Fall 2014 LACPA Eating Disorder SIG events

The Los Angeles County Psychological Association Eating Disorder SIG is kicking off the membership year with 2 great events.  Join LACPA now to take advantage of these and other events. 

1)  Date:  Thursday, October 23T-FFED

Time:  7- 8:30 pm

Presenter:  Dagan VanDemark

Title: TRANSforming Eating Disorder Recovery: Deconstructing the Overrepresentation of Eating Disorders in Trans and Gender Diverse Individuals, and How Healthcare Professionals Can Better Serve Our Communities

While under-treated and still under-researched, preliminary studies and countless anecdotes demonstrate that transgender people suffer from eating disorders disproportionately. This workshop will introduce how trans and gender-diverse people are vulnerable to and struggle with EDs, and conduct a basic training for health professionals looking to offer more trans-friendly, gender-literate and accessible care.  

Location:  The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 245, Los Angeles)

Bio:  Dagan VanDemark is the Founder and Executive Director of the pending non-profit T-FFED: Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders, based in LA but quickly gaining national reach. Dagan, a genderqueer trans boi, battled bulimia/EDNOS for fifteen years. They have a B.A. in Gender Studies from CSULB, a certificate in Grant Writing and Administration from CSUDH, and they are enrolled in both the Non-Profit Management certificate program at UCLA and a transgender leadership initiative through Gender Justice LA. They speak on university panels about gender variance and sexual diversity, and write/blog extensively about transgender communities’ experiences with eating disorders.

2)  Date:  Wednesday, December 3Aimee Liu

Time:  7:15 – 8:45 pm

Presenter:  Aimee Liu

Title: The Stages of Recovery 

Location:  The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 245, Los Angeles)

Bio:  Aimee Liu is the author of Restoring Our Bodies, Reclaiming Our Lives (Trumpeter Books, 2011), a benefit project for the Academy for Eating Disorders, and of Gaining: The Truth About Life After Eating Disorders (Wellness Central, 2007), a sequel to her acclaimed 1979 memoir Solitaire.  Her novels include Flash House (Warner Books, 2003), Cloud Mountain (Warner Books, 1997), and Face (Warner Books, 1994).  She also has co-authored more than seven nonfiction books and written numerous articles on medical, psychological, and political topics. She earned her MFA from Bennington College and now teaches in Goddard College’s  MFA in Creative Writing Program. 

More information is available at www.gainingthetruth.com

Please RSVP to drmuhlheim@gmail.com (2 H’s in Muhlheim)

SIG meetings are open to all LACPA members. Nonmembers wishing to attend may join LACPA by visiting our website www.lapsych.org

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Ten Facts About Weight Stigma – Guest post by Liliana Almeida, M.A.

As a follow-up to last week’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week, here are 10 facts about weight stigma.
Liliana Almeida, M.A.

By: Liliana Almeida, M.A.,

Registered Psychological Assistant to Lauren Muhlheim, Psy.D.

 

  1. Weight stigma is a bias or discrimination relating directly to weight. Despite the fact that more than half of U.S. citizens are overweight, our society holds a strong negative bias against fatness.
  2. The media reinforces weight stigma. The media, such as news media, displays obese persons in stigmatizing ways by depicting them sitting and eating unhealthy foods, wearing ill-fitting clothes, headless, or with their abdomens showing.
  3. Weight stigma is based on the belief that obesity is under one’s personal control. This belief suggests that obese persons are undisciplined and inactive. However,when obesity is attributed to uncontrollable factors such as diabetes or hypertension, people’s attitudes change. 
  4. Weight stigma exists in romantic relationships. Romantically,obese partners are less preferred.  They are less preferred in comparison to those who are in wheelchairs, mentally ill, or those who have sexually transmitted diseases.
  5. Weight stigma starts as early as preschool.  Children ages 3-5 negatively characterize overweight children as mean, ugly, stupid and sloppy.As children get older they start believing their overweight peers are lazy, less popular, and less happy. College students report that their overweight peers are lazy, self-indulgent, and less attractive, with low self-esteem and deserving less attractive partners.
  6. Teachers have a weight bias towards heavier students. They believe their overweight students lack self-control and are less likely to succeed.
  7. Health professionals are also biased. Health professionals treating individuals with eating disorders report believing that obese patients do not comply with treatment recommendations and perceive poor treatment outcomes. Those strongly biased believe obesity is due to overeating and lack of motivation.
  8. Overweight or obese individuals have internalized stigma. The most common anti-fat bias among overweight individuals is the belief that they are lazier and less motivated than thinner individuals. The failed attempts of overweight individuals to lose weight may cause them to begin to internalize society’s beliefs that they are lazy and lack will power.
  9. Weight stigma increases binge eating. Weight stigma causes psychological distress such as depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It is also associated with poor body image and increased fear of fat.
  10. Weight stigma experiences are as common as other forms of discrimination. In women, it is as common as racial discrimination. In some cases, it is more common than gender and age discrimination. 

