Eating disorder recovery
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
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
Oct 09, 2012
Recently there has been an uprising in the amount of research done on the theory that a lack of healthy attachment in infancy plays a large roll in the development in eating disorders. Today we will be exploring what healthy attachment looks like and how to recreate what may be lost.
One of the first recovery exercises The Victorian- Eating Disorder Treatment has our clients do is to write their Life Story. Then, we ask that they read the story of their life (birth to present day) during Process Group with the other women in the house and staff. Quite often I have noticed the consistency of the clients to have an incident of trauma early in life. The incidents vary from a mother who had PTSD, a parent that traveled consistently or was struggling with mental illness. Coincidentally there has been quite a bit of research on the roll attachment plays in the development of eating disorders. Helping our clients to heal and grow from the loss of attachment is our goal. However, repairing lost bonds is an intricate and lengthy process.
What is Attachment?
For those unfamiliar, attachment theory describes the dynamics of long-term relationships between humans. Its most important principal is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one caregiver for social and emotional development to occur normally. Attachment theory came about after World War II, homeless and orphaned children presented many difficulties; psychiatrist and psychoanalyst John Bowlby was asked by the UN to write a pamphlet on the matter. Later he went on to formulate attachment theory.
Infants become attached to individuals who are sensitive and responsive in social interactions with them, and who remain consistent caregivers and protectors during the period of six months to two years of age. When an infant begins to crawl and walk they begin to use attachment figures (familiar people) as a secure base to explore from and return to the caregiver/ protector. Caregivers' responses lead to the development of certain patterns of attachment; these lead to internal working models which will guide the individual's perceptions, emotions, thoughts and expectations in later relationships. Separation anxiety or grief following the loss of an attachment figure is considered to be a normal and adaptive response for an attached infant. These behaviors may have evolved because they increase the probability of survival of the child.
The basics are that the style of the early attachment relationship to your primary caregiver is crucial in determining personality, values, and psychological health. Securely attached children use their caregiver as a base to explore the world and have a high trust in themselves and others. This is generally fostered by a caregiver who skillfully attends to the needs of the child. The three major insecure styles (dismissing/avoidant, preoccupied/resistant, fearful/disorganized) all have more undesirable qualities that theoretically lead to negative psychological states in adulthood. Despite the difficulty in researching the causal elements, the theory has been around forever for a reason.
Symptoms of a Child with Reactive Attachment:
*See if you recall any of the following behaviors in your childhood.
Aversion to touch and physical affection: Children with reactive attachment disorder often flinch, laugh, or even say “Ouch” when touched. Rather than producing positive feelings, touch and affection are perceived as a threat.
Control issues: Most children with reactive attachment disorder go to great lengths to remain in control and avoid feeling helpless. They are often disobedient, defiant, and argumentative.
Anger problems: Anger may be expressed directly, in tantrums or acting out, or through manipulative, passive-aggressive behavior. Children with reactive attachment disorder may hide their anger in socially acceptable actions, like giving a high five that hurts or hugging someone too hard.
Difficulty showing genuine care and affection: For example, children with reactive attachment disorder may act inappropriately affectionate with strangers while displaying little or no affection towards their parents.
An underdeveloped conscience: Children with reactive attachment disorder may act like they don’t have a conscience and fail to show guilt, regret, or remorse after behaving badly.
Types of treatment for reactive attachment disorder:
Treatment: Treatment for reactive attachment disorder usually involves a combination of therapy, counseling, and education, designed to ensure the individual has a safe living environment, develops positive interactions with others, and improves peer relationships.
Medication: While medication may be used to treat associated conditions, such as depression, anxiety, or hyperactivity, there is no quick fix for treating reactive attachment disorder.
Family Therapy: Typical therapy for attachment problems includes both the clients and his or her parents or caregivers from childhood.
Individual Psychological Counseling: Therapists meet with the client individually to help give words and understanding to the emotions they felt as a child .
Play Therapy: Such as Sand Tray, helps the inner child to re- learn appropriate skills for interacting with peers and handling other social situations.
How about you?
Do you struggle with reactive
Join The Conversation
Oct 01, 2012
Those who struggle with eating disorders are also known to struggle with perfectionism. Driven, competitive and hypersensitive these individuals have a hard time finding realistic expectations for their partners and relationships. Today we explore how perfectionism affects a relationship and how to address perfectionism.
One of the most important things in a relationship is knowing that you and your partner are on an even playing field. However, for a person who struggles with an eating disorder, and addictions constant comparing and the strive toward perfection can taint a good relationship formula. When a couple or individual strives to become the "perfect" partner or couple neither is possible or desirable. In fact, strong perfectionist traits usually prevent healthy relationship formation. Rather than experiencing a full and healthy range of emotions, a perfectionist often vacillates between two primary emotions—dread and relief. The up and down pattern of dread and relief endlessly repeats itself in the life of a perfectionist, and partners and children often bare the whip lash of jolts.
