September 2015 - Monthly News & Tips
IN THIS ISSUE
"I would recommend The Emily Program. It is very holistic. It is very sound. It offers support in so many areas of life. My eating disorder has permeated all areas and I've been learning to do things that I never thought possible." - An Emily Program Client
Around this time each year many families must adapt their routines to accommodate for a new school year. After a summer filled with little routine, stress can start to build from the now lengthening "to do" list that comes with school – getting to school/work on time, homework, after school activities, attending and supporting said after school activities, conferences, etc. The transition to a new schedule can throw off even the most organized people.
Parents and kids need to find their new routine amidst the various schedules. There will likely be some give and take to have a semi-smooth shift during this transition. While figuring out what this looks like, be sure that self-care doesn't get left out. Each family member should find time in their new schedule to do something that helps them feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Fitting self-care into the new routine can be tough, but is needed for a clear mind and to function at full capacity. Self-care helps maintain physical, emotional, and mental well-being.
As the busy days and nights get filled, remember to take time for yourself (daily if possible). Below are just a few ideas for self-care of the mind, body, and soul.
For the mind:
- Take a new route to work or school. Mixing things up keeps your mind sharp.
- Do a mini-meditation. Take one minute to be aware of your thoughts, your breath, your body.
- Turn electronics off. Put your phone on silent and turn off the computer, TV, and tablet. Pull out a bound book to read, play a game with the family, or go for a leisurely walk. Unplugging for even 30 minutes can help calm your mind.
For the body:
- Get outdoors for some fresh air or to just absorb some natural vitamin D in the sun (use sunscreen when appropriate).
- Move your body in a way that is fun and energizing for you.
- Do some deep breathing to relax. Inhale through your nose and feel your abdomen fill with air. Slowly exhale. Repeat three or four times.
For the soul:
- Do a random act of kindness. Smile at people you pass, open a door for someone, give a compliment, volunteer. The act can be small or big, either way doing something kind for someone else can improve your well-being.
- Play with or cuddle a pet. This could be your pet or someone else's (ask before playing, petting, or cuddling if the animal doesn't belong to you). Animals are great companions and can be good for reducing stress.
- Schedule a date with yourself. Use an hour (or more) to do something you really enjoy – reading, strolling around a museum or a mall, take a long bath, etc.
The transition from carefree summer days to a routine for school and/or work may have some bumps. Be kind and patient with yourself and your loved ones as you're all getting used to the new schedule. And make time for self-care as you establish your routine for the upcoming days, weeks, and months. It will help you feel more connected to yourself, your loved ones, and the world around you.
An issue that often arises in eating disorder treatment is the role of medications. For the most part, they have not been shown to be extraordinarily useful in treating eating disordered clients. This is particularly true in anorexia nervosa, where there has been to date no medications shown to help reverse the course of the disorder itself.
For bulimia nervosa, however, there are multiple reports that show high doses of SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), in particular, Prozac, have lowered the urge to purge. In fact, some studies say it's as much as 50 percent effective in bulimia clients.
In addition, there is some data to support stimulants Vyvanse or Adderall can diminish binging for people with binge eating disorder. (This finding is still under review by the medical community.)
A client with bulimia or binge eating disorder may be a candidate for these medications and should have a psychiatric evaluation to determine if they could be beneficial. Be aware that stimulants, in particular, should not be used outside of a formal treatment setting as they have significant potential risks, including appetite suppression.
But even with these options, evidence suggests that clients with eating disorders require psychotherapy as the primary treatment for their disorder. Medications should only serve as a supplement — not substitute — for evidence-based therapies.
Now for comorbid conditions that often accompany eating disorders, medications may be used. For example, depression and anxiety are present in more than 50 percent of clients.
As a result, antidepressants are often used in eating disorder treatment. Their use may diminish comorbid symptoms and, therefore, eliminate barriers for psychotherapy to help treat the underlying eating disorder itself.
But professionals and families alike must be aware that malnutrition does impact the effect of medications. For example, many medications that may ease depression and anxiety do not work in a malnourished state.
Because of this, the role of medications in eating disorder treatment is actually quite complex. Therapists must first know which medications are available and appropriate for the client's diagnosis. They must be aware of their side effects and how they relate to eating disorders. Then, they need to understand the client's comorbid complaints, the stage of the disorder and finally, the client's nutritional status.
So over the course of treatment, which may take several years, multiple medications may be used at different times. Medications that were once helpful at one stage of treatment may not be useful during another.
It's important to regularly ask if the medications you're taking are appropriate for your stage of treatment. And, make sure you have a specialized psychiatrist who works with your eating disorder treatment team to monitor your medication's usefulness.
