The Importance of Counseling for First Responders
As we navigate through these challenging times in our world, it becomes increasingly vital to shine a light on the mental health...
Do you feel as though your relationship with food and your body image has gotten out of control? Or perhaps, it has become as though you have become a slave to that voice inside you that dictates how or what you can eat be in order to be acceptable, attractive, or clean. You may even feel like no matter how much you eat, what you eat, or what you do to compensate for that is ever enough. This leaves you feeling that no matter what you do, you’re never good enough.
Has your body become your enemy? As a culture, we’re bombarded by negative influences that constantly reinforce the negative belief that we should not accept how we look and encourage us to fight our bodies for control of our appearance. Eating disorders embrace those messages and magnify them making it a constant struggle to go out in the world, to be who you are, and do what you used to love to do, especially if you have not been compliant with the food or exercise demands that the disorder impresses upon you.
Friends and family may also start to become concerned with one’s eating disorder and may note that their loved one has become withdrawn, is starting to appear physically unwell, or seems distracted and tortured around food. They may eat in secret, have drastic changes in their eating patterns, or be overly focused on weight, size or appearance. It is important to know that these struggles are serious, even if their size or weight has not changed.
Getting help for an eating disorder may seem impossible, daunting, or shameful. Eating disorders are often very private struggles and isolation from friends and family may serve to protect their secret. Further, you or your loved one may not be ready to recover or doubt that recovery is possible which makes taking that first step towards recovery very difficult.
Eating disorders are on the rise across all age groups, genders, races, and socioeconomic groups. Once thought to be a young white woman’s disease, we are now aware more than ever of the devastating impact eating disorders have within all groups of people. Sadly, Anorexia and Bulimia and other subtypes of eating disorders are being diagnosed in record numbers. What does this mean for you? This means that you are not alone.
Millions of people will struggle with eating disorders during the course of their lives. The scariest statistic for these individuals is that if left untreated they may suffer greatly or ultimately die from factors associated with their illness. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. However, catching it early and treating to completion allows for full recovery and greatly lessens the chance of a later relapse or ongoing struggles.
We also know now that eating disorder diagnoses are not dependent on weight. Binge Eating Disorder and Anorexia were once thought to only include obese or emaciated individuals, respectively. However, we now understand that the effects of eating disorders can be devastating regardless if a person has endured a significant weight change or not. This means that you don’t have to be emaciated or obese to have an eating disorder. Mortality and major physical effects of disordered eating occur regardless of one’s weight or BMI.
So, now you know that you are not alone and yes, your eating disorder is serious. However, you may still struggle to believe that your problems are severe enough to need help or you may feel that your identity is too fused to your eating disorder to change. We understand this and our team will work to meet you where you are at in your process. We will address your fears of losing control of yourself, work at your pace and work to challenge the barriers to recovery that may present themselves along the way.
If you think you need help, then very likely you do and don’t wait! Imagine how amazing it would feel to finally be freed from the bonds of your eating disorder. You can get your life, and own identity back. Real control over body image and food is possible, but only in recovery.
The road to recovery may be bumpy and long, but total recovery from an eating disorder is possible. Thousands of people recover completely from their eating disorders and one’s chances improve the earlier they are treated and if their team is specialized in this form of treatment. You need to trust your team. Having the right group of professionals in your corner is essential to this process.
Since eating disorders are psychological, nutritional, and physical in nature it is important to have a multidisciplinary team approach to treatment. Our eating disorders team has over a decade of experience in the field and is comprised of a therapist and nutritionist who are both certified eating disorder specialists. We seek to provide the best possible care and as a result, will work with your medical or other outside providers to provide the highest standard of care.
Our team approaches treatment from a Health at Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive or Mindful Eating perspective. We view recovery as more than just weight restoration, loss or maintenance. We treat the whole person and work with individuals, as well as, families to address the core issues contributing to the origins and maintenance of the eating disorder, as well as, the issues related to one’s identity and societal pressures which challenge the recovery process.
Our team will also provide support in your own environment. We offer meal support, family nutritional coaching, and in-vivo exposure therapies inside and outside of the office. Our Eating Disorder Specialists provide therapy in both Spanish and English in effort to best meet the needs of our south Florida community.
How do I know if my struggles with food, weight or body image are really an eating disorder?
During the intake phase of treatment, we will complete a thorough assessment to explore your relationship with food, weight, and body image. Based on the severity and nature of your presenting issues, we will provide an accurate diagnosis and make recommendations for continued care. Our team members are experts in the field and will accurately diagnose or rule out the presence of an eating disorder during this initial phase.
People have expressed concern about my relationship with food and weight, but I don’t believe I have a problem.
It is common to doubt and minimize the severity of an eating disorder. Eating disordered thoughts often will rationalize dangerous or concerning behaviors by telling you that your needs are significantly different from others, that you are just trying to be healthy, or that your body is inappropriate in some way and needs to be changed in order to be acceptable. Further, body image distortion is very common in eating disorders and those struggling will often see themselves as larger or more flawed than they are.
Is eating disorder therapy covered by my insurance?
There are several reasons why we do not accept insurance as an in-network provider. One of the reasons is that it reduces your privacy and confidentiality. Insurance requires that your therapist provide you with a psychiatric diagnosis that goes on your medical health record and can negatively impact you in many ways.
We want you to be an informed consumer and to have the opportunity to remain in control of your care without the restrictions of insurance. However, if you aren’t concerned about getting a diagnosis and you have a PPO plan, we could discuss going through your out of network benefits. Let us know during your initial call if you want to use insurance and we discuss how this works.
Treatment is too expensive.
Outpatient eating disorder treatment is a significant investment. This is true. However, it is far less costly than the medical expenses that will pile up as a result of ongoing eating disordered behaviors, the loss of relationships, and the cost of diet products or binge food. Further, higher levels of care can cost upwards of thousands of dollars per day, which compared to outpatient treatment, is significantly more.
As a result, we respect your investment in you or your loved one’s care. Our team offers competitive rates and works on a sliding scale to make sure that our clients can receive the care they need at a fair cost.
I am afraid if I give up my eating disorder then I will lose my identity.
This is a common fear. Many people who suffer with eating disorders feel as though their eating disorder is both their best friend and their worst enemy. They feel fused to the disorder and struggle to imagine a life without it. However, with help from a team of experts, you can break free and learn how to not just manage without your eating disorder, but thrive in your life.
If I slow down or stop restricting, exercising or purging won’t I become fat and then feel worse?
This is a common misconception. Exploring where your body’s natural weight set point can be scary. However, research shows that people are more likely to gain weight and encounter higher body weights due to a lifetime of restricting, yo-yo dieting, and compensatory behaviors. It seems crazy to think, but eating intuitively not only helps your body to maintain your healthy weight, but also leads to healthy beliefs about your body shape and size.
If you or your loved one is in need of help for an eating disorder, disordered eating, and/or poor body image, we are here to help. Call us today at 954-391-5305 to speak with one of our certified eating disorder specialists for a free 15 minute consultation. We are currently accepting new clients and look forward to speaking with you!
We offer face-to-face sessions as well as online therapy via phone or video sessions on a secure, HIPAA compliant platform. Our team of expert counselors in Fort Lauderdale and Coral Springs are here to help!