Liliana Almeida, M.A., is a fourth year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in Los Angeles. She received her M.A. from The New School and her B.A. from Rutgers University. During the last 7 years she has researched eating disorders, obesity, and weight stigma. Her clinical experience includes working with diverse clients in a community mental health center providing cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic psychotherapy in English and in Spanish.

Liliana will be working under my supervision and is available to work with adult and adolescent clients with eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.  She will provide services in English and Spanish as well as her native Portuguese and will be able to provide some low-cost therapy to those in need.

If you are interested in more information, please visit Liliana’s website or contact me at 323-282-3572 or drmuhlheim@gmail.com

References 

Ashmore, J.A., Friedman, K.E., Reichmann, S.K., &Musante, G.J. (2008). Weight-based stigmatization, psychological distress, & binge eating behavior among obese treatment-seeking adults. Eating Behaviors, 9, 203-209.

Chen, Eunice & Brown, Molly. (2005). Obesity Stigma in Sexual Relationships.  Obesity Research, 13, 1393-1397.

Cramer, P., & Steinwart, T. (1998). Thin is good, fat is bad: How early does it begin? Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 19, 429-451.

Friedman, K., Reichmann, S., Costanzo, P., Zelli, A., Ashmore, J., & Musante, G. (2005). Weight stigmatization and ideological beliefs: relation to psychological functioning in obese adults. Obesity Research, 13, 907–916.

Latner, J., Wilson, T., Jackson, M., & Stunkard, A. (2010). Greater history of weight-related stigmatizing experience is associated with greater weight loss in obesity treatment. Journal of Health Psychology, 14, 190-199.

Puhl, R., Andreyeva, T., & Brownell, K. (2008). Perceptions Of Weight Discrimination:Prevalence And Comparison To Race And Gender Discrimination In America. International Journal of Obesity, 992-1000.

Puhl, R., & Latner, J. D. (2007). Stigma, obesity, and the health of the nation’s children. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 557-580.

Puhl, R., Latner, J., King, K., & Luedicke, J. (2013). Weight bias among professionals treating eating disorders: attitudes about treatment and perceived patient outcomes. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 1-11.

Puhl, R., Lee Peterson, J., DePierre, J., & Luedicke, J. (2013). Headless, hungry, and unhealthy: A video content analysis of obese persons portrayed in online news. Journal of Health Communication, 1-17.

Stice, E., Presnell, K., & Spangler, D. (2002). Risk factors for binge eating onset in adolescent girls: a 2-year prospective investigation. Health Psychology, 21, 131-138.

Tiggemann, M., & Wilson-Barrett, E. (1998). Children’s figure rating: relationship to self-esteem and negative stereotyping. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 23, 83-88.

Wang, S. S., Brownell, K. D., &Wadden, T. A. (2004). The influence of the stigma of obesity on overweight individuals. International Journal of Obesity, 28, 1333-1337.

 

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LACPA Eating Disorder SIG upcoming events (Fall 2014)

I am excited to announce the next 3 upcoming meetings of the Los Angeles County Psychological Association Eating Disorder Special Interest Group (LACPA ED SIG).  We have amazing speakers lined up.  The LACPA membership year begins in September, so now is the time to join or renew to maximize your benefits.  SIG events are open only to LACPA members, but are FREE.  For information on membership, see the LACPA website. www.lapsych.org.  One does not need to be a psychologist to join LACPA; other professionals may join as well.

Slide1

Dr. Stacey Rosenfeld

Date: Thursday, August 28th

Time: 7-8:30

Title: Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation’s Fixation with Food and Weight

Presenter: Stacey Rosenfeld, Ph.D.