In fact, perfectionists spend most of their time dreading the next potential failure, and successes are met with a feeling of temporary relief, rather than with a feeling of satisfaction in having done a thing well. Self-esteem does not build from feelings of relief, or the temporary reprieve of having succeeded at something. Lacking a deep and consistent source of self-esteem, failures hit especially hard for perfectionists, and may lead to long bouts of depression and withdrawal in some individuals.
Further, perfectionist individuals are often hypersensitive to perceived rejection or possible evidence of failure, and there is a fundamental rigidity in the relentless stance of preparing for failure. Unfortunately, when an individual is caught up in the throws of perfectionist striving, that person is likely to be less interested in developing a healthy, mutually satisfying marriage and more interested in chasing the elusive rabbit in his or her own head.
Along these lines, partners of perfectionist individuals often comment on their partner's emotional unavailability. It is very hard for a perfectionist to share her internal experience with a partner. Perfectionists often feel that they must always be in control of their emotions. A perfectionist may avoid talking about fears, inadequacies, insecurities, and disappointments with others, even with those with whom they are closest. Naturally, this greatly limits emotional intimacy in a marriage.
Perfectionist individuals can also be fiercely competitive, even with their partners. Feelings of inadequacy may set the stage for downward social comparison within their own homes. Celebrating the victories of a spouse may be especially hard if such success threatens a perfectionist partner's sense of being the more intelligent partner in the relationship.
The exhaustion that comes from striving to be perfect can also lead a perfectionistic individual to give up in the face of obstacles. A marriage of equals is hard to create when one (or both) partner(s) are perfectionists. A marriage of equals is a partnership between two people who see each other as true equals. Not only must they be true equals, but both must be open to influencing each other continuously in order to become perfect for, and irreplaceable to, each other. When perfectionism has been conquered, healthy self-esteem can flower, and when it does, you are much more likely to attract someone with the potential and desire to work at becoming the perfect partner for you as opposed to the perfect specimen of human.
Have you struggled
with perfectionism in your relationships?
How did you overcome
Join The Conversation
Aug 29, 2012
A predominant question we get from our Facebook and Twitter followers is, “What does it take to work at the Victorian?” Work in the eating disorder recovery field is rewarding, challenging and takes quite a bit of training and schooling, you will see if you’re a fit for a career in the industry here:
I will first go over some basic requirements for working in the recovery field. Due to the close proximity of working with clients in the middle of their eating disorder we have found many who are attracted to working in the field have experienced an eating disorder themselves. For this reason, most recovery facilities and rehabs require a minimum of two years of eating disorder recovery (meaning two years of abstaining from eating disordered behaviors.) The two year mark is a good barometer for ensuring that those giving recovery have time away from the disease and have also developed their own boundaries and strong voice. Working with clients in the recovery field requires being emotionally strong and using your voice a lot.
Anyone who has worked on an eating disorder treatment team will tell you that working with a client is like a game of tug of war. Imagine for a second that there are two different people in an eating disorder clients body. One person is the eating disorder; the other person is the clients true self. When working with the client the staff has to constantly be on guard for the eating disorder behaviors of lying, stealing, attention seeking, self-harming and manipulation. As well as simultaneously encourage a client’s true self to emerge. Encouraging the client to use their voice, state their opinion, take responsibility, make amends and be honest. Constantly deciphering between killing the eating disorder and advocating for the true self can be draining, especially when you are dealing with multiple clients in one facility.
The rewarding part of the career is that you are able to help a client to find freedom from their disease. You are given the rare opportunity to walk with them through painful moments when they want to give up, go home and give in to the disease. When you are able to play a part in them making the right choice and seeing them make changes in their behaviors makes the job incredibly rewarding and fulfilling.
The hours of work in a facility vary. Due to the great stress that goes into working in the mental health field, most facilities consider 32 hours to be a full time work week. Careers on the more administrative side are more likely to be 40 hour work week with an “on call” cell phone for staff to call in the case of an emergency.
Pay in the mental health field varies quite a bit depending on the facility. Hourly vs. salary pay depends on the level of work, the amount of schooling, certificates, degrees and time invested in the facility. Your best bet is to look up salary’s for certain job titles you’re interested in and see how much the pay is for those jobs in your area. Geography has a great deal to do with pay. What one facility pays in Southern California can vary greatly to what another pays in Southern Carolina.
Next week we will be back with Part 2, covering the different positions on an eating disorder treatment team and the schooling , certificates and experience required to go with each position. In the meantime consider this post and ask yourself some questions:
Would I be triggered
by others in eating disorder recovery?
