November 2016 - Monthly News & Tips
IN THIS ISSUE
Many people know, whether from their own experience or that of a loved one, that eating disorder treatment is rarely a quick process. Often there are many stages of treatment patients must go through as they move toward recovery.
First, a client must stop negative behaviors and normalize their nutritional status and weight. Then, the client and their treatment team can tackle negative body image, co-existing conditions, such as depression and anxiety, and any other issues depending on the needs of each individual client.
At times, it may feel as if the treatment is hard and clients may get an impulse to move away from it. Weight restoration, eating differently, stopping behaviors—whatever the work to be done—may feel impossible. The pain of treatment may make no sense. The support of loved ones may not feel like it is enough. What we know, however, both from a psychological and neurobiological standpoint, is that it is critical to remain in treatment.
From a psychological perspective, we know it’s hard to get better alone. It’s difficult to keep one walking on the path of recovery. And we know that eating disorders respond much better when there’s a multidisciplinary team to provide support.
In addition, neurobiological research suggests our ability to interact with others is in fact a key factor in brain neuroplasticity—the ability to “re-wire” our brains—which helps clients get to a life worth living.
There is new research that we are only beginning to understand its impact on eating disorders. It suggests that the presence and resonance that being together with others helps to bring the brain changes necessary to move to a full recovery.
So even though sometimes it may be hard, staying in treatment is the way to go.
Mark Warren, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer, The Emily Program
A combination of genetics, personality, and environmental factors put individuals at risk for developing eating disorders. Data suggest that personality traits such as negative emotionality and perfectionism, along with sociocultural idealization of thinness (often amplified by media exposure) may interact with and influence genetic risk to cause disordered eating.1
1Culbert, K.M., Racine, S.E., & Klump, K.L. (2015). Research Review: What we have learned about the causes of eating disorders - a synthesis of sociocultural, psychological, and biological research. 56(11): 1141-64.
'Tis the season for open enrollment—your once-a-year chance to make choices and changes to ensure your health insurance plan is tailored to your needs.
Navigating your options can be complex and confusing. Below are some tips that might help.
Know when your open enrollment period begins and ends.
- Enrollment varies at workplaces, but for most it's a 30-day period in the fall.
- For state health exchanges, open enrollment for 2017 begins November 1, 2016 and ends January 31, 2017. December 15, 2016 is the last day to enroll in or change plans for coverage to start January 1, 2017. Details about enrollment can be found at healthcare.gov.
Re-examine your benefit needs.
- Learn the nuts and bolts of each plan available to you so you can pick the one that best fits your needs.
- Your employer or state health exchange may have an online tool to help you compare plan choices. The Emily Program also has a tool if you're looking for a plan that offers the most comprehensive eating disorder treatment plan.
Satisfied with your current plan?
It's important to make sure the plan is still right for you. Ask yourself:
- What challenges did I have in 2016? Was I able to get the care I needed easily or was I limited by my network?
- What are my health care priorities for the coming year? Make sure your plan comprehensively covers the treatments you rely upon now or may need in the future.
Budget for future health care costs.
- Consider a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). Both health funds save you money to pay for certain medical expenses tax-free.
Alexandria Hudeck, Eating Disorder Technician, Cleveland Residential
In May of this year, Alexandria Hudeck joined The Emily Program’s Cleveland residential center as an eating disorder technician. Eating disorders were always an interest of hers in school and she knew this was the field she wanted to work in.
“Eating disorders are a complex and destructive disease and knowing that I could have firsthand experience working with and helping these individuals made this job the perfect fit for me,” she said.
As a technician, her main role is support, especially during meal times. Meals can be one of the most difficult parts of the treatment process, so she often encourages clients to use the skills they have gained in treatment to get through them. She also reminds patients of their goals and works hard to keep them motivated to stick with the program.
Alexandria graduated with University Honors from Bowling Green State University in May with a psychology degree. She plans to return to school next year to get her doctorate so she can eventually become a practicing psychologist, working in eating disorders.
Learn more about Alexandria and why we think she stands out!
TEP: What’s your secret to building trust with clients?
Alexandria: I believe being honest with clients is the best way to build trust. If I cannot answer a question, I direct them to the person who can answer their question. I also believe that finding things to relate to with a client is important. Building a bond over something like the love of animals or music allows me to connect with clients on a more personal level.
TEP: What advice can you offer a new residential client?
Alexandria: I always tell new clients to allow themselves some adjusting time. It can be very overwhelming the first couple of days, kind of like the first day of school, but once they get into the swing of things it will settle down. I also remind patients that the team is there for them whenever they need us and if they need support to make sure they ask. That's what we are here for!
TEP: Favorite Thanksgiving side dish?
Alexandria: Mashed potatoes. My mom makes the best mashed potatoes and homemade gravy! It's for sure one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving.
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You cannot control the results, only your actions. -Allan Lokos