November 2015 - Monthly News & Tips
IN THIS ISSUE
"The Emily Program’s amazing and caring staff worked so hard to give me my life back. I finally know what it means to live without a constant fear of food. Recovery is a long path, but one I couldn’t have traveled without the amazing members who served on my treatment team." - A Former Emily Program Client
As the temperatures fall and trees shed their leaves, we begin to prepare for more indoor time with family and friends. This includes all the holidays that occur over the next couple months, beginning with Thanksgiving.
At The Emily Program, we know holidays can be stressful for a variety of reasons. During the holidays this stress might be related to extra family time, busy schedules, more social activities, trying to "get through" the parties and meals, or supporting someone who is struggling with an eating disorder. We get it. A lot happens this time of year.
Our staff want to help everyone enjoy the seasonal festivities as much as possible. To make this happen, a few staff are preparing to offer some words of encouragement, tips, and advice leading up to, day of, and a couple days after Thanksgiving. Watch our social channels between Monday, Nov. 23 and Saturday, Nov. 28 for our #ThanksgivingSupport. Our goal is to provide you, our clients, families, and friends, extra support in order to better enjoy the gatherings surrounding Thanksgiving.
Each day during Thanksgiving week our staff will offer some extra support through some short video vignettes. We also invite you to comment or reply on the posts to share your own tips, advice, and positive thoughts that do help or have helped you enjoy a happier and healthier Thanksgiving.
Lisa Diers and Christy Zender also give a quick overview in the video below.
An extraordinarily important study, "Neural mechanisms supporting maladaptive food choices in anorexia nervosa," was recently published in Nature Neuroscience and opens up a new understanding in anorexia treatment. Led by Drs. Joanna Steinglass and Timothy Walsh, the study looked at the brain activity of 21 women with anorexia and 21 healthy women using brain scans.
While complicated, the data from this study suggests that when anorexia has been present for a long time, eating disorder behaviors become ingrained and habitual, rather than a choice being made by the client. To put this another way, the idea that eating disorders are a sign of habit, rather than a sign of increased willpower now seems to be evident from brain scans.
People often make the assumption that those with anorexia are choosing to have these behaviors, so if they made different choices they could get better. But, this study offers significant evidence that clients are not making choices, but rather the behaviors are habitual and they are engaging without choice.
The implication of this is that treatments that might work for other conditions, such as antidepressants and standard cognitive therapies, are likely to not be effective in anorexia clients because these treatments are not designed for habituated chronic behaviors. Therefore to treat anorexia, new behaviors must be substituted for the dangerous behaviors of the eating disorder.
The study also suggests that early intervention in an intensive way is the best approach to prevent an eating disorder over a lifetime. This is the case because the ability to interrupt eating disorder behaviors before they become habitual is far easier than changing habits once they have been established and ingrained.
Therefore, for adolescents, Family-Based Therapy where a child is re-fed by their parents, as opposed to cognitive therapies to make better choices, is more likely to be successful. Also, direct behavioral interventions, often possible only in higher levels of care, rather than standard outpatient cognitive therapy, may be the most important advances for adults with anorexia.
While not definitive and certainly just the first piece of an important new direction in research, this study, which was covered on the front page of the New York Times, opens up the field to a new area of research and understanding of how to help those who suffer from eating disorders.
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.
Only 1 percent of men and women who suffer from eating disorders receive treatment. And of those that receive eating disorder treatment, only 35 percent get treatment at a specialized facility for eating disorders.
For effective and long-lasting treatment, it's crucial to receive care by a health professional with expertise and experience in dealing with eating disorders. Eating disorders are complex and treatment must address the physical, behavioral, emotional, and cognitive aspects of the illness. A multidisciplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, dietitians, and others are recommended for the most successful outcomes.
Steve Beitelspacher, Outpatient Authorizations Support
Steve Beitelspacher joined The Emily Program in 2013 as a temp to help us convert our electronic health records to a new system. Soon he was hired on full time in March 2014 to join our client services team.
"I appreciated how professionally and diligently the people heading the conversion processes handled a very tense three-plus weeks, and I knew I wanted to be part of that team," he said.
Today, Steve spends his days verifying insurance coverage for clients and setting up their billing information in our electronic health records system.
It's a critical position because payments and insurance can be very confusing and stressful for our clients. But, while the insurance is ultimately between the client and their insurance company, many aspects of their care focus around that company's requirements. That's where Steve can help.
Learn more about Steve and why we think he stands out!
TEP: What advice can you offer new clients when it comes to insurance coverage?
Steve: You pay a lot of money to your insurance company in premiums — not just for coverage, but also for their assistance to help navigate through your coverage. Don't be afraid to call your insurance company and ask questions, and even ask for a supervisor if you're not getting clear and consistent messages.
TEP: What's one misconception about insurance and eating disorders?
Steve: Many insurance companies don't truly understand how different treatment approaches or treatment combinations can benefit a client struggling with an eating disorder diagnosis. Nutritional support would seem to make sense for treatment, or awareness of and being present in one's own body, for example. Yet many insurance companies do not offer coverage for services that speak to these therapeutic approaches within a treatment plan.
TEP: Favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
Steve: Green bean casserole.
In St. Paul, MN:
Tuesday, November 10: Begins at 6:30 p.m. at 2265 Como Ave, St. Paul, MN
Speakers: Aimee and Amy
Aimee: Aimee lives in St. Paul with her boyfriend, where she is busy completing her graduate degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and helping to fix up their old house. Since age 12 she has struggled with an eating disorder. She also has battled co-occurring mental illness, alcohol dependence, and sexual abuse. Throughout it all, her constant companion was the eating disorder. Her journey toward recovery began when she went to The Emily Program. She participated in group and individual counseling, accepted support from her family and loved ones, and found meaning and purpose in her life different than the destructive desires of the eating disorder. Recovery is a mixture of acceptance, self-compassion, and forgiveness; as well as a lot of hard work, patience, and time. She plans to specialize in the treatment of eating disorders.
Amy: Amy struggled with an eating disorder for 15 years. Throughout her treatment at The Emily Program, she was able to identify several important turning points and key realizations that helped to guide her way on this crazy journey to recovery. After having lived in a very strict world of black and white run by ED, she now is able to see some of the different shades of gray in-between that actually constitute much of our lives. By learning to be vulnerable and realizing that she is deserving of treatment, she has been able to regain a life that is based upon her own morals and values, without any input from ED. With support from a couple of amazing psychologists, her dedicated teams at The Emily Program, her incredible husband, and her loving family, she was able to find her true self and continues to be a work in progress. Amy's philosophy on recovery is that every action that goes against ED, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you or others (i.e. fighting a single ED thought, trying out a healthy coping mechanism) is what it means to be in recovery - it's about progress, NOT perfection!
Join us the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8 p.m. to hear stories of inspiration and hope. Please note: Beginning in 2016 our St. Paul Recovery Nights will be held quarterly instead of monthly.
In Cleveland, OH:
Wednesday, December 2: Begins at 6:00 p.m. at 25550 Chagrin Blvd, Suite 200, Beachwood, OH
Speaker: Mark Warren, TEP's Chief Medical Officer
In Lacey, Seattle, and Spokane, WA:
Upcoming Recovery Nights will be held in 2016. Click here to view all upcoming Recovery Nights in Washington, Ohio, and Minnesota.