Would the pay be
suitable for my lifestyle?
Would the stress
level be suitable for my lifestyle?
Do I know anyone
working in the eating disorder recovery field that I can ask more questions to?
If you have any
further questions regarding the basics of working in an eating disorder
treatment facility please put them in the comment section below!
Aug 20, 2012
Many of the Victorian clients take time off from college in order to get needed treatment with us. As the 2012-2013 academic year approaches we are saying good bye to many of them. Today we congratulate them on their hard earned recovery with a few tips on succeeding in college and maintaining their recovery.
As the summer winds down in Newport Beach the tourists occupying the beach rentals head home along with our college aged clients who head back to school. We are excited for them to return to college in the Fall with new tools they can use in their eating disorder recovery. Today we outline a few of our favorites:
· Counseling – Prior to getting back on campus make sure that you have a counselor/ therapist set-up to see you once a week. Transitions are difficult for those in eating disorder recovery and a weekly visit to check-in with a therapist and hash things out is strongly recommended. If you’re not sure where to find a counselor/therapist call the college and ask for the number to their mental health counseling services.
· Housing – Make sure that the housing you choose best suits your recovery. There is a variety of choices in college : dorms, sorority housing, off-campus. Make sure that whatever choice you make is the one that best supports your own recovery.
· Food – Look into the food options at the university. Look online at what the cafeteria serves, the local grocery stores, farmers markets and cafes. Considering the variety of places offered what are your preferences?
· Meds – Some pharmacies are different. Some you can call in and transfer your prescription, others require that you have your doctor call it in. Whatever the case make sure you take care of this prior to your departure. The last thing you want is to be without your meds.
· Friends – Will you be connecting with old friends on campus? If so, give them a call and let them know you would like to meet up. If not, look into campus clubs and activities you can be a part of. Connecting with others keeps us accountable, helps us not to isolate, and keeps us out of our eating disorder patters.
· Recovery Meetings – Finding local support through Overeaters Anonymous or Anorexics and Bulimics Anonymous is crucial. Check online for meeting location and times that work around your class schedule. Be sure to try out a new meeting three times before you decide on if it’s for you. Listen to other women sharing their stories and ask someone who “has you want” to be your sponsor.
· Connecting back home – Be sure to connect with the ones that love you back home! Your parents, siblings and treatment team would love to hear from you! Let us know how we can support you in the exciting time of life!
you have any back to college tips that work for you?
we miss anything?
The Conversation Below!
Aug 16, 2012
We discovered a handy new APP for your smartphone that will assist you in your eating disorder recovery! Now you can carry your meal plan, goals and calendar all in one spot! Details here on the Recovery Blog.
It takes a village to get eating disorder recovery, but now that village has a helpful new APP to bring everyone together! Recovery Record is an app designed to assist those in eating disorder recovery, you can download it from the iTunes APP store.
This APP includes mood and meal monitoring “homework.” (The homework isn’t really homework. The APP prompts questions for you to answer to monitor your progress over the months of recovery.)
With Recovery Record you can:
· Keep a record of meals, thoughts and feelings in one private place on your phone.
· Collect jigsaw pieces to earn rewards and scrapbook collectables
· Customize your log form, meal plan, reminder schedules and alarm tones.
· Share your Recovery Record with your rehab treatment team, so they can help you to understand your behavioral trends and triggers.
· Receive and send anonymous encouragement messages and virtual gifts from and to 1000s of other people using the APP.
· Access 1000’s of meditation images and affirmation messages.
Recovery Record is perfect for every stage of eating disorder recovery from anorexia, bulimia, compulsive overeating and other eating disorders.
What do you think of an APP to assist you in recovery?
Would you download it?
Why or why not?
Join In On The Conversation Below!
Aug 07, 2012
Creativity, Addiction and Mental Illness seem to go hand in hand, but why? Today we address theories and research on why so many gifted “creatives” also struggle with addictions.
The association between mental illness (addictions, bipolar, eating disorder(s), borderline personality disorder, depression, histrionic, schizophrenia etc…) and creativity first appeared in literature in the 1970s, but the idea of a link between "madness" and "genius" is much older. Dating back at least to the Ancient Greeks who believed that creativity came from the gods, and in particular the Muses, the goddesses of arts and sciences, and the nine daughters of Zeus, the king of the gods. The idea of a complete work of art emerging without conscious thought or effort was reinforced by the views of the Romantic era.
It has been proposed that there is a particular link between creativity and mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder, whereas major depressive disorder appears to be significantly more common among playwrights, novelists, biographers, and artists. Individuals with Bipolar Disorder II experience milder periods of hypomania during which the flight of ideas, faster thought processes and ability to take in more information can be converted to art, writing, poetry or design.