Location: The office of Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD (2001 S. Barrington Avenue, Suite 114, Los Angeles)

BIO: Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD, is a clinical psychologist, licensed to practice in New York and California, who treats patients with eating disorders, anxiety/depression, substance use issues, and relationship difficulties. A certified group psychotherapist, she has worked at Columbia University Medical Center in NYC and at UCLA in Los Angeles and is a member of three eating disorder associations. The author of the highly-praised Does Every Woman Have an Eating Disorder? Challenging Our Nation’s Fixation with Food and Weight, inspired by her award-winning blog of the same name, she is often interviewed by media outlets as an expert in the field.

Dr. Rosenfeld is also the founder of the LACPA ED SIG but will be leaving the group in the fall due to relocation.  This will be a unique opportunity to hear her speak and also to acknowledge the contributions she has made to the Los Angeles community during her fruitful three years here.

Baumann113lo-res

Maggie Baumann, MFT, CEDS

Date: Tuesday, September 16th

Time: 7-8:30pm

Title: Pregnancy & Eating Disorders: Journey Through the Facts and Recovery

Presenter: Maggie Baumann, MFT, CEDS

Location: The office of Stacey Rosenfeld, PhD (2001 S. Barrington Avenue, Suite 114, Los Angeles)

Bio:  Maggie Baumann is a psychotherapist in Newport Beach who specializes in treating people struggling with eating disorders, including pregnant women and moms with eating disorders. She is a former board member for the Orange County Chapter of the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals (IAEDP) and serves as a committee member on the national IAEDP certification board.

Maggie has been a featured guest on nationwide talk shows and TV segment profiling pregorexia and moms with eating disorders. She was a mental health blogger for Momlogic.com, where she shared her own story of suffering from pregorexia over twenty-five years ago. Additionally, Maggie serves as a guest eating disorder expert for KidsinTheHouse.com, a video parenting resource. She is also authoring a chapter on eating disorders and pregnancy for an upcoming book on Eating Disorders in Special Populations (publication date: 2015). Now, Maggie has partnered with Chicago-based residential treatment center, Timberline Knolls, in hosting their Lift the Shame eating disorder support group the first web-based support group for pregnant women and moms with eating disorders. Lift the Shame, is a free group and has members from across the US and abroad.

T-FFED

T-Ffed: Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders

Date:  Thursday, October 23

Time:  7- 8:30 pm

Title: TRANSforming Eating Disorder Recovery: Deconstructing the Overrepresentation of Eating Disorders in Trans and Gender Diverse Individuals, and How Healthcare Professionals Can Better Serve Our Communities

Presenter:  Dagan VanDemark

Location:  The office of Dr. Lauren Muhlheim (4929 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 245, Los Angeles)

Bio:  Dagan VanDemark is the Founder and Executive Director of the pending non-profit T-FFED: Trans Folx Fighting Eating Disorders, based in LA but quickly gaining national reach. Dagan, a genderqueer trans boi, battled bulimia/EDNOS for fifteen years. They have a B.A. in Gender Studies from CSULB, a certificate in Grant Writing and Administration from CSUDH, and they are enrolled in both the Non-Profit Management certificate program at UCLA and a transgender leadership initiative through Gender Justice LA. They speak on university panels about gender variance and sexual diversity, and write/blog extensively about transgender communities’ experiences with eating disorders.

Please RSVP for any or all of the 3 events to drmuhlheim@gmail.com

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Parental direction works, but don’t expect your kid to be happy about it: Research on The Family Meal in FBT

Slide1Parents charged with helping their children to recover in Family-Based Treatment often wonder 1) how to actually get their children to eat and 2) whether they will harm their children or the parent-child relationship by requiring them to eat. A recent study addressed these concerns by looking at the family meal.               

How do parents of adolescent patients with anorexia nervosa interact with their child at mealtimes? A study of parental strategies used in the family meal session of family-based treatment

Hannah J. White BSc (Hons), Emma Haycraft PhD,*, Sloane Madden MD, Paul Rhodes PhD, Jane Miskovic-Wheatley DCP/MSc, Andrew Wallis MFAMTher, Michael Kohn MD and Caroline Meyer PhD (Article first published online: 26 JUN 2014)

The above study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders looked at the family meal in Family-Based Treatment (FBT), the best-researched outpatient treatment for adolescent anorexia. In FBT, the family plays a central role in treatment. Parents take responsibility for weight restoration and interruption of eating disorder behaviors, and family meals are an essential part of this process. Typically the second session of Family-Based Treatment is a family meal in which the family brings a picnic meal to the therapist’s office. The goal of the session is for the therapist to empower the parents to get their child with anorexia to eat one bite more than the child was prepared to eat.

