purchase The Body Image Survival Guide HERE
and follow Nadler on twitter here: @fit_vs_fiction
Apr 19, 2013
From anorexia to binge eating, bulimia to diabulimia - the variety of eating disorders can leave people puzzled wondering if they or someone they love is struggling with an eating disorder. Today The Victorian – Recovery Blog gives you some signs to look for.
Eating disorders have a wide of spectrum; from the anorexic who under-eats, the bulimic who eats with purging and the binge eater who overeats on food without purging. Here are some signs to look for:
The following symptoms occur in (most) eating disorders:
Lack of Normalcy – A “diet” or “behavior” escalates into an eating disorder addiction when an individuals binging, overeating, obsessing, purging, starving, calorie counting etc… starts to interfere with everyday life. Often the eating disorder addiction will start to negatively impact the individuals home life, relationships, outings, studying, work etc..
Isolation - Often time’s people with eating disorders will isolate, like with many other addictions the person suffering from an eating disorder may feel shame about their behavior or may want others to see only a certain side of them, not revealing the behavior they see as flawed.
Hiding - A person with an eating disorder may begin hiding food and food behaviors from others, not wanting anyone to know what is going on. They may insist they have “Just eaten” or will “eat later.” A person with an eating disorder may be able to exhibit eating that appears to be usual at times, they may even participate in outings where food is involved but, this same person may leave that outing and binge or purge or begin a exercise or restriction regimen that they believe will delete that food from their bodies.
Comparing - Women with eating disorders may spend much time comparing their bodies to the bodies of others; they may find their bodies unacceptable or disgusting, though to others they may seem completely appropriate.
- Complaints of being cold
- Loss of scalpel hair
- Loss of menstrual period
- Overgrowth of facial hair
- Repetitive cleanses and/or detoxes
- Classifies “good food” and “bad food”
- Skipping meals
- Under eating
Binge Eating Symptoms
- Frequent episodes of eating abnormally large amount of food
- Complaints of being unable to control what or how much they eat
- Eating rapidly
- Eating burnt, frozen, stale or expired food
- Eating until uncomfortably full
- Eating alone out of embarrassment at the quantity of food being eaten
- Feelings of disgust, depression, or guilt after binging
- Fluctuations in weight
- Frequent dieting
- Vomiting and laxative Abuse
- Under dosing insulin
- Fluctuations in weight
- Frequent dieting
- Person may be under-, over-, or normal weight
- Swollen glands, puffiness in the cheeks, or broken vessels under the eyes
- Unexplained tooth decay
- Bathroom visits after meals
- Rigid and harsh exercise regimes
- Bingeing that may alternate with fasting
- Preoccupation / constant talk about food or weight
- Shoplifting (sometimes food or laxatives)
- Fear of being fat, regardless of weight
Eating disorders are deadly. If you are concerned that you or someone you love is struggling with an eating disorder please reach out to The Victorian. We would be happy to discuss recovery and treatment options with you (888) 268 – 9182.
Apr 12, 2013
Orthorexia (not yet featured in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association) is an eating disorder characterized by the obsession to eat healthy. Those struggling with orthorexia have been known to suffer from malnutrition, osteoporosis, fertility problems and death.
Artwork by Jessica Grundy via Etsy.com
What is Orthorexia?
The term orthorexia is derived from the Greek word, “ortho” meaning "right" or "correct" and “orexis” meaning "appetite.” The literal meaning is “correct diet.” Orthorexia was introduced in 1997 by Dr. Steven Bratman to be used as a parallel with other eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa.
People with orthorexia develop an obsession with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy or unclean. Often times people with orthroexia are concerned with eating food that is all organic, raw, pesticide-free etc… Their concern turns into an obsession which removes them from healthy social interactions.
Like an eating disorder, orthorexia nervosa is believed to be a mental disorder and is also deadly. In 2009, Ursula Philpot, chair of the British Dietetic Association described people with orthorexia nervosa as being "solely concerned with the quality of the food they put in their bodies, refining and restricting their diets according to their personal understanding of which foods are truly 'pure'." This differs from other eating disorders, whereby people "focus on quantity of food.”
Orthorexia in Pop Culture
In April 2012 Orthorexia was featured in a segment of the MTV show: True Life. The show followed the daily activities of three people struggling with orthorexia. One woman featured in the episode, Spring Jackson said,
“My fixation to eat healthy and desire to be healthy slowly became more fixated on certain foods I felt were pure and correct for my body to eat. I still don’t know for certain if I got sick after eating unhealthy foods was because my body had become adjusted to a raw diet or because mentally I got so distressed over it, knowing my body wasn’t going to process it. I thought it was poison essentially, because it wasn’t organic or it wasn’t raw.”