A research team at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm studied 13 mentally healthy, highly creative men and women. As noted in the published paper they found that divergent thinking, or the ability to “think outside the box,” involves the brain’s dopamine communication system. The Swedish research team used PET scanning to determine the abundance of a particular dopamine receptor, or sensor, in the creative individuals’ thalamus and striatum, areas that process and sort information before it reaches conscious thought, and that are known to be involved in schizophrenia. The team found that people who had lower levels of dopamine receptor activity in the thalamus also had higher scores on tests of divergent thinking, for instance, finding many solutions to a problem.
Previous work has shown that people with schizophrenia also have lower dopamine receptor activity in the thalamus and the scientists suggest in their paper that this striking similarity demonstrates a “crucial” link between creativity and psychopathology. “Thinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box” says author Fredrik Ullén, a cognitive scientist at Karolinska.
Have you seen a link
between creativity and mental illness?
Have you or anyone
you’ve known been deeply plagued with an eating disorder while simultaneously
Join The Conversation
Aug 01, 2012
Relapse dreams are common during addiction recovery and even years later. Many conversations circle around what they mean. Today we try to answer that question.
Years ago, The Victorian had an eating disorder therapist who would try to analyze our client’s dreams. One time in an all staff meeting this therapist analyzed one of the staff’s dreams. The staff member emphasized how bizarre it was to see a distant cousin in her dream, someone she hadn’t seen in years. The eating disorder therapist explained that sometimes when we see someone from our past it isn’t literally the person we are seeing, but what the person represents (i.e. youth, vulnerability, betrayal, etc..)
Some dream analyst believe that dreams come in the service of health and wholeness helping the person experiencing the dream to reconcile their life. Even the worst recurring nightmares come to help the dreamer move forward more consciously in the direction of their health and wholeness. If a dream is remembered at all, it is a very good indication that there is a crucially important role for the dreamer's waking mind to play in the unfolding of all the issues and possibilities the dream presents, whether or not these multiple layers of meaning and implication are clear to the dreamer or not.
This same principle applies to the dreams of people with addictions, both in and out of recovery. Dreams always have important levels of symbolic meaning and implication even when they appear to “merely” repeat actual experiences of waking life. For instance, take the common dream of relapsing and being back fully in the grips addiction, years into solid recovery. We often hear people in recovery say, “I’m so glad I’m not there anymore.”
Some believe that recovery from an addiction is a spiritual battle and the occurrence of relapse dreams come when recovery is solid and the addiction wants back in. Usually, to the dreamer it indicates that the recovery is so integrated into waking life that they are in danger of forgetting just how bad the addiction actually was. This is why we encourage 12 Step meetings for our clients, so that they are constantly reminded of why they are working so hard to stay out of their disease.
Relapse dreams are a great way to remind an eating disorder addict that the vulnerability to relapse is still with them, even years and decades later, but the primary service to health and wholeness that this type of nightmare provides is to keep the conscious emotional and intellectual awareness vividly alive. There is an unbroken subconscious memory of how bad addiction was and how good recovery is. We encourage our clients to remember that they once were addicts and need to keep aware of just how much effort it took to overcome their disease. It is a crucially important passage of life that one cannot afford to forget.
Have you ever
experienced relapse dreams?
Do you think this is
your body’s way of reminding you to stay abstinent?
Join The Conversation
Jul 20, 2012
The National Eating Disorder Association is famous for its NEDA Walks which allow each walker the opportunity to raise money for eating disorder research. These walks are hosted all over the country and this September one will be visiting Southern California!
Have you ever wanted to do something to spread eating disorder recovery, but just don’t know what? How about starting small with a NEDA Walk? A NEDA walk is in affiliation with The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). NEDA is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting individuals and families affected by eating disorders. They campaign for prevention, improved access to quality treatment, and increased research funding to better understand and treat eating disorders. Yeah NEDA!
A NEDA walk is coming to Southern California on:
Sunday, September 16, 2012!
Walk Venue: Ronald
Reagan Sports Park
Walk Location: 42569
Margarita Road, Temecula, CA 92591
Check In Time: 8:15AM
Walk Start Time: 9AM
Walk End Time: 11AM
Contact: Andree Grey
This is a great opportunity for our own clients as well as other eating disorder clients and rehabs to get involved with stopping this disease from taking more lives. Get more details about the Southern California NEDA Walk HERE.
Would you start a
What are some other
ideas you have for spreading eating disorder awareness?
Join The Conversation
May 29, 2012
The importance of giving those in eating disorder recovery equal parts clinical support and freedom while transitioning back into everyday life.
Eating disorder treatment is not fixed in 30 days of intensive inpatient care. People with addictions need to change their ways of thinking and coping with life. The Victorian offers our clients a transitional step-down treatment in order to transition slowly back into everyday life with the support of a treatment team.