The strategies used during mealtimes by parents of adolescents with anorexia have not been previously documented. Some believe that the eating habits of these adolescents have regressed and that the adolescents should be viewed as younger children who need more feeding assistance from their parents. Thus, parental strategies used to encourage eating would be similar to the strategies used by parents of younger children with and without feeding problems, which have been studied: these parents have been noted to use both encouragement and pressure to eat. Little is known about the response of adolescents with anorexia to their parents’ attempts to get them to eat.

The purpose of this study was to examine the strategies used by parents and the results. The study included 21 families with children between the ages of 12 and 18 who were undergoing FBT for adolescent anorexia.

The main aims of the study were:

1)   to identify mealtime strategies used by parents during the family meal session of FBT.

2)   to explore the relationships between these strategies and parental ‘success’ in encouraging eating.

3)   to explore the relationships between these strategies and their results with the emotional tone of the mealtime.

While this research was conducted in an artificial setting – a therapist’s office and in the presence of the therapist – the findings should be applicable to family meals occurring in the home.

Specifically, the researchers found:

1)   parents used a variety of strategies to prompt the child to eat: direct eating prompts (e.g., “You’ve got to eat all your eggs” or “Pick it up and eat it”), non-direct eating prompts (e.g. “Keep going” or “Why don’t you eat some more pasta?”), physical prompts (e.g., pushing a plate of food towards the adolescent), autonomous comments (e.g., “Do you want another one?” or “Which one do you want?”) and information provision (e.g., “Your body needs the calcium” or “This will make your bones strong”).

2)   direct, non-direct, and physical prompts were more successful in getting adolescents to eat than providing information about the food or offering food-related choices to the adolescent.

3)   in general, the more the parents prompted the child to eat and the more successful they were, the more negative the adolescents became. It makes sense that attempts to encourage eating, which contradict the anorexic tendencies, would cause psychological distress and a more negative emotional tone.

The authors conclude “It is interesting that a behavioral focus on eating (i.e., verbal and physical prompting) was associated with parental success as opposed to other strategies such as offering choices to the adolescent or consequences. This indicates that parents implementing a direct focus on food may be central to eating behavior and supports the emphasis on behavioral change rather than insight which is central to FBT.”

Keeping in mind that this is only one small study, the results are consistent with my observations of family meals in my practice and reports from parents refeeding their adolescents:

  1. parents need to directly prompt or pressure their child with anorexia to eat.
  2. offering choices and providing information is generally less effective in getting children with anorexia to eat.
  3. the more the parents pressure the child and the more the child eats, the more negative and upset the child becomes.

This study highlights the paradox parents face in implementing FBT. When a child is in distress, the parental instinct is to try to soothe them. Intentionally upsetting the child runs counter to a parent’s nature. However, for children with anorexia, food is medicine. The best measure of the parent’s success in FBT is the amount of food consumed. Parents should expect that their child will have a negative reaction to both pressure to eat and the eating itself. This negativity is not a sign of failure, but a reaction to a treatment that is working.

While these interactions often lead to more short-term conflict and distress, parents must persist and weather the storm in order to support their child’s recovery.  Over time, this persistence will challenge the anorexia and encourage change and recovery.

 

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Katherine Grubiak, RD

Katherine Grubiak, RD

Katherine Grubiak, RD

On the occasion of the one year anniversary of my affiliation with the awesome, Katherine (Katie) Grubiak, RD, I want to highlight her fabulous work and contribution to my practice.

Eating disorders are best addressed by a multidisciplinary approach.  Thus, I was extremely excited when, one year ago, I moved to a larger space and arranged an affiliation with Katherine Grubiak, RD, who works part-time in my suite.  Ms. Grubiak brings a wealth of experience with eating disorders in both adolescents and adults, and her approach is consistent with the latest evidence-based treatments.

Our clients benefit from our integrated approach for eating disorders and we tailor treatment to each client or family.  Additionally, we offer services as a team or individually. This benefits our clients who already have a dietitian or therapist and are seeking to add one member to their treatment team.

Ms. Grubiak, in addition to nutrition counseling sessions at the office, also provides additional support to those seeking help with preparing, portioning, or eating meals.  These may occur in the client’s home, office, school, or location of choice (restaurant, supermarket, etc.).  