A person with orthorexia will be obsessed with defining and maintaining the perfect diet, rather than an ideal weight. She/He will fixate on eating foods that give her/him a feeling of being pure and healthy. An orthorexic may avoid numerous foods, including those made with:
- Animal or dairy products
- Artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
- Fat, sugar or salt
- Pesticides or genetic modification
- Other ingredients considered to be unhealthy
Orthorexia Behavior Changes
Obsessive concern over the relationship between food choices and health concerns such as asthma, digestive problems, low mood, anxiety or allergies
- Increasing avoidance of foods because of food allergies, without medical advice
- Noticeable increase in consumption of supplements, herbal remedies or probiotics / macrobiotics
- Drastic reduction in opinions of acceptable food choices, such that the sufferer may eventually consume fewer than 10 foods
- Irrational concern over food preparation techniques, especially washing of food or sterilization of utensils
Orthorexia Psychological Changes
Similar to a person suffering with anorexia, bulimia and binge eating a person with orthorexia may find that their food obsessions begin to hinder everyday activities. Their strict rules and beliefs about food may lead them to become socially isolated. Some changes are:
- Feelings of guilt when deviating from strict diet guidelines
- Increase in amount of time spent thinking about food
- Regular advance planning of meals for the next day
- Feelings of satisfaction, esteem, or spiritual fulfillment from eating "healthy"
- Thinking critical thoughts about others who do not adhere to rigorous diets
- Fear that eating away from home will make it impossible to comply with diet
- Distancing from friends or family members who do not share similar views about food
- Avoiding eating food bought or prepared by others
- Worsening depression, mood swings or anxiety
Orthorexia symptoms are serious, chronic, and deadly. If you are concerned that you or someone you love is struggling with orthorexia please reach out to The Victorian. We would be happy to discuss recovery and treatment options with you
(888) 268 – 9182.
Apr 09, 2013
NBA star Chris Herren shares his addiction recovery story with our sister facility, The Rose Rehab in Newport Beach, CA.
The only way to make a subject less taboo is to talk about it. In the eating disorder recovery field we have watched several celebrities bring attention to eating disorders by talking about their own struggles; Calista Flockhart, Demi Lovatto, Jessica Alba, Kate Bekinsale, Lady Gaga, Princess Diana, Portia DeRossi, Tracey Gold and many more. Chris Herren, a former NBA star with the Denver Nuggets and Boston Celtics who has more than four years of sobriety is also talking about what addiction has done to his life.
Herren, visited The Victorian – Eating Disorder Treatment’s sister facility, The Rose Rehab last week to speak with clients in treatment and help raise awareness about addiction and recovery. Herren has been alcohol and drug-free since Aug. 1, 2008. He struggled with substance abuse for much of his basketball career. He has since refocused his life to put his sobriety and family above all else, along with a mission to help others.
The visit was part of Herren's partnership with our parent company, CRC Health Group, known as one of the nation's largest providers of addiction treatment and behavioral health services.
"As I travel the United States speaking and sharing my story, each day I see first-hand the need for effective treatment programs," Herren said in a press release. "CRC Health Group offers a comprehensive network of treatment facilities and programs nationwide and I enjoy working with them to make a difference in the lives of people struggling with substance abuse."
If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, drug or eating disorder addiction please reach out to The Victorian. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about recovery and treatment. Call (888) 268 - 9182
Mar 29, 2013
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Signs Eating Disorders Bill into Law!
The law, which goes into effect in July, will require that information about eating disorders be sent home annually to parents of students in grades 5-12; the information will inform parents about signs and symptoms of eating disorders, and what to do if they suspect their child might have an eating disorder. The Department of Education and the Department of Health must also develop a toolkit for how schools can carry out eating disorder screenings, should they opt to do so.
Thank you to each and every person who spoke out and educated policy makers about the importance of this initiative! Your voice counts! Keep advocating for change and we can stop the most deadly of all mental illnesses in its tracks!
Mar 15, 2013
The connection between trauma and eating disorders.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD and eating disorders often co-occur, particularly as individuals suffering from an eating disorder usually report a history of trauma. Research suggests that engagement in eating disorder behaviors may be a method of coping with the discomforting emotions and experiences correlated with PTSD. Thus, the chances are great that an individual who has suffered traumatic events will develop an eating disorder as a means of controlling or coping with their emotions.
Studies have shown significant links between patients who suffered abuse and the later development of an eating disorder.
- 74% of 293 women attending residential eating disorder treatment indicated that they had experienced a significant trauma
- 52% reported symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of current PTSD based on their responses on a PTSD symptom scale
Since eating disorders may develop as a method of dealing with an overwhelming tragedy or trauma, it is essential that both disorders be addressed simultaneously in treatment to resolve the underlying issues. Effective treatments for both conditions would ideally occur under the care of experienced professionals in an accredited center for eating disorders, and address the medical, nutritional, and therapeutic processes of care for these illnesses.
One of the primary purposes of eating disorder behavior is to avoid and cope with painful, disquieting or uncomfortable feelings or affect. The eating disorder serves both to distance oneself from these feelings or states as well as to relieve them. From an abuse perspective, the eating disorder is a clever means to accomplish both distance and numbing as well as a means to relive the painful past events through a recreation of it through the eating disorder behaviors.
What is important to keep in mind is that assumptions cannot be made about the development of an eating disorder; triggers are unique to the individual sufferer. Clearly, for all eating disorder sufferers there are unique causes, of one kind or another, which has lead to the development of their specific behavior. The impact of relationships and parenting in the development of self-concept and self-esteem, family dynamics, biological depression and anxiety, cultural and societal pressures about weight and body image particularly for women, physical and/or sexual abuse, are all contributors in the development of eating disorders. All are significant. Which apply is unique to the individual.
Brewerton, T. “The Links Between PTSD and Eating Disorders.” 2008. Psychiatric Times.
Has PTSD played a role in your eating disorder?
Please share your thoughts below, as they may help someone else.
