National Eating Disorders Association

The value of relationships cannot be understated. The relationship the patient has with their bodies and their health care providers are two of the most crucial. So many have felt isolated and ashamed and being able to step into a truly "judgment-free zone" with a provider can be life changing. When a patient leaves the office with an inclusive, engaging care plan, there is a visible lightness about them! With that lightness comes long-term positive changes in health. 

Here are four ways that you, as a provider, can create a safe space for patients: 

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Yes, eating disorder treatment involves all the wonderful things that are delicately spelled out in pastel pamphlets. Yes, there can be yoga mats and Rumi and more gentle nodding than the normal neck could take. 

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"Dear KJ" is a monthly advice column by Dr. Kjerstin "KJ" Gruys, sociologist, author and body image activist. She holds a Ph.D. in sociology with a focus on the politics of appearance and is the author of Mirror Mirror Off the Wall: How I Learned to Love My Body By Not Looking at It for a Year (Avery Press, 2012).

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Professional support for an eating disorder can be expensive, so as you transition into college, it’s important to know what resources are out there to help you find support that fits your budget. While your school’s counseling center can be a great resource to start seeking support, many counseling centers aren’t designed to provide long-term support for students. 

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Truth #1: Many people with eating disorders look healthy, yet may be extremely ill.

Truth #2: Families are not to blame, and can be the patients’ and providers’ best allies in treatment.

Truth #3: An eating disorder diagnosis is a health crisis that disrupts personal and family functioning.

Truth #4: Eating disorders are not choices, but serious biologically influenced illnesses.

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The Butterfly Foundation, an Australian organization that provides support for Australians who suffer from eating disorders, recently released findings from their report, Investing in Need: cost effective interventions for eating disorders.

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Anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating disorder affect up to 5% of young women, are associated with high use of medical resources, but often go unrecognized in medical settings. Men with eating disorders are even more likely to elude detection. All physicians should be alert to signs and symptoms of these relatively common behavioral disorders. Most cases respond to specialist treatment, although rates of medical morbidity, functional impairment and mortality are high, especially for anorexia nervosa, which has the highest mortality of any psychiatric condition.

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“Being a research subject may sound scary, or evoke images of being treated like a human guinea   pig, but it’s nothing like that at all.”  (Marty) 

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I recently received the following e-mail of thanks from a father who contacted NEDA for resources and references to help his daughter. This letter was so moving and inspirational that we wanted to share it with all of you, because it is supporters and donors like YOU who make our life-saving work possible!

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