Katherine Grubiak, RD/Biography

Katherine Grubiak is a Registered Dietitian with a focus on blending Western & Eastern philosophies regarding nutritional healing.  She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and first pursued a career in public health surrounding herself with different cultures and a mission to honor all those seeking healthcare nutritional support.

Ms. Grubiak began her Nutrition career working in Maternal Child Health Nutrition with a focus on Gestational Diabetes Management & breastfeeding support as a Certified Lactation Educator (CLE).  She later became a dietitian for the UCLA Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center seeing students with various medical issues.  In this position, she worked closely with the UCLA Counseling and Psychological Services Center to provide treatment for college students with eating disorders and was involved with the Health Center’s Weight Management and Diabetic Programs.

This experience led Ms. Grubiak to pursue her next position as full time Registered Dietitian and Director of Clinical Services for California Center for Healthy Living, an innovative and comprehensive center promoting healthy relationships with food, fitness, and body image for children, teens, and adults of all ages. The focus here was on prevention and treatment of eating disorders and family involved therapy.  She enjoys working within a multi-disciplinary team believing that holistic care means having all areas of health supported.

Ms. Grubiak also has a professional dance background and taught for the non-profit dance school Everybody Dance in Los Angeles.  She utilized nutrition and alternative medicine including yoga to heal herself from dance injuries and spread the word to her students.

Ms. Grubiak’s belief is that a practitioner needs knowledge, compassion, patience, and creativity to inspire change.  The practitioner must honor the individuality and goals of each person who enters her care. There should be no limitations on their journey or their healing.  She has experience working with clients of all ages and across the spectrum of weight and wellness.  She is available to work with adults, adolescents, families, and parents.

She can be reached at 213-249-2110.

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I’ve added a psychological assistant to my practice

I remain committed to the practice of and dissemination of evidence-based treatments. To that end, I am excited to announce that I have added a registered psychological assistant to my practice in Los Angeles:

Liliana Almeida, M.A, Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student, PSB-94020579

Liliana photo

Liliana Almeida, M.A., is a fourth year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in Los Angeles. She received her M.A. from The New School and her B.A. from Rutgers University. During the last 7 years she has researched eating disorders and obesity. Her clinical experience includes working with diverse clients in a community mental health center providing cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic psychotherapy in English and in Spanish.

Liliana will be working under my supervision and is available to work with adult and adolescent clients with eating disorders, anxiety, and depression.  She will provide services in English, Spanish, and Portuguese and will be able to provide some low-cost therapy to those in need.

If you are interested in more information, please visit Liliana’s website or contact me at 323-282-3572 or drmuhlheim@gmail.com

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AED Tweetchat on Diabulimia

I have to admit that, when a colleague on the Academy for Eating Disorder Social Media Committee that I was co-chairing proposed “diabulimia” as an idea for a tweetchat, I was not particularly excited.  As an eating disorder specialist in outpatient private practice, I have not professionally encountered clients with diabetes and eating disorders.

Since we could not easily identify any experts on the topic who also tweeted, the idea languished until the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals scheduled an event on the topic in my area.  John Dolores , JD, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and Executive Director of Center for Hope of the Sierras, was the guest speaker.

Prior to attending his talk, I had the luck at the FEAST conference to sit next to Dawn Lee-Akers, CFO at Diabulimia Helpline.  Together Dawn and Dr. Dolores educated me on the severity of ED-DTM1 (popularly referred to as “diabulimia”) and the need to draw more professional and public knowledge about this issue (and both agreed to be involved in the chat).

As a result, I was really excited to be involved in helping prepare for the AED twitter chat on the topic this week and to do my part to bring attention to the issue.  It was a great and informative chat and I hope you’ll read the entire transcript available here.