Feb 21, 2013
Eating disorders are a classified mental illness. People suffering from this disease not only struggle with under and over eating, but also with anxiety and depression. Antidepressants have proven effective in helping those recovering from eating disorders. Below is the most effective antidepressants for the three most common eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, binge eating and bulimia nervosa.
Prozac (fluoxetine) is an SRI and has proven to support treatment for people with anorexia and depression.
· Cyproheptadine – Is an antihistamine that stimulates appetite and may help relieve depression associated with appetite loss and improve appetite for people with anorexia. *Keep in mind that loss of appetite is only one aspect of anorexia and generally develops in an advanced stage of the disease.
· Zyprexa (Olanzapine) - People with anorexia often experience intense anxiety and subsequent depression in regard to food, their body weight and eating. Since adapting healthier dietary habits is key toward managing and recovering from anorexia, medications that help alleviate anxiety may prove useful in treating emotional aspects of the disorder. Zyprexa is a medication formally used to treat schizophrenia and may improve treatment for low-weight anorexia patients. Olanzapine works by reducing anxiety, obsessive thinking and depression caused by these symptoms.
· Antidepressant medicines reduce binge eating and purging in up to 75% of people who have bulimia nervosa.
· Antidepressants regulate brain chemicals that control mood. Guilt, anxiety, and depression about binging usually lead to purging. Antidepressants help keep emotions stable and can help reduce the frequency of binge-purge cycles.
· Antidepressants work best when combined with psychological counseling for the treatment of bulimia.
· The antidepressants that is most commonly used to reduce the binge-purge cycle associated with bulimia is Prozac (aka Fluoxetine). Prozac is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Prozac has proven to reduces binge-purge cycles in bulimia.
· Antidepressant medicines may reduce episodes of binge eating in those who have binge eating disorder, and they may help with related depression or anxiety.
· Antidepressants regulate brain chemicals that control mood. They can help reduce the compulsive behavior that leads to binging. These drugs can also help people who have both depression and binge eating disorder.
· It may take several weeks for antidepressants to relieve symptoms associated with binge eating disorder, although they may become effective sooner. You may need to continue taking antidepressants over a long period of time to prevent a relapse.
· Antidepressants that have been proven effective in treating binge eating disorder include
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Luvox (fluvoxamine.)
- Tofranil (tricyclics)
- Norpramin (desipramine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
Antidepressant Side Effects
· Before starting an antidepressant, tell your doctor about every medicine or supplement (prescription or nonprescription) that you are taking. Some antidepressants can have serious interactions with other medicines or dietary supplements.
· Antidepressants may produce some side effects. But side effects may be reduced or may go away after several weeks of treatment.
· SSRI’s - Studies show that SSRIs may be less bothersome than other antidepressants, such as tricyclics. SSRIs have less serious side effects and are less dangerous in case of an overdose. Although side effects of SSRIs are usually mild, they can include nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, anxiety, irritability, problems sleeping or drowsiness, loss of sexual desire or ability, headaches, dizziness, and dry mouth. After several weeks of treatment, SSRI side effects may be less or may go away completely.
· Tricyclic - Tricyclic side effects can include stomach upset, constipation, dry mouth, blurred vision, and drowsiness. Some people gain weight and have problems with sexual desire and ability. Tricyclics are started in low doses and gradually increased to avoid overdose and other serious side effects. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the medicines and herbal preparations you are currently taking. Tricyclic antidepressants can have serious interactions with other medicines, including those used to treat seizures, such as phenytoin (Dilantin, for example), or certain heart medicines, such as digoxin (for example, Lanoxin).
· You may start to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks of taking antidepressant medicine. However, it can take as many as 6 to 8 weeks to see more improvement. If you have questions or concerns about your medicines, or if you do not notice any improvement by 3 weeks, talk to your doctor.
· SSRIs make bleeding more likely in the upper gastrointestinal tract (stomach and esophagus). Taking SSRIs with NSAIDs (such as Aleve or Advil) makes bleeding even more likely. Taking medicines that control acid in the stomach may help.
· People who purge after they take antidepressants may not get enough of the medicine into their blood. Doctors may recommend that they take antidepressant medicine at bedtime after they have stopped purging. People who purge often need to have their blood checked regularly to measure the amount of medicine in their bloodstream.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder please call The Victorian. We are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding treatment: (888) 268 - 9182
Feb 08, 2013
A recent poll showed that today in Canada almost 90% of women and girls are unhappy with the way they look. In particular, pregnant women who are being hospitalized for disordered eating (pregorexia.)
Anorexia, a mental illness which is the abnormal obsession of staying thin and not gaining weight is deadly. Psychological and social factors can both contribute to the eating disorder. Another documented eating disorder which has been mentioned on the Victorian – Recovery blog has received the attention of the health community in the past few years. Pregorexia, is not a technical term for a medical diagnosis but the stigma is the same for women who are carrying babies and are trying to stay thin.
Pregorexia has the same basic symptoms and risk factors as anorexia. The only difficulty is that there is another life involved that depends upon the mother's nutritional and food intake. According to a CBS News report in August 2008, pregnant moms should expect to gain between 25 to 35 pounds by the time the pregnancy comes to term after nine months. Over the years popular celebrity’s like Angelina Jolie, Kate Hudson, Nicole Richie, Katie Holmes and Jessica Simpson have had babies and lost weight rapidly after giving birth. Unlike the majority of the public, celebrities can afford childcare and personal trainers to simply focus on losing weight, but the headlines of magazines praising celebrities for losing so fast post pregnancy may contribute to the vast rise in disordered eating among pregnant women.