After our clients have stabilized their weight and have established regular eating patterns they are transitioned to our step down facility, the Patrice House. At the Patrice House the women live with an onsite nurse, but have substantially more freedom in their everyday life. They prepare meals on their own, are given a bike and are in charge of getting to recovery meetings and appointments on time. They are given a $75 allowance per week and are expected to manage that money.
Equally the clients are given some accountability. They shop for groceries with their case manager, are expected to abide by a 10 pm curfew, keep the Patrice House clean and make a weekly schedule with their case manager. The elements of accountability keep the women on a recovery track and out of harmful patterns and situations which may cause relapse in early recovery.
One of the most important elements of the step down facility is giving our women support while they transition back into everyday life. The women have been in treatment from 60 to 150 days. Leaving the safety nest of recovery back into everyday life can be difficult. For this reason the Patrice House case managers require the clients to either take college courses, start volunteering in the community or find a “get well job.” This allows the clients to work out the difficulties of transition while having the support of a treatment team to process with.
To learn more about The Victorians step down facility The Patrice House click HERE!
May 16, 2012
A review of different eating disorder recovery workbooks and their approaches.
We have a running joke with The Victorian clients,
The clients bust up laughing at this because so many of them have tried relentlessly to cure themselves of their disease; with the help of Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
Today I’m going to be summarizing a few different books and workbooks that I have personally reviewed. I’ll give you my honest opinion of them. If you’re interested be sure to check them out through the links provided:
Research has proven that eating disorders are a form of an addiction. Similar to alcohol, gambling and sex addiction. The same part of the brain is triggered when a person is acting out in their addiction. As well, the same brain abnormalities and life deterioration follow these addictions. The success of the literature used in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous has been adapted to the12 Steps and 12 Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous. Members love the use of the workbook in conjunction to reading the 12 Steps and Traditions. Often reading and working simultaneously with a sponsor this book and workbook make a powerful duo in helping the reader apply the 12 steps to their life.
By: Allie Marie Smith and Judy Wardell Halliday
A recent study showed that 91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting. 22% dieted “often” or “always.” The non-profit, Wonderfully Made has created the H.E.A.L. Workbook to help young women on college campuses find eating disorder recovery. The non-profit and workbook are Christian based. The workbook references bible verses and most notable the verse in Psalm 139, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” The most noted element of the book is its ability to bring college aged girls together for support of each others eating disorder recovery. The use of Christian principles to address eating disordered behavior is also a great tool for that distinct people group. However, the workbook is largely based on Christians who deeply want recovery.
By Sharon Norfleet Sward, LPC
Written by a licensed professional counselor, this book is a comprehensive guide through what eating disorders are, identifying the emotions that go with them and creating a plan of action to change behaviors. The workbook is a great companion to the book with exercises and worksheets to help one on their journey to positive self-evaluation. As well as great insight into how and why certain behaviors accompany certain eating disorders and not others.
By: Christina DiMari
This leaders workbook and student workbook is designed for girls in a Christian setting. Perhaps a part of a weekly Bible group or attending summer camp. The narrative parallels metaphors about the ocean. The teachings are revolved around how how each girl is a priceless creation made by God. This is a preventative and restorative book for “Girls from 8 to 88.” There is a great deal of discussion about body image, however, no direct discussion around eating disorders.
I hope one of these books spark your interest. If not, you may want to search the term “eating disorder recovery books” into Amazon.com
Apr 17, 2012
Eating disorders are the most deadly of all mental illnesses. The shocking thing is more woman than ever are showing signs of them.
A common misconception about eating disorders is that eating disorders are limited to anorexia and bulimia. Peoples visual perceptions of eating disroders are also very misconceived believing that someone with anorexia and bulimia should physically appear gaunt and malnourished. To clarify, eating disorders range from anorexia, bulimia, diabulimia, pregorexia, exercise-bulimia and compulsive overeating. At times a person with an eating disorder can vascilate between all of these depending on their condition. In regards to weight, many eating disorder suffers do not look gaunt and slender. Depending on the persons body type, a person can be physically malnourished with their body ready to go into cardiac arrest and yet look healthy with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI.) These misconceptions explain why so many people are shocked to hear that three out of four women have eating disorders. Eating disorders are a mental illness and more often than not, can not be visually detected.
A study by ScienceDaily showed sixty-five percent of American women from 25 to 45 report having disordered eating behaviors, according to the results of a new survey by Self Magazine in partnership with the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.
An additional 10% of women report symptoms consistent with eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating disorder, meaning that a total of 75 percent of American women surveyed endorse some unhealthy thoughts, feelings or behaviors related to food and/ or their bodies.
