3 Considerations for Maintaining Recovery in College

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Maintaing eating disorder recovery while in college can be particularly challenging. In this week’s blog post, Clementine Portland Student Intern Erin Holl discusses these challenges and some strategies in how to manage them. 

Eating disorders affect people of all ages and from all walks of life, but are particularly prominent among students in college. College can be an exciting time of newly-found independence and self-exploration, it may also be a time of significant stress and vulnerability. In the interest of recovery maintenance, hope for making the transition into college should be accompanied by identifying and safety planning around the challenges of this environment. The following are three challenges facing college students maintaining recovery from an eating disorder:

Relocation and Roommates

Beginning college often means a new place of living. Relocating housing is stressful at any point in life, but particularly so when that move includes changing regions, leaving family and familiarity, and taking on new roommates. Leaving the familiarity of home can also mean leaving an existing support structure. When relocating to a new region, it is important to proactively establish a new supportive community of friends and professionals. Though some are fortunate enough to find friendships amongst new roommates, these individuals are not always positive influences on recovery maintenance. Living in close proximity to individuals with disordered eating patterns can be a challenge, though one minimized by awareness and planning.

Competitive Environment

The acutely competitive nature of the college environment is no secret. In this culture students are encouraged to test their limits in order to academically achieve at the highest level. Further, the achievements of one student are frequently compared to the efforts of others rather than previous personal achievements. This cultural norm of comparing self to others and forgoing a balanced life in the pursuit of achievement in one area can be a particularly insidious challenge for students maintaining recovery from an eating disorder. Students in such an environment could benefit from intentionally planning for and cultivating balance between work and self-care as well as identifying personal goals and values around achievement. Additionally, students may find that practicing transparency with professors and advocating for alternative educational needs can create a more hospitable academic environment.

Inconsistent Structure and Schedules

Between course schedules shifting every few months, occasional extended breaks, and the increased workload around midterms and finals, college living provides little of the consistency in structure that is important for students maintaining recovery. This lack of structure often results in increased demands for accountability from the individual, particularly in regards to practicing self-care, engaging in appropriate levels of movement, and planning regular meals and snacks. Students may create increased structure by mindfully assessing their individual needs as well as generating and implementing realistic schedules that support sustained wellness. Furthermore, students who initiate participation in regular check-ins with primary support persons minimize the potential for isolation in their increased personal accountability.

The challenges facing students maintaining recovery from an eating disorder during the transition into college can be significant, but are largely able to be mitigated by proactive planning and accessing available supports. The three challenges noted here only begin to address what students can expect to encounter in this period of high stress. Engaging in party culture and risky behaviors, limited funds to provide for basic needs, and social media-driven socialization are just a few of the other obstacles that may present to students pursuing higher education. Fortunately, clinicians have the ability to aid clients in preparing for the college experience with the appropriate knowledge and skills that will support recovery maintenance.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


What Do I Say to My Child Away in Eating Disorder Treatment?

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Becky Henry is trained as a Certified, Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC) and uses those skills to guide families to let go of fear and panic, learn self-care skills and become effective guides for their loved one in eating disorder recovery. In this week’s blog post, Becky shares valuable tips of what to say to your child who is away in eating disorder treatment. 

Your child has been away at a treatment center for about a week – maybe just 3-4 days and you get THE CALL! Your child, weeping or crying hysterically on the other end. “MOM! Help get me out of this place! They’re so mean to me!”

First, I am so sorry that this illness takes away our real kids from us. And I’m so sorry that no one gave you help in how to respond.

What do you say?  Hopefully the treatment center gave you a heads up that this is very COMMON.

Your job, once you’ve prepared yourself to be calm, rational and objective is to hang in there. Knowing this is VERY normal as the team is challenging the eating disorder (ED) a lot right now makes it very scary for your child. ED’s voice is VERY loud right now.

Keep loving him/her where he/she is at. Trust the model. Remind him/her that he/she is safe and that this is part of the process.  Remind him/her to lean on the staff when he/she needs support, that is what they are there for. Tell him/her she is brave. Acknowledge how scary and hard this is for him/her. Tell him/her you will always love him/her and be there for him/her. And that he/she can do this – one step at a time.

It might be useful to have something like this by your phone (or in your phone):

“Honey, I’m so sorry, it sounds so very hard and scary. I’m so proud of you for working so hard. I know. I love you. It will get easier. uh huh. yeah. WOW. Bummer. That sounds really scary. I know you can do this. Please remember to take one moment at a time. I love you.” 

And then repeat it each time he/she calls.

Know that ED is fighting for his very existence and is not going to give up easily.  When ED feels threatened he ups the ante.  This is what your child is up against. He/she needs you to be strong and not back down.