Experts say it’s difficult to determine how common eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are among pregnant women because those types of statistics are rarely shared due to privacy concerns. However, according to a 2007-2009 Health Canada survey, 6% of Canadian women between six and 79 years old reported suffering from at least one form of eating disorder. In 2009-2010, there were 5,282 hospitalizations related to eating disorders, more than 90% of the patients were women. Some experts believe unrealistic body images in the media and a celebrity culture have led more women to try to stay thin during pregnancy so they can shed their weight immediately after childbirth.
“Before, pregnancy might have been seen as an opportunity to relax into one’s body and to experience one’s body as it naturally grows,” said Merryl Bear, the director of the non-profit National Eating Disorder Information Centre in Toronto, Canada.
“But there are more challenges to a pregnant woman’s self-perception that are exacerbated by the images and the stories of celebrities who get pregnant, have their babies, and throughout the process just have their pre-pregnancy body with a bump,” she said.
Dr. Blake Woodside, head of Canada’s largest eating disorders treatment program at Toronto General Hospital, said cases of pregorexia used to be rare.
Woodside says, “Our society has become fatophobic and fat discriminatory, even when it relates to
Doctors say starving pregnant women are more likely to develop a number of health problems as are their babies. The journal Canadian Family Physician warns that women who are anorexic during pregnancy have babies with lower Apgar scores and lower birth weights. The Apgar score assesses the general physical condition of a newborn. Other complications associated with pregorexia include depression, anemia, hypertension, miscarriage and premature labor.
*Note: Pregorexia is an eating disorder that occurs during pregnancy. Equal to other eating disorders the issues surrounding eating disorders do not simply involve eating and an obsession with weight, often other issues that go with it. An eating disorder is not about vanity. Mothers suffering from an eating disorder most likely have prior psychological issues that were triggered by the emotional changes that come with pregnancy. Pregorexia is their way of coping.
If you or someone you
know is struggling with pregorexia please reach out for treatment immediately.
This disease is deadly to both the mother and unborn child. We are waiting to help:
Dec 29, 2012
The board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) approved a set of updates, revisions and changes to the reference manual used to diagnose mental disorders. The revision of the manual, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), is the first significant update in nearly two decades. Binge Eating Disorder was added to the manual.
Big changes in the eating disorder field – Binge Eating Disorder has been added to the DSM-5. Binge eating disorder has been moved from DSM-4’s Appendix B: Criteria Sets and Axes Provided for Further Study to DSM-5 Section 2. The change is intended to better represent the symptoms and behaviors of people with this condition. This means binge eating disorder is now a real, recognized mental disorder.
Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the United States affecting approximately 3.5% of women and 2% of men. Binge eating affects more men than other types of eating disorders. The current DSM- 4 includes the criteria for binge eating under the diagnosis of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This disorder is marked not only by eating large amounts of food within a short time period, but also by high levels of distress, lack of control, and feelings of guilt or disgust with oneself. Criteria for the disorder is not dependent upon the types of food consumed, but rather the amount and circumstances surrounding the eating ( for example: eating when you are not hungry and/or eating until you are uncomfortably full).
The hope is that with proper diagnosis, more people struggling with this eating disorder will be able to find treatment. Addictive substances such as tobacco, alcohol and other drugs may be eliminated from one’s life. However, food, also potentially addictive, must be consumed to live. For this and many other reasons, eating disorders can be difficult to overcome. The new DSM 5 will hopefully bring more awareness and understanding to the prevalent problem of binge eating.
How do you feel about the addition of Binge Eating Disorder to the DSM 5?
Join the conversation below!
Dec 21, 2012
When clients come to the Victorian they meet with our nutritionist and go over the foods in their current eating plan. Their plans vary depending on their tastes, heritage, cultural background and eating disorder. New research suggests that a large percentage of women with eating disorders may be engaging in Vegetarianism. Today we take a deeper look.
Women who suffer from eating disorders are four times more likely to be vegetarian than women without eating disorders, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The researchers found that 52 % of women with a history of eating disorders had been vegetarians at some point in their lives. In contrast, only 12 % of women without eating disorders had experimented with a vegetarian diet.
For clinicians who work with eating disorder patients, the results of the study were not too surprising.
"Going vegetarian can be another way to cut out a food category, or a number of food categories, if you become a vegan," Vanessa Kane-Alves, a registered dietician with Boston Children's Hospital's Eating Disorders Program. "It makes it easier when people ask you questions about where those foods have gone. It's a more socially acceptable way to restrict foods."
Kane-Alves, who was not involved in the study, emphasized that the research doesn't argue vegetarianism causes eating disorders, or is unhealthy. Instead, it suggests vegetarianism can be a symptom of an eating disorder for some women. The takeaway of this study is, as a clinician, doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist is if you have a patient who tells you they want to be a vegetarian, it's worth exploring that more than one would have otherwise. Asking a client why they want to go vegetarian is a great start. Other extreme food restricting lifestyles are:
- Dairy Free
- Gluten Free
In the study, the motivation to go vegetarian was starkly different between women with eating disorders and those who were not. None of the women without eating disorders reported becoming vegetarians to lose weight. In contrast, almost half of those with an eating disorder history said weight was their primary motivator. Of the women with a history of eating disorders and a history of vegetarianism, 68 percent said there was a relationship between the two. A vegetarian diet helped them lose weight, cut calories and feel in control, they reported. In another study, of those who called themselves vegetarians upon attending treatment, five percent of those who fully recovered from their eating disorder were still vegetarians.