“Our survey found that these behaviors cut across racial and ethnic lines and are not limited to any one group,” said Cynthia R. Bulik, Ph.D., William and Jeanne Jordan Distinguished Professor of Eating Disorders in the UNC School of Medicine’s department of psychiatry and director of the UNC Eating Disorders Program. “Women identified their ethnic backgrounds as Hispanic or Latina, white, black or African American and Asian were all represented among the women who reported disordered eating behaviors.”
“What we found most surprising was the unexpectedly high number of women who engage in unhealthy purging (bulimic) activities,” said Bulik, who is also a nutrition professor in the School of Public Health. “More than 31% of women in the survey reported that in an attempt to lose weight they had induced vomiting or had taken laxatives, diuretics or diet pills at some point in their life. Among these women, more than 50% engaged in purging activities at least a few times a week and many did so every day.”
Although the type of disordered eating behaviors the survey uncovered didn’t necessarily have potentially lethal consequences of heart attacks like anorexia or bulimia nervosa, women report they are associated with emotional and physical distress. And despite the stereotype that eating issues affect mostly young women, the survey found that those in their 30s and 40s report disordered eating at virtually the same rates. Findings show that:
- 75% of women report disordered eating or symptoms consistent with eating disorders; so three out of four have an unhealthy relationship with food or their bodies
- 67% of women are trying to lose weight
- 53% of dieters are already at a healthy weight and are still trying to lose weight
- 39% of women say concerns about what they eat or weigh interfere with their happiness
- 37% regularly skip meals to try to lose weight
- 27% would be extremely upset if they gained just five pounds
- 26% cut out entire food groups
- 16% have dieted on 1,000 calories a day or fewer
- 13% smoke to lose weight
- 12% often eat when they’re not hungry; 49% sometimes do
Eating habits that women think are normal, such as banishing carbohydrates, skipping meals and in some cases extreme dieting, may actually be symptoms of disordered eating.
The online survey garnered responses from 4,023 women who answered detailed questions about their eating habits. Please take this information and share it with your friends. Let them know that their extreme dieting and obsession over their physical appearance can turn into a life threatening illness if their not careful.
Mar 05, 2012
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2012 was a huge success! The masses partnered together to bring eating disorder awareness to all parts of the globe! Awareness was done via organizing walks, speaking engagements, workshops, writing articles, celebrity tweeting and even making street art. Check out some of the weeks high-lights!
National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is a week when everyone in the eating disorder recovery community partners up to spread awareness. This year, an overwhelming about of awareness was spread by activists, those in recovery and even celebrity’s! Demi Lovatto, singer, actress and former Disney star who is in recovery for her eating disorder sent out the following tweets on Twitter last week to her 6 million followers:
"24 million Americans are affected by eating disorders. Everybody Knows Somebody. #NEDAwareness."
"Most models are thinner than 98% of Americans. Instead of trying to change our bodies, how about we try to change our culture? #NEDAwareness"
"Research funding per individual: Alzheimer’s $88, Schizophrenia $81, Autism $44. Eating disorders? $0.93. Insufficient. #NEDAwareness.”
Along the same Social Media bandwagon many bloggers took the time to spread awareness via posts on their blogs. One very popular Mommy Blog, Rage Against the Minivan posted an article about Preventing Eating Disorders in Children. As well as various posts by Pyschology Today and Psych Central.
Everyone’s favorite eating disorder prevention non-profit Rewrite Beautiful held a School Program with the Costa Mesa High School Cheerleaders and Ensigh Jr. High School. Founder, Irvina Kanarek and Board Member Robyn Baker spoke with the students. The students heard an eating disorder recovery story, the physical trauma of eating disorders, participated in a Q&A panel and the opportunity to Rewrite Beautiful about themselves.
Across the country people organized NEDA Walks. Walks were held across the country, from Portland, Oregon to New York, New York. At the walks different college sorority’s, community groups and activists pledged money and walked for eating disorder research and treatment.
Did you also hear that the Empire State building was lit up one night in honor of NEDAwareness Week?
The award for the edgiest of all awareness strategies goes to Rewrite Beautiful for creating street art to bring awareness to eating disorders. The non-profit group held a Street Art Workshop on Sunday with their supporters. They took old CD’s and CD cases and spray painted them. They assembled them to spell Rewrite Beautiful, spray painted them and then asked the participants to write what makes them Creative, Kind and Strong on the CD’s. The street art was placed in front of Newport Harbor High School with sharpie markers for other participants to also find their own beauty; creativity, kindness and strength.
If you missed out on NEDA Week, don’t worry! You can still spread the word! Awareness is always needed. If you read an interesting article about eating disorders or hear about prevention, share it with your twitter followers and facebook friends. People always need to be educated. The more awareness the more lives that will be saved from the horrific disease.