Then it won’t shred you to bits. As much. Loving a child is painful sometimes. Keep loving your child where they are at. Even when you want your child healthy and back home with you. For now you can do this.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Part Two: Don’t Look in My Lunchbox! An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares an important letter from a mother’s perspective in this week’s blog post. Cherie continues with an “open letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere”.  

10 Things you need to know before you speak (read 1-4 HERE)

5. It is estimated that at least 10 to 15 percent of children and up to 80 percent of all special needs children struggle with some form of feeding disorder or challenges. Some children have complex food challenges, allergies, or anxieties – they can be physical or mental. Many of these challenges are not obvious. My child may have severe anxiety in social situations or loud environments (like a lunchroom) and become overwhelmed and distracted. Therefore, they must consume calorically dense, safe foods – foods you may not consider nutritious – in an effort to meet their energy requirement for the remainder of the school day. My child may have ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and may avoid foods based on certain qualities – such as texture, color, taste, or temperature. As such, my child may only have 3-4 foods total that he/she will eat. If you shame my child about what is in their lunchbox, they may eat nothing. Your words may have just eliminated one of my child’s “safe” foods – therefore harming them and erasing a source of energy.  

6. There is little research on the effectiveness of healthy eating and weight initiatives in schools. In fact, there have been studies that have indicated that a potential unintended consequence of these programs and schools monitoring lunches was the development of an eating disorder in children who were susceptible or genetically predisposed. The children who are negatively impacted by these programs are typically students who excel in academics and extra-curricular activities and view the healthy weight initiatives as another measure of their success. So, please be careful with your words. They may compel to my perfectionistic child, my rule follower, to embark on a competition to be the “healthiest” kid. I know you would not want to be the trigger that caused a child to develop a life-threatening eating disorder or unhealthy food and exercise behaviors.

7. Research suggests that up to 50% of the population demonstrate problematic or disordered relationships with food, body and exercise. In our culture, there is an obsession with size and weight (thinness), diet and exercise. In fact, research has indicated that 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fatYour words may result in my child having disordered eating which could include chronic yo-yo dieting, frequent weight fluctuations, rigid and unhealthy food and exercise regime, feelings of guilt and shame every time my child eats a food you have instructed is “unhealthy” or they gain weight or they are unable to maintain exercise habits. Your instruction could potentially cause my child to be preoccupied with food, body and exercise that causes them distress and has a negative impact on their quality-of-life. It could result in my child using compensatory measures such as exercise, food restriction, fasting, purging, laxative use, etc., in an effort to “offset” any food consumed. It is estimated 35-57% of adolescent girls and 20-30% of adolescent boys engage in crash dieting, fasting, self-induced vomiting, diet pills, or laxatives. You likely do you not realize the impact your words can have on my child’s mental and physical health – for the rest of their life. It is important you understand disordered eating is a serious health concern. Detrimental consequences could include a greater risk of obesity (the very thing you’re trying to prevent), eating disorders, bone loss, gastrointestinal disturbances, electrolyte imbalances, low heart rate and blood pressure, increased anxiety and depression, and social isolation.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 


When Emotion Mind Wreaks Havoc on our Behaviors

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Clementine Briarcliff Manor Primary Therapist Dana Sedlak, LCSW discusses the progression of “emotion mind” to “wise mind” in eating disorder treatment. In this week’s blog post, Dana explains how our emotions are directly tied to our behaviors and some strategies used to support clients in recognizing and moving past maladpative behaviors.

One of the most difficult parts of treatment involves identifying and understanding one’s thoughts and feelings. This can be more challenging for those with eating disorders whose function has served as a numbing agent for several unwanted emotions. It has become natural and sometimes habitual to dismiss feelings in order to feel in control. Through DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy), teenagers are introduced to the idea of Distress Tolerance: Unfortunately, pain is a part of life and therefore one must learn how to manage difficult emotions.

Many teenagers speak to having an increase of emotions once they begin completing their meal plan in treatment. We often wonder whether they are experiencing more emotions due to many of their eating disorder behaviors decreasing or because they are becoming more connected to themselves and others due to the therapeutic process. Despite the reasoning behind this, the increase in emotions is extremely uncomfortable for them. They often report feeling easily overwhelmed by these emotions with little confidence in coping with them. The danger in this scenario is that without intervention, emotion mind leads right back to use of destructive behaviors. They then become stuck in what often feels like an endless cycle.

The beginning of this cycle includes a precipitating event that is identified as the trigger. This could be anything from a death of a loved one to getting a poor grade on a test. One’s emotions then start to bubble up, including depression, desperation, anxiety, and worthlessness. Shortly after these emotions then turn into thoughts that become fueled by these emotions. “I can’t deal with this anymore” and “I’m so dumb, I might as well just stop trying” are prime examples of these emotion-driven thoughts based on the triggering event. As we know from CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), the thoughts also quickly turn into behaviors. This is where one’s eating disorder and co-morbid illnesses take hold. Restricting, binging, purging, over-exercising, self-harming, and other similar behaviors serve as protective measures that protect one’s ego/self-esteem in order to avoid these thoughts and emotions.