Were you a vegetarian prior to your eating disorder recovery?
Are you still a vegetarian?
Join the conversation below!
Dec 20, 2012
James Bailey shares some thoughts on what it means to work in this helping profession.
As we are wrapping up another year at The Victorian, I wanted to take a moment and wish you the best for this holiday season.
The "job" that each team member has at The Victorian is so much more than just merely their profession. Every day (and 24 hours a day), we are responsible for the well being of the clients that entrust their recovery to our ED professionals.
We are responsible for our client's safety and healing - both physical and emotional. We are the caretakers for countless families' daughters, sisters, mothers, and wives. We do not take this lightly and I can tell you that our team members have all found a new family here at The Victorian - with the other staff members and of course through caring for the clients who mean so much to us.
Our team knows both the incredible joy of seeing a client come back to take a "one year chip" and also the devastating reality of hearing about a alumnus' continued battle with an ED. These daily victories and defeats can take a great toll on our team, so it is important that we trust in each other and pick each other up when the challenge of fighting addiction overwhelms us. We could never make it without caring for each other like we do for our clients.
I know 2013 is going to be a great year at The Victorian. I cannot wait to see all of the great enhancements we are adding into our programming here in Newport Beach.
On behalf of the entire team at The Victorian, we wish you the happiest of holidays and know that the best is yet to come in 2013!
James Bailey , M.Ed, M.H.A
Executive Director, The Rose
Dec 14, 2012
The holiday season can be a quite challenging four our clients struggling with eating disorders. The food-activities and the instantaneous immersion back into triggering family dynamics can feel overwhelming to clients, regardless of their stage in the recovery process. In response to the anxiety that can accompany heightened exposure to food and gatherings of friends and family we see quite a bit of relapse during this time of year. Today we give some of our best tips on how to maintain abstinence over the holidays.
Holiday gatherings can feel like a constant focus on food. For some, being surrounded by comfort foods and sweets can make eating in moderation a difficult task. For others, the overabundance of food and a focus on sitting down together for family meals can cause anxiety.
The key to navigating holiday eating with confidence lies in planning for challenges that may arise, as well as placing an emphasis on practicing flexibility and asking for support. No matter your stage in eating disorder recovery, practicing these five strategies can help you protect your eating disorder recovery during the holidays and avoid potential triggers for eating disorders relapse.
1. Shift the focus from food, meals and counting calories to celebrating and spending time with loved ones. Spending your time evaluating available food to identify the healthiest options keeps you "in your head" and prevents you from meaningfully engaging with the people that care about you most. Accept that food is a part of seasonal events and reframe your thoughts to emphasize interaction with family and friends over meals themselves and the types of foods served.
2. Avoid "good food"/"bad food" thoughts. As we say at the Victorian, “There are no bad foods.” In general, healthy eating is all about moderation, and this notion is particularly true when it comes to traditional holiday fare. Try to enjoy healthy portion sizes during each course.
3. Avoid overbooking your schedule with holiday functions. Shopping for holiday gifts, attending all the holiday functions and hosting your own parties can make for a stressful holiday season. It's important to maintain an awareness of your stress level during the holidays. Trust your instincts and take a break if events and obligations become overwhelming. Don't worry about disappointing friends and family if you're unable to attend this gift exchange or that dinner; they'll understand that protecting your recovery is your number one priority.
4. Surround yourself with people who have healthy relationships with their bodies, food and weight. If possible, bring a trusted family member or friend with you to a holiday gathering, and be sure to keep lines of communication open and honestly discuss your challenges, victories and goals with members of your support team. If you're comfortable doing so, share your thoughts and feelings with trusted individuals; if they understand why the holidays can be a difficult time for you, it will help them provide support.
5. Continue working with your nutritionist. Ongoing nutrition counseling with a registered nutritionist provides powerful guidance, support and education to help patients overcome their fear of food and normalize eating behaviors, particularly during times of stress. If holiday travel keeps you from keeping your regularly-scheduled appointments, consider speaking with your nutritionist by Skype or phone for a brief check in about your experiences and dietary challenges.
We hope everyone has a very happy and healthy holiday season in recovery!
Dec 04, 2012
The Victorian – Eating Disorder treatment, treats quite a few clients from Canada. Today we will be going over some statistics and factors that contribute to disordered eating in this region of the world.
Of those who have eating disorders in Canada, 90 to 95 per cent are female. Many people with eating disorders are known to have suffered a trauma such as psychological, physical, or sexual abuse, or be part of a family in which the caregivers are addicted to alcohol or drugs. However, many people with eating disorders have not experienced such traumas. An eating disorder may have no single cause. In someone who is vulnerable, a disorder can be triggered by an event one doesn't know how to handle, which can be as common as being teased or as devastating as rape or incest. An eating disorder often begins when the person is dealing with a difficult transition: puberty, a new school, the breakup of a relationship. Every person's experience is unique, but often the person who develops an eating disorder feels shame, disgust, and anger about their body. Some feel a need to purify or even punish their bodies. They feel powerless to change anything else in their lives.