Mar 01, 2012
Many are campaigning to add new eating disorders into the DSM-V which would mean more research funding and treatment for many.
One of my biggest frustrations is when I say ‘eating disorder,’ most people think anorexia or bulimia. But there are lots of different types of disordered eating—binge eating, compulsive night eating, obsessively health-conscious eating, diabulimia, pregorexia—and psychiatrists may officially recognize several ‘new’ eating disorders in the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistic manual (DSM.) The DSM guides the way psychiatrists diagnose and treat mental health patients, how insurance companies cover treatment, what researchers get grants for studying and the drugs pharmaceutical companies develop. We keep a couple of copies in the Victorian office for staff to reference.
Dr. Janet Taylor, a clinical psychiatry instructor at Columbia University’s Harlem Hospital, says, “Changes to the DSM are extremely critical that clinicians and patients have the ‘right’ diagnosis. Making a diagnosis is multi-faceted and involves an involved clinical history, knowledge of social conditions and evidence based criteria, standards and definitions that can be used worldwide.”
My own excitement in the DSM is due to the effects it will have on insurance coverage. Today, many go untreated suffering from their eating disorders because insurance company’s don’t recognize it as a deadly illness (which they are. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of all mental illnesses.) The changes in the DSM will not only make way for more people to get coverage, but more research can be done for eating disorders. Helping the treatment and prevention side of this awful disease.
Feb 06, 2012
Every year The Victorian sets aside one week to prevent the most deadly of all mental illnesses, eating disorders. Read more on how to participate in National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2012 in big and small ways!
The Victorian sees the damage and pain eating disorders cause everyday which is why we anticipate the one week in February when when we get to prevent them! Joining forces with the National Eating Disorder Association, non-profits and activists around the world we all do our part in spreading eating disorder awareness through outreach, social networking and speaking engagements. We call this week NEDAwareness Week, February 26th – March 3rd 2012. This years theme is Everybody Knows Somebody. Meaning we all know someone who is struggling from an eating disorder. One in three women suffers from either anorexia, bulimia and compulsive overeating. As well, two million men in the USA alone are suffering from eating disorders.
Help fight eating disorders during NEDAwareness Week by spreading the word!
1st – Register for NEDAwareness Week
Visit the NEDAwareness Week homepage here http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/programs-events/nedawareness-week.php to register and learn how you can do just one thing to help raise awareness and become part of the solution.
2nd – Post a Video
Post the following video to your Facebook page to let others know about NEDAwareness Week! video: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nedawarenessweek/6637023569/
3rd – Get Creative
This year NEDAwareness Week is having a Calendar Art contest: NEDA is hosting a contest for art submissions of all kinds for their 2013 NEDA Calendar of hope and recovery, to be sold in the NEDA store. Download the contest flyer for details to send to a friend! Click here for the online submission form. Submission deadline: April 15th, 2012
4th – Attend a Webinar for Volunteer Speakers and Dad’s
Some of the most passionate for eating disorder prevention are survivors and their fathers. Attend a free webinar where you can learn how to be the best eating disorder awareness speaker you can be: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/programs-events/nedawareness-materials-online-use.php#Webinar_Links
5th – Join the Twitter Campaign
This year we are working on a new Twitter Campaign during NEDAwareness Week to start a “trend” on twitter and get some major attention. We are developing some twitter posts about key messages that we are asking all our Partners, Sponsors, Volunteers and Activists to tweet each day of the week. We would love to have you join in with tweets about eating disorder statistics, your own experiences and links to articles.
If you are a teen and want to get involved you are definitely not left out!
Teen Activist Guide
If you are a teen who is passionate about changing what you see in the media or speaking out about eating disorders this guide gives you step-by-step instructions and suggestions on how to get involved. Register for NEDAwareness Week and Check "Proud2Bme" on your registration and NEDA will send you a FREE teen activist guide!
Teen Blogging Guide: Check out the brand new teen blogging guide with tips on how to start a blog, stats on eating disorders, how to share your story responsibly and setting boundaries for yourself. Register for NEDAwareness Week to download this free guide!
To find out more about NEDAwareness Week visit the webpage: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/programs-events/nedawareness-week.php
Please let me know how your campaign to spread awareness during NEDAwareness Week goes! If I can be of any help or support to anyone please leave a comment below and I will be sure to respond. Thank you all for your support and don’t forget Everyone Knows Somebody! You’re helping a ton of people! Thank you!
Jan 02, 2012
It is not uncommon for people suffering with addictions like eating disorders to go in and out of rehabs multiple times. This isn’t the fault of the addict or the rehab, it is simply the unique manifestation the addiction takes in each person. Still, we beg the question, when does an eating disorder get better?