Once the behaviors have initially subsided, consequences are likely to appear. This could occur in either the short or long-term, but often results in loss of freedom, relationship problems, health problems, or a worsening of symptoms. Emotion mind revs up and creates more feelings of depression, anxiety, being overwhelmed, and an increase in shame because of these consequences. These emotions now feel intolerable again and one resorts back to what she thinks works: Covering up these emotions through more behaviors.  Before she is even aware, she becomes stuck in this cycle of suffering all over again.

The goal through DBT is to intervene at the beginning stages of this destructive pattern. It is vital in recovery for one to be able to appropriately identify and feel one’s emotions. It makes sense for someone to feel sadness after a death or anxiety after doing poorly on a test. We never want to invalidate this part of the experience. What we would like to change comes in-between the negative thoughts and the behavior use. At this point in the cycle, one must learn to challenge her thoughts and then seek self-soothing coping behaviors to gain the same sense of protection and security that the eating disorder often creates. This can come in the form of one’s five senses of sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Go outside in nature, listen to your favorite song, smell a candle of a scent that brings you peace, take a warm bath or shower, or sip on your favorite drink.

Through continued intervention and practice, emotion mind will mold into wise mind where one no longer needs to use the eating disorder to manage and push away the emotions. Instead, one has gained the courage to face the emotions as they are. By breaking this cycle, one becomes vulnerable enough to know and believe that she is completely capable of working through any emotion that arises. It is then that one can begin to slowly and surely let go of the old destructive behaviors that no longer serve the same purpose.

 

References: “Out-of Control: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)-Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Workbook for Getting Control of Our Emotions and Emotion-Driven Behavior”

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 


Article Spotlight

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Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

 

How to use Meditation for Teen Stress and Anxiety Cleveland Clinic

How is Hating Your Body Serving You? Huffington Post

How to Keep a Recovery Mindset During Finals Week Angie Viets

4 Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season without Compromising Your Recovery Recovery Warriors

5 Ways I’m Managing my Mental Health Through the Holidays The Mighty

5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Recovery Over the Long Term Project Heal

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Don’t Look in My Lunchbox! An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

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Clementine Advisory Board Member Cherie Monarch shares an important letter from a mother’s perspective in this week’s blog post. Check out the first of two posts written by Cherie…

10 Things you need to know before you speak

An Open Letter to all teachers, coaches, school personnel, educators, parents, and frankly, everyone, everywhere…

Dear Teacher,

I can’t thank you enough for your dedication and inspiring my child to love learning. You truly are a hero to me and my child.  I want to thank you for your concern for my child’s nutritional wellbeing and wanting my child to be healthy. It is greatly appreciated. But with all due respect, it is important for you to know that I am my child’s mother and I know their nutritional needs better than anyone.

Here are a few things you likely don’t know:

  1. My child may have a sibling who has struggled with an eating disorder. As a result of the genetic link, my child is 10 times more susceptible to developing an eating disorder than the average population. It is important that my child eats ALL foods. I do not want my child being encouraged, instructed, or told that he should not eat certain foods. Your words could potentially be the catalyst for food restriction and negative energy balance which could trigger an eating disorder for those prone.
  2. Foods do not have moral value. I do not want my child being taught that some foods are good and some foods are bad. Yes, some foods may offer more nutritional value than others, but all foods have purpose. Some may offer more vitamins, but others may offer comfort, celebration and nurture their spirit. Nutrition is about balance. I want my child to eat all foods and learn all foods are good in moderation. Balance is key.
  3. You do not know a child’s medical history, needs and conditions. Therefore, I encourage you to not instruct any child on their food choice or monitor their lunch boxes for content. A student could have a hematologic condition where their blood clots faster than normal. Ingesting vegetables, which are loaded with vitamin K, could actually harm them by creating a blood clot. A child with this condition needs to have a limited amount of vitamin K. The child could also be suffering from an eating disorder or a brain condition, you can’t tell by looking at them. They may need additional fats in their diet.
  4. Are you aware that the average person needs 30% fat in their diet for normal brain function? You telling my child not to eat NO fat or low-fat may cause their brain to atrophy and may cause them to have memory problems. Having fat in my child’s diet can actually make them smarter. You see, their brain is comprised of 60% fat. So, their brain needs fat in order to function correctly.
  5. It is estimated that at least 10 to 15 percent of children and up to 80 percent of all special needschildren struggle with some form of feeding disorder or challenges. Some children have complex food challenges, allergies, or anxieties – they can be physical or mental. Many of these challenges are not obvious. My child may have severe anxiety in social situations or loud environments (like a lunchroom) and become overwhelmed and distracted. Therefore, they must consume calorically dense, safe foods – foods you may not consider nutritious – in an effort to meet their energy requirement for the remainder of the school day. My child may have ARFID – Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and may avoid foods based on certain qualities – such as texture, color, taste, or temperature. As such, my child may only have 3-4 foods total that he/she will eat. If you shame my child about what is in their lunchbox, they may eat nothing. Your words may have just eliminated one of my child’s “safe” foods – therefore harming them and erasing a source of energy.