There are two main types of eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Both are characterized by excessive concern about one's weight and shape and a negative, distorted body image. Although a person may be under weight, when he/she looks in a mirror, he/she sees herself as obese. He/she thinks that others also consider her mammoth in size, even if you think he/she looks skeletal when you see their thin arms and legs.
Of the women in Canada between the ages of fourteen and twenty-five, an estimated 2 per cent suffer from anorexia, a condition defined as drastic weight loss caused by self-induced starvation. It can, however, begin earlier. As a child, the individual may begin by eliminating desserts from her meals. Then she may also exclude bread. She could go on to deny herself more and more food until she's eating only vegetables and water. Eventually she may try to exist on water alone. The anorexic may go to the extreme of counting the calories she consumes from the glue after licking a postage stamp.
Behind this potentially fatal illness is a girl's strong desire to control everything and to become thin. Some may already be painfully thin in their parents' eyes; others become anorexic because they were overweight children, were either ostracized or encouraged to diet, and were praised when they lost pounds. Anorexics believe their only problem is being too fat. They have a distorted body image and don’t recognize how underweight they are, which makes it difficult for them to recognize that they need treatment.
Typically the anorexic makes up excuses to miss meals. Most teenagers have voracious appetites, but if your daughter often says that she had a huge lunch and doesn't want dinner, you might well be alert to other indicators of anorexia.
The British Columbia Ministry of Health includes the following as signs of anorexia:
• She develops obsessions about food and recipes. An anorexic may eat vicariously by grocery shopping, by watching cooking shows, or by cooking food for others.
• She develops unusual eating habits. She may cut her food into tiny pieces or eat only the crumbs that others leave behind.
• She always feels cold.
• She shows a noticeable weight loss.
• She involves herself in excessive exercise. As a way of burning calories, an anorexic may spend hours in the gym or go on day-long walks
If you think you or your loved one may be struggling from an eating disorder get a quote on treatment by calling: (888) 268-9182
Have you struggled with Anorexia? Do you live in the Massachusetts area? Interested in helping with some eating disorder research? The advantages of the helping with a research study for eating disorders is the more research there is, the more the disease can be understood and treated as a disease. The more understood the disease is, the more progress can be made in getting insurance companies to cover treatment. Interested? Detalis below:
The Neuroendocrine Unit at the Massachusetts General Hospital is conducting an important research study that focuses on the effects of anorexia nervosa on peak bone mass. Please review and pass along to any one you may know in the Massachusetts area that may also be interested in participating in this research study.
The young adult years are a very important time to build bones in order to help prevent future fractures. Two hormones that help build bones during this time are estrogen and insulin. These hormones increase and peak during the years of puberty, and contribute greatly to building bone. These two hormones are also extremely important for both bone formation and preservation. Low weight and/or nutritional restriction due to anorexia can lead to low levels of these two hormones. Girls and young women with anorexia are at an increased risk for low bone mineral density as well as fractures. We have previously shown that small replacement doses of estrogen help prevent further bone loss in girls with anorexia nervosa. However, bone density does not become normal, likely because of a persistent deficiency of other hormones such as insulin. This study will assess whether adding insulin to estrogen replacement is effective in further increasing and potentially normalizing bone density young women with anorexia nervosa.
The study involves:
· Coming to Massachusetts General Hospital for a visit to assess whether you or not you are eligible for the study. This consists of a medical and hormonal evaluation, as well as a bone density test. All of this would be performed at no cost to you.
· The results will be available to be shared and discussed with you, and if you wish, the results can also be shared with your doctor.
If you are eligible for the study and would like to participate, you will be asked to:
· Take a replacement dose of estrogen using a patch that sticks to your skin (which would be approximately the size of a postage stamp) and delivers estrogen that is absorbed through the skin.You will be asked to apply this patch twice a week.
· You will also be asked to take another hormone called progesterone for 10 days of every month,
· You will be asked to take calcium and vitamin D supplement.
· You will be randomized (assigned by chance, like the flip of a coin) to receive either replacement doses of IGF-1 replacement or placebo (no active medication).
· You will be asked to take these medications for twelve months.
· There will be 11 total study visits (10 visits, including the screening visit to assess eligibility, take place during the initial twelve months and an additional visit is scheduled one year later). Some of these visits can be completed with a local physician if travel to Massachusetts General Hospital is difficult. Bone density tests will be performed at the start, middle, and end of the trial.
· A stipend is not provided for the screening visit; however, you will receive $75 per study visit (after the screening visit) for a total of $750 at completion of the study. The cost of parking/public transportation is covered for each visit to Massachusetts General Hospital.
If you are interested in learning more about the study,
Study Research Coordinator, Hannah Clarke,
Study MD, Dr. Madhusmita Misra
Nov 21, 2012
Women with eating disorders are known to be highly intelligent and creative. We do our best to keep our programs updated with the most state of the art therapies and treatments. Meditation is a difficult practice for all people, but especially for those struggling with eating disorders. Getting the racing mind to pause is quite difficult. A new meditation we have implemented is called, Creative Mediation.
This particular Creative Meditation can be implemented by a leader of a group or led by the clients themselves. What we have the eating disorder clients do is the following exercise:
- Imagine a behavior you would like to change.
- Visualize it is in a magical crystal where its future unfolds. For example, if you have an eating disorder picture yourself continuing with your eating disorder.
- While participating in this behavior imagine how you will change over the years.
