January 2016 - Monthly News & Tips
IN THIS ISSUE
"Finding The Emily Program was like finding a second home and family. This is a support network that will never give up on me and tries to help everyone, no matter what stage or eating disorder they may or may not be suffering from." - A former Emily Program client
Though the holiday festivities have passed, thoughts of our families and loved ones stay with us. Most people reading this newsletter either have an eating disorder or have known someone who has struggled.
We know that eating disorders are neurobiological illnesses. We know they have physical and psychological expressions. They cause enormous pain and sufferers may go to very dark places to deal with it.
Eating disorders are not a choice. They are not desired. They affect 10s of millions of people in this country, yet only about 10-20 percent get treatment. Many are shamed, misdiagnosed, or ignored. Some will die.
To have an eating disorder is to have a disease that destroys connection. The brain and body become disconnected because one piece of the brain — the brain's communication center — malfunctions. This malfunction causes the brain and body to disconnect. The body can scream in hunger and the brain will not hear.
An eating disorder also causes emotions and sensations to disconnect from thought. This is why you can't talk someone out of an eating disorder. All of our powerful thoughts do not change behaviors when crucial connections inside the brain have been lost.
The pain of the eating disorder is terrible, and sufferers, their loved ones, their community all feel this pain. But, there is hope. In fact, there is more hope now than ever before for those who suffer.
To overcome these disorders, we must come together in understanding. No one is to blame for an eating disorder. Only the illness is to blame. To get better from an eating disorder, one must connect to community, treatment, a commitment to healing, and the necessary nutrition.
It's important to help each other along the way to well-being and to remind ourselves of all that is good in our community and world. From there, let us set out to go to work with friends, family, community, Congress, the media, doctors and nurses, schools and coaches, and anyone else who can help to create a world where people who suffer can be set free.
By connecting to each other and to those who suffer, we help to get each person to a place where they also can connect to themselves — brain to body, feelings to thoughts, the person in pain to their community. In this New Year, let's make it a resolution to let our kindness and understanding help those in pain find the way to connect both inside and out.
Mark Warren, MD
Chief Medical Officer, The Emily Program
Eating disorder awareness week is the last week of February. In preparation, we are collecting eating disorder information from those who are struggling, have struggled, have a loved one who currently has or has had an eating disorder, and those who work within the field. Our #ExplainingED campaign will shed light on some of the dos, don'ts, insights, hurt, shame, resilience, recovery, and other factors that come with an eating disorder. By talking about it, we can hopefully help people understand how serious the illness is and give an honest perspective from anyone who has been affected by an eating disorder.
We hope that #ExplainingED will provide a platform to openly share some of the truths about eating disorders. And with your help we can offer honest perspectives from those who have been affected. Together we can broaden awareness and share our voices on this important topic.
The University of California, San Diego is seeking participants for their fMRI study on bulimia nervosa.
This research uses fMRI to assess how the brains of individuals who have recovered from or currently have bulimia nervosa may respond differently during various tasks related to reward decision-making and self-regulation. To participate or learn more about all their current research click here.
The Emily Program addresses common misunderstandings about eating disorders and related issues in our Did You Know section.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States, impacting an estimated 30-40 percent of adults seeking weight loss treatments.
It's estimated binge eating disorder affects 3.5 percent of women, 2 percent of men, and up to 1.6 percent of adolescents.* It is slightly more common in women than men and affects people of all demographics across cultures.
Binge eating disorder is as serious as any other eating disorder. A combination of risk factors may cause binge eating, such as dieting, genetics, family history, related psychological conditions, and substance use, but no single factor causes binge eating. At The Emily Program, we've been treating binge eating disorder for over 20 years. If you have questions or want to learn more about BED, we're here for you.
*Source: National Eating Disorder Association
Stephanie Shelton, Pre-Independent Licensed Therapist
Stephanie joined The Emily Program team this past June after moving to Minnesota from New York City to accept this position. It's been a major adjustment for her, but she's enjoying the change.
"I'm loving the people I have met, the pace as compared to the Big Apple and especially getting to work with a population that I'm passionate about," she said. "Having watched many people close to me struggle to find comprehensive treatment in other states, it's important to me to be a part of this work."
Stephanie works with outpatient adolescent families adult clients. She provides consistent support and encouragement, and though this may look different for each client, her message remains the same: I am here to help you through this struggle.
Stephanie received her undergraduate degree in drama from New York University before deciding to switch careers. She later went on to earn a Master's in Social Work from Hunter College in New York City.
Learn more about Stephanie and why we think she stands out!
TEP: What's your favorite part of your job? Least favorite?
Stephanie: My favorite part is learning people's stories and seeing their progress. My least favorite part is having to talk to clients about attendance policies. It's important for them to commit to the program because that's how the real change is made, but it's also a requirement for insurance and billing purposes. Luckily, it doesn't happen very often.
TEP: What's the biggest concern you hear from clients?
Stephanie: I hear this all the time, "I have tried everything. How can this be any different?" My response to clients is that TEP is not a "quick fix." Instead, it's valuable self-work and personal mindfulness that will not only address a person's eating disorder, but also what is beneath the illness. It might feel uncomfortable at times and there might be bumps in the process, but it's all part of it. It's hard, but it's worth it.
TEP: Any New Year's resolutions?
Stephanie: Take an art class. I'm not "good" at art, but who cares!
In St. Paul, MN:
Tuesday, January 12: Begins at 6:30 p.m. at 2265 Como Ave (lower level), St. Paul, MN
Mitchel: Mitchel struggled with severe Tourette Syndrome and OCD, beginning at age 6. By the age of 11, bulimia began to control his life—this firm grip lasted until the age of 22. Thanks to a strong willingness to help others with their own challenges, a wonderful support system of friends, family, and professionals, and a successful dietary plan-of-action, he has been symptom-free for nearly 8 years. His journey before, during, and throughout recovery is something that he is genuinely grateful for, due to the new found integrity and conviction that he has found for life. Mitchel is a Special Education Assistant for at-risk youth in North Minneapolis, and is applying to receive his Masters in Social Work. He is an avid volunteer, public speaker, and activist for a multitude of causes—a way of living that has led to self-liberation and actualization. He now attempts to empower others with empathy and truth.
In Seattle, WA:
Wednesday, January 20: Begins at 6:00 p.m. at 1700 Westlake Ave N, Suite 700, Seattle, WA
Some of Elisa's earliest memories are of compulsive eating behaviors, despite a loving, connected and privileged childhood. When she approached 30 she tried to stop in earnest, but every attempt to control it resulted in getting worse. Then Elisa got connected with a recovered compulsive eater who took her through the 12 steps. By taking the continued actions to maintain fit spiritual condition as outlined in the 'Big Book' of AA, she has found a freedom from compulsive eating behaviors that she never thought possible. She is grateful for the opportunity to share her story in hopes that it might help someone.
In Cleveland, OH, Lacey and Spokane, WA:
Upcoming Recovery Nights will be held in 2016. Click here to view all upcoming Recovery Nights in Washington, Ohio, and Minnesota.