Some highlights of what I have learned:

  • Diabulimia is a media term; many providers prefer ED-DMT1.  It is most commonly the coexistence of Type I diabetes and an eating disorder with manipulation of insulin to lose weight.  In this case, the insulin manipulation is considered an inappropriate compensatory behavior (hence the use of the term diabulimia).  The individual may meet criteria for Bulimia Nervosa or OSFED.  It is also possible to have Type II diabetes and an eating disorder, which may be included in diabulimia if insulin manipulation is involved.  Additionally, some people can have diabetes and an eating disorder that are totally unrelated.
  • Women with Type I diabetes are 2.4 times more likely to develop an eating disorder than their non-diabetic peers.  Statistics vary quite significantly with a reported 45-80% of Type I diabetics reporting binge eating.  Multiple studies show 30%-35% of women with Type I diabetes report restricting or omitting insulin in order to lose weight.
  • Higher rates of eating disorders among people with diabetes are not surprising due to the way diabetes has traditionally been treated.  The traditional diabetes ‘diet’ focuses on low carbs and high protein, which encourages restriction, which in turn can lead to binge eating.  Diabetes management includes a lot of focus on numbers and on control which may feed perfectionism.  Patients with diabetes often lose weight pre-diagnosis, and gain weight when they start insulin, so come to associate insulin with weight increase.  They quickly learn that they can manipulate their weight by under dosing with insulin.
  • The effects of compensation by insulin are even more devastating than other forms of dietary compensation.  Patients with diabulimia are at risk for serious medical consequences.  The most dangerous short-term consequence is diabetic ketoacidosis, which requires immediate hospitalization.  Longer-term consequences include peripheral and autonomic neuropathy, retinopathy, cardiovascular disease, and even renal failure.  Some of the consequences are irreversible.
  • Diabulimia requires a specific and sensitive treatment approach from a coordinated team of professionals with expertise in diabetes and eating disorders.  The team should include nursing, endocrinologist, dietitian, therapist, and diabetes educator.  It is critical that the team use a consolidated approach and not treat the diabetes and eating disorder separately.
  • Intuitive eating, CBT, DBT, & ACT are successful in the treatment for comorbid diabetes and eating disorders.  The treatment of diabulima requires medical oversight, including regular monitoring of blood glucose, management of certain side effects of insulin re-introduction, and treatment of new or worsening diabetes complications.  Eating disorder patients with comorbid diabetes are more likely to be medically unstable and need inpatient treatment.

With diabetes on the rise and numerous prevention efforts aimed at preventing obesity, I was left wondering:  where are the prevention efforts for the even deadlier combination of diabetes and eating disorders?  For such efforts, eating disorder professionals and organizations must work together with diabetes professionals and organizations.  We invited several diabetes organizations to join our chat, and fortunately, a few did.  We must continue to raise attention to this problem and reach out to others outside the eating disorder field.

Resources:

  • The Diabetes Eating Problem Survey (DEPS-R) can be used by providers to assess whether patients with diabetes may have an eating disorder.
  • Diabulimia Helpline maintains a list of US treatment centers that have specialized programs to treat comorbid Diabetes and Eating Disorders.
  • Diabulimia Helpline recommends this video as the best overview on Diabulimia for patients, family and professionals.
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Recognizing and Managing the Subtler Signs of Starvation in Children with EDs

This interaction on twitter caught my eye:

Slide1Watching cooking shows, collecting and reading recipes, and cooking for others (but not eating it oneself) are some of the earliest signs of anorexia that are often missed and misinterpreted by parents.  In Keys’ landmark study “The Biology of Human Starvation” male volunteers were put on starvation diets.  According to Keys, food became “the principal topic of conversation, reading, and daydreams.”  The volunteers studied cookbooks and collected cooking utensils.  Three of them went on to become cooks even though they’d had no interest in cooking before the experiment.  When starving, people may obtain vicarious satisfaction from cooking and watching others eat.

In my own experience, I contracted severe food poisoning during my second pregnancy.  Unable to eat without severe consequences, my doctors instructed me to forgo solid food for a full week.  I remember clearly that I spent the week lying in bed (entertaining my toddler) and watching cooking shows.  It seemed nonsensical to me at the time, like an unusual form of self-torture.  But, now I know it was an attempt to vicariously soothe my intense hunger.

In her book Brave Girl Eating, Harriet Brown discusses how her daughter went through a “foodie” phase during the onset of her anorexia.  I have seen a similar profile in a number of my young clients.  Parents do not usually think these are signs of trouble and are more often impressed by their child’s sophistication.  Some of the less obvious early signs of starvation parents should watch for include:

  • Reading recipes
  • Blogging about food
  • Cooking food they do not eat
  • Watching cooking shows

Of course, not every child who shows a strong interest in cooking has or will develop anorexia, but it is something that should pique a parents’ interest.