- Now, look into the second crystal. Imagine yourself abstinent of your eating disorder.
- If you choose the path of recovery, the first part of the road will be rough.
- Yet later a life abstinent of an eating disorder will prove more rewarding.
The purpose of the meditation is to imagine the future with the eating disorder. Imagine what life would look like with it and without it. Over the long run, which is an easier path to follow? This simple mediation has proven to give our clients great insight into their lives and their future.
Nov 13, 2012
Melissa Avrin died from an eating disorder in 2009. Someday Melissa is a documentary inspired by Melissa Avrin’s journal writings and designed to raise awareness of eating disorders and the importance of early treatment.
The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals of Orange County, California is holding a public screening of the documentary Someday Melissa. Melissa Avrin struggled with an eating disorder until her death at age 19. Throughout her life, even in the darkest moments of her addiction, Melissa’s creativity shined through. It was always hard for her to express her feelings verbally so she used film making, writing, drawing and acting as means of self-expression. A gifted writer from a young age, her journals were filled with powerful messages of hope along with words of sadness and pain. This is a moving documentary, Directed by Melissa Avrin’s mother.
We have mentioned Someday Melissa before on our blog, but now it will be screening in our own backyard of Newport Coast next month!
2 pm – 4 pm
Sage Hill School in
Tickets can be purchased HERE.
The prolific growth of eating disorder behaviors continues to sore and it is vital that we strengthen our awareness and education around this issue.
If you have any questions about this event, please don't hesitate to contact:
Alyson Merchant (626) 290-4086
Nov 06, 2012
Staying connected in the recovery community is vital to maintaining eating disorder abstinence. Today we are looking at the various resources our clients can reach out to upon returning home. In this post we are focusing on the meetings and services available in Seattle, Washington.
When preparing our clients to transition from our step down facility, Patrice House back to their homes we help them carve out a recovery maintenance plan. One of the resources we suggest our clients reach out to is Overeaters Anonymous (OA.) OA is a fantastic, long standing, reputable support group for various eating disorders (including anorexia, bulimia and compulsive over eating.) Meetings in OA vary from area to area, but the advantage of a support group in Overeaters Anonymous is the focus the groups have on the physical, mental and spiritual restoration of its members. As well as the flexibility to create a group that best serves the needs of it’s members. For instance, if a group comes together and would like to make a 2 hour meeting a 1 hour meeting to better serve it’s population it can do that. As well, if a meeting has a predominant amount of Anorexics and Bulimics it can also change the meeting to best serve that population. Of course all changes to meeting formats must be abiding by the the 12 traditions of OA.
Currently, we have quite a few clients who are from the Seattle area and will soon be retuning home. If you live in the Seattle, WA area there is a variety of meeting available to you:
Overeaters Anonymous Meetings
Sunday/ OA H.O.W / 5:30 PM / St Paul's United Church Of Christ
Sunday / BIG BOOK / 7:00 PM / Seaview Methodist Church
Sunday / TRADITIONAL MEETING/ 7:00 PM / Samaritan Center Of Puget Sound
Monday / OA Steps Traditions Study 10:00 AM / St John United Lutheran Church /
Monday / NEWCOMER / 7:00 PM / Columbia City Church of Hope
Monday / LITERATURE STUDY / 7:00 PM/ University Christian Church
Tuesday / TRADITIONAL MEETING/ 7:00 PM / North Seattle Alliance Church
Tuesday / TRADITIONAL MEETING/ 7:00 PM / Seaview Methodist Church
Tuesday / MEDITATION/ 12:00 PM / University Christian Church
Wedn. / AA 12 + 12 / 09:00 AM / St Paul's United Church Of Christ
Wedn. / GAY LESBIAN TRANS./ 6:00 PM / Capitol Hill Alano Club
Wedn./ LITERATURE STUDY / 7:00 PM / University Christian Church
Thursday / BIG BOOK / 10:00 AM / St. Paul United Church of Christ
Thursday / TRADITIONAL/ 7:00 PM / Olympic View Community
Thursday / TRADITIONAL/ 12:15 PM / Downtown YMCA
Thursday/ MEDITATION / 07:00 PM / Peace Lutheran Church
Friday / TRADITONAL / 7:00 AM / Recovery Cafe
Friday/ TRADITIONAL / 12:15 PM / University Christian Church
Friday / MEDITATION / 07:00 PM / St Therese Parish House
Friday / TRADITIONAL / 7:00 PM / Denny Park
Saturday / TRADITIONAL / 10:00 AM / West Seattle Seaview Methodist
Saturday / TRADITIONAL / 10:00 AM / St Pauls United Church Of Christ
Sunday/ TRADITIONAL / 9:00 AM / Capital Hill Group Health Hospital
Saturday / TRADITIONAL / 10:00 AM / University Christian Church
In addition, Seattle has a book store dedicated to 12 Step recovery. Unity on Union Book Store offers books, recovery gifts, guest speakers and 12 step meetings. The meeting schedule is below:
Unity on Union Bookstore
2420 East Union Street
Seattle, WA 98122
Sunday / CLOSED / Available to host meetings.
Monday / CLOSED / Available to host meetings.