Mark Warren, MD
Chief Medical Officer, The Emily Program
The Emily Program addresses common misunderstandings about eating disorders and related issues in our Did You Know section.
There is such a thing as too much exercise.
While in most cases exercising is important for good health, too much exercise and not enough calorie absorption in the body can be harmful and even dangerous to your health.
Excessive exercise, sometimes called compulsive exercise, can cause health problems, including dehydration, overuse injuries, such as stress fractures, osteoporosis, bradycardia or low heart rate, and arthritis.*
Common signs that a loved one may be over exercising is if they exercise even when injured or sick, avoids social situations to exercise, and panics or experiences anxiety if they miss a workout.
To learn more about what to watch for, read When Does Exercising Become Unhealthy? on our blog.
*This information was gathered from The Alliance for Eating Disorder Awareness.
Laurie Mueller, Therapist
Laurie Mueller first joined The Emily Program in 2006 as a therapist. In 2009, she moved to Denver with her family. While in Denver she continued her work as an eating disorder therapist at another facility only to return to The Emily Program three years later in the same capacity. She has always had a passion for helping people with eating disorders.
"I truly care about each and every one of my clients, and I feel honored that they share their struggles and victories with me," she said.
Today, Laurie spends her days providing individual therapy at the outpatient level of care. She works in the Burnsville, MN, location to provide group therapy, meal support, and case management. Lastly, Laurie is part of The Emily Program's intake team, where she performs a client's initial assessment.
Laurie graduated from the St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas with a degree in clinical social work.
Learn more about Laurie and why we think she stands out!
TEP: What advice do you offer new clients?
Laurie: I always try to commend new clients for taking the first steps to recovery. Starting treatment can often be a challenging and scary thing and I want to applaud everyone who walks through our doors. I also want to offer clients a sense of hope. Recovery is possible!
TEP: What advice do you offer longtime clients?
Laurie: Sometimes the recovery process can be longer than expected. I [tell clients] it's important to remember that recovery is not a linear process. There are ups and downs and it's normal for recovery to take awhile. I also think it's important to focus on the victories and progress clients have achieved since starting treatment.
TEP: Favorite fall activity?
Laurie: Fall is my favorite season! I love watching the trees change colors. One of my favorite fall activities is taking my girls to the pumpkin patch and carving pumpkins.
In St. Paul, MN:
Tuesday, September 8 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. at 2265 Como Ave, St. Paul, MN
Speakers: Shira Lynn and Nicole
Shira Lynn: It has been a long journey. Shira Lynn couldn't deny it any longer. She knew she had an eating disorder, but was nowhere near ready to face it or even attempt to live life without it. As her life and world crumbled down and her soul began to tear apart and break at the seams, she sought help. It wasn't until Shira Lynn believed she could recover that she started living life and began to emerge from the dark hole of the eating disorder. Today, living in active recovery, she still sometimes believes it's a fairy tale dream, a dream come true. She also knows that putting in the effort to continue living a purposeful life and a life worthy of sharing and remembering, is her new reality, and it is incredible. Shira Lynn truly believes anyone, at any stage, can recover.
Nicole: Through treatment at The Emily Program, Nicole came to understand that she used food as a means to curb her anxiety and subdue her depression. Treatment taught Nicole how to listen to her mind and body and be in tune to her whole self. Nicole is grateful for the opportunity to share her recovery story. Nicole is a 27 year old southern MN native whom now lives in Minneapolis and works as a marketer in Golden Valley.
Join us the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8 p.m. to hear stories of inspiration and hope.
In Spokane, WA:
Tuesday, September 22 from 6:30-8 p.m. at 2020 East 29th Ave, Ste 200, Spokane, WA
After losing weight, maintaining that loss, and working at Weight Watchers for 10+ years Mary's binge-eating was starting to feel uncontrollable. Because of injuries over the past 4 years, her exercise/fitness level had deteriorated and the combination of the two resulted in significant weight gain. She felt like a failure and had to do something. Mary read an article about The Emily Program and figured she'd give it a try.
In Lacey, WA:
Thursday, September 24 from 6:30-8 p.m. at 673 Woodland Sq Loop SE, Ste 330, Lacey, WA
Kristy is a body positive warrior, fitness fanatic, and mother to three children. Her recovery journey has taken her away from the painful world of fad diets, extreme binges, and all kinds of self hate. She owns a fitness franchise in Kent and works with women of all ages and sizes to help them discover their own meaning of health and wellness.
In Seattle, WA:
Upcoming Recovery Night will be held Oct. 21 from 6-8 p.m. at 1700 Westlake Ave N, Ste 700, Seattle, WA