During the time I worked as Support Staff at the Victorian I met hundreds of different clients. Each were different ages, demographics with different stories and back grounds but, all of them had one thing in common, powerful addictions. Many of the women in their 50’s had been in several treatment facilities. I met women as young as 18 who had been given treatment at 9 different rehabs since the age of 9. For myself, as a staff member it was incredibly discouraging. I can only imagine that as a parent or a loved one with an addiction, this news is devastating.
The only hope I can offer, is that though I have seen many women suffer with an eating disorder for years, I have also seen those same women accumulate years of abstinence. Some of those same women have worked at The Victorian and are able to offer support and hope for those in similar situations.
So the question is, “What is the magic combination that makes someone with an addiction ‘get it’? What makes recovery stick?” The only thing I have seen help women maintain abstinence from an eating disorder is DAILY working on their recovery. The best method I have seen for doing that is the 12 Steps of Overeaters Anonymous. The 12 Step program requires women to incorporate recovery as a part of their lives. As it is said in the Overeaters Anonymous literature. “The addiction to food and/or absence is it is a spiritual, mental and physical disease which needs to be treated accordingly.” Therefore, being a part of Overeaters Anonymous requires:
· Attending Meeting weekly
· Working with a Sponsor
· Serving others
· Being authentic and accountable to a group of women who are also in recovery
· Working on yourself through the 12 Steps
Time and time again I have seen women who thought they “had it this time” and didn’t need any more counseling or 12 step meetings and then lose their recovery due to stress in their life. Recovery is a way of life, I encourage anyone who is searching for the solution to this disease to check out the rooms of Overeaters Anonymous. They also have specific meeting available for Anorexics and Bulimics as well which we take our Victorian client too.
Dec 30, 2011
Holiday season 2011 is almost over with New Year’s Eve on the horizon the Victorian Recovery blog has some tips to keep you abstinent when bringing in the New Year!
The mixture of Holiday food, family members and nostalgia can brew a strong cocktail that is hard to swallow for anyone, but especially those struggling with an eating disorder. New Year’s Eve is just a couple days away and most of us have big expectations on how to bring in the New Year. For the majority of women it includes a sparkly new dress, a champagne toast, being surrounded by our closest friends and a hot New Year’s kiss! However this pictures is easier staged with a stylist and paid models than with demanding real life friends and places elicit the joy that we expect.
It’s kind of like the perfect Christmas picture where the family sits around the fire, laughing at each others jokes and drinking hot cocoas. This Christmas picture is one we are all familiar with, but very few have actually been in it. Therefore in eating disorder recovery we learn to adjust our picture. We change what we deem, “Picture Perfect” in life and on Christmas and that takes away a lot of the stress off the Holiday and our loved ones.
I suggest we do the same for New Year’s. Forget the New Year’s picture some stylist from Macy’s created years ago in order to sell more dresses and crystal and create your own traditions! Some of the following alternatives are some of my favorite, that I have done the past couple of years.
Game Night + Fire Works – Gather a bunch of friends together and hold a kick-back game night at someone’s house. Watch the countdown to New Year’s on TV in New York and when New Year’s hits go outside and light some sparklers or fire works to celebrate the New Year!
Sober Party’s - Many of our women are also struggling with alcoholism. Thus a New Year’s surrounded by alcohol isn’t ideal. However, Alcoholics Anonymous holds great sober party’s for young people and older groups that I have been told are a ton of fun.
New Year’s Day Hiking – My personal favorite is to gather a bunch of friends and go on a New Year’s Day hike! Southern California has the most amazing frontier and we never lack in amazing new trails to enjoy!
New Year’s Open House – Some of my friend’s host this every year and I love it! They open up their house to all of their friends from 11 am to 11pm. They have movies going on their TV’s, old records to listen to, puzzles, games and even some concoctions for those with hangovers to nurse themselves. Everyone enjoys just staying in their PJ’s all day and hanging with the friends they love. Good times!
I hope that this post helped you to think outside the box on the way you celebrate New Year’s this year. Whatever you do, I hope that just like eating disorder recovery that you practice listening to your inner compass and that it leads you into a beautiful and healthy 2012!
Dec 20, 2011
Our very own Program Director, Michlle Smith LVN will be speaking about eating disorders on the Trinity Broadcasting Network!
Our beloved Program Director, Michelle Smith LVN recently taped a show for Public Affairs – Joy in Our Town on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. The topic was eating disorder treatment and prevention. Michelle was joined by the non-profit Rewrite Beautiful and Robyn Baker, an eating disorder survivor. The women spoke about what causes eating disorders, treatment, prevention and the responsibility of the media. It was an amazing, informative and dynamic show that we’re all very proud of it! The show runs for a half hour. Be sure to check it out!
Public Affairs – Joy in Our Town
January 13th at 10 am
January 16th at 8:30 am
January 19th at 3 am