Posts Tagged ‘For Providers’

Autism and Eating Disorders

A child with an anxious expression sitting in front of a plate of food.

Note: In this blog, we use identity-first language (e.g., “an autistic individual”) to reflect the preferences of self-advocates who embrace autism as an identity category – a diverse way of perceiving and interacting with the world (Taboas et al., 2022; Bury et al., 2020). However, we recognize that preferences for this language vary; whenever possible, please ask an individual what they prefer.

Living with and treating an eating disorder may be complicated by the presence of a co-occurring condition, particularly when the condition shares characteristics with an eating disorder. One such condition that shares some psychopathology with a disordered eating mindset—and is frequently seen alongside an eating disorder diagnosis—is autism spectrum disorder.

There are a number of factors that increase the risk of disordered eating or an eating disorder in an autistic individual. By looking at the nature of both eating disorders and autism spectrum disorders, we can better understand their relationship and improve the detection, care, and treatment of both conditions.

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Episode 78: Occupational Therapy and Eating Disorders with Maddie Duzyk

Maddie Duzyk

Episode description:

We begin this episode of Peace Meal with guest Maddie Duzyk describing her lived experience with anorexia as it compares to her life in recovery. Reflecting on the everyday impact of her eating disorder, she explains how the illness made it difficult to distinguish between her own values and those of her disorder. Fortunately, treatment and recovery have allowed her to find herself again and reconnect with her interests and roles separate from the illness she once mistook for herself. 

As an occupational therapist, Maddie now helps clients on their own recovery journey, including during the often difficult transition from higher levels of care to outpatient life. She shares with us her recent doctoral capstone, which explored the perceptions of social eating behaviors among adolescents with eating disorders, and provides suggestions for those supporting a person with an eating disorder during mealtimes. She ends the podcast by expressing her hope that one day clients and providers alike will recognize and employ occupational therapy as an additional resource in eating disorder recovery. 

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How to Recognize Eating Disorders in Your Patients Over the Holidays

A Thanksgiving place setting

The holiday season is beginning. Although this time of year can bring much joy, it can also come with difficulties, especially for those with eating disorders. In a season that often involves large shared meals, diet talk, and an abundance of sweet treats, it’s no wonder that this time may be challenging for a person struggling with disordered eating or an eating disorder. 

When seeing patients during the holiday season (and all year long), providers like you have a unique role in recognizing eating disorder symptoms. Your appointments are a valuable opportunity to notice signs of trouble and provide support during what is often the most challenging time of year for those with these illnesses.  

Read on to learn about the challenges facing those with eating disorders during the holidays, as well as what providers can do to support those struggling.

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Understanding Eating Disorders in the Hispanic & Latinx Community

A woman sits in front of a computer

Our society continues to perpetuate the myth that eating disorders are an issue primarily affecting young, thin white women. While research on eating disorders in marginalized groups has improved, our society has a long way to go to truly understand the scope of eating disorders within underserved populations.  For example, though rates of binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa in the Hispanic community are often the same or greater than in non-Hispanic white communities, they often go undetected due to stereotypes about eating disorders (Alegria et al., 2007).

Racism is embedded in the world at large and trickles down to national and state levels, institutions, policies, procedures, and systems of care. Its presence also heavily predicts both mental and physical health outcomes. By educating ourselves on the lived experiences of Hispanic and Latinx Americans and learning how racism operates within the systems that provide services, we can build our collective cultural humility and ultimately improve access to care and health outcomes for this community.

Read on to learn the prevalence of eating disorders in the Hispanic and Latinx population, the factors that influence the development of these illnesses, and the barriers to treatment for this community. 

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Episode 77: A Collaborative Approach to Treatment with Beth Harrell

Beth Harrell

Episode description:

In this episode of Peace Meal, guest Beth Harrell, MS, RD, LD, CEDRD-S, discusses her experience in the eating disorder field, and reflects on how much eating disorder education and training has evolved since she got her start in the early 1990s. The bedrock of Beth’s career success is collaboration. She emphasizes the value of learning from clients’ lived experiences, as well as from the wisdom and vulnerability of fellow professionals. As a certified eating disorder supervisor, Beth debunks the notion that supervision is just case consultation. She guides from a place of mentorship and trauma-informed nutrition care, largely inspired by the perspective-broadening experiences she had with her own supervisors.

Beth is a collaborative and weight-inclusive nutrition professional who has worked with eating disorders, disordered eating, and chronic dieting for the past 30 years. Her work spans all levels of care, treating a full spectrum of diagnoses and ages. Beth’s passions are anything that includes learning and teaching. She has an educational podcast for eating disorder professionals (The SeasonED RD) and carries this knowledge into professional supervision, as well as a graduate elective course for dietitians each fall semester.

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How to Identify Signs of Suicide in Patients With Eating Disorders

Woman looking contemplative with her hands support her chin

Eating disorders impact about 30 million people in the United States. They are associated with high levels of premature mortality, including an increased risk for suicide. Without treatment, up to 20 percent of people with a serious eating disorder will die. Much like eating disorders, suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or any other demographic categorization. 

As providers, there are certain warning signs of suicidal thinking that you should be looking out for, as well as an appropriate way to approach someone when you spot these warning signs.

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