Tuesday / ALANON / 7 PM– 8 PM / Contact : Nicole (206) 718-1598
Wednesday / H.O.W.- AA / 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM / Contact: Steve (206) 380-2318
Thursday / SPIRITUAL FITNESS – WOMENS AA / Contact: Houston (206) 280-5645
Friday / RECOVERY IN PROGRESS – AA / Contact: Jeff (206) 605-5256
Saturday / BIG BOOK STUDY - AA/ Contact: Bruce (214) 336-2339
If you live in the Seattle, Washington area be encouraged! There is a recovery community excited to join you on the road to recovery.
Oct 29, 2012
The Victorian admits clients with eating disorders as well as co-occurring disorders; alcoholism, bipolar disorder, border line personality disorder, drug addiction, kleptomania and self-harming behaviors. Today, we discuss the warning signs of self-harm that is a predominant co-occurring disorder found among many eating disorder sufferers.
An eating disorder; whether it be anorexia, bulimia or compulsive overeating is a control disorder and a form of self-harming. Typical eating disorder patterns and self-injury patterns carry similar traits:
· Perfectionist personalities
· History of trauma
· Physical, emotional or sexual abuse
· Family issues
· Feelings of self-loathing
· Low self-worth
Both self-injury and eating disorders are ways for people to cope with the uncomfortable feelings of anger, shame, sadness, loneliness and guilt. They are also ways for these individuals to punish themselves and express self-hatred for their bodies.
For many, self-injury and eating disorders coexist. For others, self-injury develops as a way to replace an eating disorder. For example if the person overcomes an eating disorder but doesn’t learn how to properly cope with emotions, they may seek relief through other ways such as cutting and self-mutilation.
· Cuts/burns on the wrists, arms, legs, back, hips, or stomach
· Wearing baggy, loose clothes repeatedly
· Makes excuses for having cuts, marks or wounds on the body
· Finding razors, scissors, lighters or knives in strange places (i.e., a purse, the bathroom.)
· Spending long periods locked in a bedroom or bathroom
· Isolation and avoiding social situations
Similar to an individual being suicidal, self-harm is a cry for help. People who self-harm may feel that there is no other outlet to express their emotional pain and cope with distress. People who self-harm don’t do it to seek attention; they actually do it to escape the struggles of their daily life. If you know someone who is engaging in self-injurious behavior reach out to him or her. Let him/her know you care through getting them the help they need.
You can call The Victorian – eating disorder treatment today for a list of treatment packages at:
Oct 22, 2012
Upon arrival at the Victorian our clients meet with counselors, doctors and psychiatrists to access their medical condition. Many of our clients have co-occurring disorders including alcoholism, drug abuse, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder and narcissism. Today we will take a look at how narcissistic personality disorder manifests alongside eating disorder behavior.
Based on meta-analysis of Cassin & Ranson, 2005, narcissistic personality disorder is diagnosed in 2% to16% of eating disorder patients, with the lower estimate of 2% arising from the more reliable assessment procedures.
Research suggests that bulimic attitudes and behaviors are associated with classic narcissistic personality traits (Brunton, Lacey, and Waller, 2005), and that restrictive eating is associated with the “poor me” form of narcissism in which others are viewed as abusive and the individual must, like a martyr, place the needs of others first (Brunton, Lacey, and Waller, 2005). As such, there is evidence that narcissistic wounding is indeed related to eating disorder development and maintenance. Below we explore the concept of narcissistic wounding in relation to eating disorders
The Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
· Similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence
· Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others.
· Narcissists have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for their fragility by putting down others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth.
How Does Narcissism Develop?
· If children see disappointment in their parental mirrors, they believe they are disappointments and develop an ongoing struggle for acceptance.
· Children use self-centeredness and grandiose narcissistic behaviors as defenses against cold and unempathetic parents.
· Grandiosity becomes the compensatory strategy to deal with feelings of inadequacy and helps a child to focus on what the child perceives their parents value.
· Narcissistically wounded eating disorder patients commonly come from families that value fitness and thinness and disdain people who are overweight.
If children do not experience validation and healthy praise this narcissistic wounding obstructs and distorts the development of their identity, creating feelings of inadequacy and a constant need to seek out mirrors. The goal is to get the mirrors to reflect back a desirable image of self. Such individuals hope to see in others what they did not see in their parents: acceptance, approval, love and a sense that they are special and important. When a narcissist sees this image reflected back, they feel good. But sooner or later, the mirroring other will criticize or say “no” to the individual or focus on someone else. This perceived rejection becomes a narcissistic insult that opens up past wounds, resulting in extreme pain and rage, known as narcissistic rage. Individuals then use compensatory strategies to deal with the pain and protect themselves from humiliation.
The Victorian is launching a NEW support group designed to provide a comfortable, supportive and confidential environment for family and friends of those struggling with eating disorders.
The Victorian knows that eating disorders are a “family disease.” Meaning there are systems within the family unit that trigger eating disorder behaviors. During treatment we offer our clients and their family members time to process past traumas and take a look at their family system together in a program called, Family Week. Realizing how much our families are eager for support and healing for not only their loved one, but themselves also, we have established, Family Group.
In Family Group we will discuss the psychology of eating disorders and explore tools for you to aid in your loved one's recovery, as well as stressing the importance of your own self-care during this difficult journey. Group is open to family members, friends, and spouses/significant others. The group launches: October 22, 2012. Going forward it will meet every:
Monday, 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
“Fishbowl” 3103 Villa
Way Newport Beach, CA 92663
*Corner of Villa Way & 31st Street.
Office faces Villa
Questions: Contact: Allyssa James (949) 680 - 9475