 

We are exited to share the opening of Clementine Malibu Lake. Learn more about the program by visiting our website or calling an Admissions Specialist at 855.900.2221.

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Article Spotlight

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Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

 

Adolescence and the Power of Mistakes Psychology Today

6 Ways to Build Trust with Your Body in Eating Disorder Recovery Angie Viets Blog

Halloween in Recovery: To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate? Recovery Warriors

How to Reach out to Someone in Eating Disorder Recovery  OnBeing

What Dads Need to Know About Parenting a Child who has an Eating Disorder More-Love

A Meditation Ritual to Relieve Stress & Anxiety Mind Body Green

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


Southern California Clementine Opening

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Monte Nido has been strongly rooted in the eating disorder treatment field with over twenty years of providing treatment in California. We consistently refine program components that are integral to our clients’ ability to become fully recovered, and listen to what professionals tell us there is a need for.

With that in mind, we are delighted to announce that Monte Nido & Affiliates residential treatment program, Clementine, will be opening in the Malibu area in early 2018 for adolescent girls. Created to be sensitive to the developmental needs of this younger population, Clementine tailors medical, psychiatric, clinical and nutritional care in the comfort of a home with the highest level of medical and psychiatric care outside of a hospital. Our adolescent-centric team provides decades of experience in a collaborative environment rarely offered to teens and their families.

All of the Monte Nido & Affiliates programs are connected through our shared histories, vast overlap in mission, treating all clients as people first, dedication to evidence-based eating disorder treatment and our belief that being fully recovered is possible. The Monte Nido and Clementine programs will deliver treatment to adults and adolescents in California, while maintaining their own unique approaches and age- appropriate program components. We hope you will make time to be personally introduced to our Clementine program, meet the team and receive education from the experts who guide our programs through attending any of our upcoming events.

 

For more information about Monte Nido please call 888.228.1253, visit our website and connect with us on FacebookLinkedInTwitter, and Instagram.


Maintaining Recovery in College: Part Two

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Senior Director of East Coast Clinical Programming Dr. Melissa Coffin, PhD, CEDS continues our series on tips for women entering or returning to the collegiate environment after treatment. We hope these tips will assist you in navigating this transition and embolden you to truly enjoy your college experience.

Dr. Coffin has been a pivotal member of Monte Nido & Affiliates since 2008 and has extensive experience in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and compulsive over-exercise. She has presented nationally on eating disorders, body image, food rules and self-care at conferences by the National Eating Disorder Association, the Binge Eating Disorder Association, and the International Association for Eating Disorder Professionals.

Embrace change. College is an exciting time in life and it is ripe with new opportunities. Be open and flexible to the changes that come with it even if it means trying something that you’ve never done before.
Be mindful. With all of the opportunities in college you have to pick and choose what is most important so you don’t spread yourself too thin. Be conscious around how you spend your time and what you commit to as that will shape your experience.
Engage in self-care. Make sure to schedule time in each day to relax and take care of yourself, even if it’s just for a short time. Having rest, sleep, and time to decompress regularly will help to keep your stress in check.
Stay connected. Not only will you be forming new relationships in school, you still have your family and friends at home. Use your resources to stay connected with old and new.
Ask for help. It’s OK to ask for help from family, friends, and professionals if you need it. There are those on campus that can help you with your mental health, medical health, academics, financial issues, social needs, career planning, et cetera. Reach out and ask for what you need. The counseling or health centers are usually good places to start.

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn about summer programming at Clementine, please visit our website or reach out to an Admissions Specialist.


Article Spotlight

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Join us in reading inspirational and informative articles we have cultivated from across the web. If you have found an article you feel is inspirational, explores current research, or is a knowledgeable piece of literature and would like to share with us please send an e-mail here.

 

A Letter to Parents of Children Heading to College Psychology Today

5 Truths About Eating Disorders the Stereotypes Don’t Show The Mighty

Motivation to Recovery: Adolescent Research on Anorexia Eating Disorder Hope

Why Yoga is an Excellent Practice While in Eating Disorder Recovery, and What Parents Should Know More Love

Who Are You Recovering For? Project Heal

 

For more information about Clementine adolescent treatment programs, please call 855.900.2221, visit our websitesubscribe to our blog, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

To learn about summer programming at Clementine, please visit our website or reach out to an Admissions Specialist.