My own daughter went through a phase where she was obsessed with cooking and watching cooking shows.  It so happened that she was not eating enough at this time, which coincided with the start of her adolescent growth spurt.  I did an early FBT-like intervention and she gained and grew; as she did, the obsession with cooking abated.  Was this merely a passing phase or anorexia averted?  I’ll never know, but I’m glad I intervened.  (More about that in future post.)

When a child with a diagnosis of anorexia shows these behaviors, I recommend that they be stopped.  In FBT, parents take charge of their child’s food and food environment.  Food is the child’s medicine and the number one priority.  For this reason, vicarious gratification of hunger should be removed.  Children with anorexia should not be watching cooking shows, reading recipes, or cooking.  I usually recommend that children do not participate in preparing their own food at all in Phase 1.  In Phase 2, children gradually get involved in food preparation again, but the usual rule I recommend is that if they make something, they must eat it.

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Presentation on Social Media for Psychologists

Slide1

 

Reprinted from the Rutgers GSAPP website:  
Dr. Lauren Muhlheim
“Use of Social Media by Professional Psychologists”

 

On Wednesday March 27, 2014, faculty and students at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP) gathered to hear a colloquium presentation by Lauren Muhlheim, Psy.D, CEDS (Clinical, 1995). Dr. Muhlheim is a prominent GSAPP alumna who has a practice in Los Angeles where she provides psychological treatment specializing in evidence-based cognitive behavioral psychotherapy for adults and adolescents with depression, anxiety, stress, and eating disorders. She presented on the topic of “Use of Social Media by Psychologists in a Safe and Ethical Way.”

After earning a B.A. from Princeton University, Dr. Muhlheim attended the doctoral program in Clinical Psychology at GSAPP. She chose GSAPP because she was “impressed by the quality and depth of the clinical training” and knew that she wanted to work in clinical settings. As a graduate student, Dr. Muhlheim trained in the Rutgers Eating Disorder Clinic. In interview, she shared her favorite memory of GSAPP to be working with Terry Wilson, Ph.D., an internationally renowned eating disorders expert. More recently, Dr. Muhlheim trained in the Maudsley Family-Based Treatment (FBT) for adolescent eating disorders and is certified in FBT by the Training Institute for Child and Adolescent Eating Disorders. She is also certified as an eating disorder specialist (CEDS) by the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals (IAEDP). Dr. Muhlheim has been providing psychological counseling since 1991. She has also supervised and trained psychology interns and other mental health professionals.

Dr. Muhlheim’s work experience has brought her to multiple settings around the globe. For nearly ten years, she was a staff psychologist at Los Angeles County Jail, followed by three years in Shanghai, China, treating clients of varying national, cultural, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Dr. Muhlheim spearheaded and served as the first president of the Shanghai International Mental Health Association (SIMHA). She has also worked in an Obesity Research Clinic, inpatient hospitals, outpatient clinics, group homes, and private practice.

Dr. Mulheim’s experiences abroad proved to be a portal for her into the world of social media. In her colloquium presentation, she reflected on her years in Shanghai: “That’s where I first became aware of the power of the internet.” She described how she used search engine optimization to attract international patients to their practice website, as well as commented on the challenges she faced when China blocked Facebook.

In 2012, Dr. Muhlheim joined the social media committee of the Academy for Eating Disorders. She served as a co-chair of AED’s Social Media Committee, AED’s Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee, and AED’s FBT Special Interest Group. In her role as a co-chair of the Social Media Committee for the Academy for Eating Disorders, she helped manage the AED’s Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages, and helped educate professional AED members about social media. More recently, Dr. Muhlheim has stepped up to the position of Director for Outreach with the board of AED.

Over the course of her talk, Dr. Muhlheim educated the audience about social media from a variety of angles. She presented an overview of current technology, reasons why to be on social media, and recommendations for using social media safely and ethically. Loaded with valuable information and insights, her approach was also light and entertaining. She started out her presentation by differentiating among the various social media formats: “Facebook: I like donuts,” “LinkedIn: My skills include donut eating,” and “Twitter: I’m eating a donut.” Although the list of social media sites was lengthy, Dr. Muhlheim chose to highlight Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter in particular.

Citing commentary from the APA Monitor, Dr. Muhlheim presented a general outlook on social networking in the world of professional psychology. A rising number of people are turning to the internet for health information, she noted. As the use of social media is growing, psychological professionals are increasingly using media. Graduate students use social media but often lack guidance, because supervising faulty are less experienced with it. She presented the Social Media Ladder as one way to view online participation, showing how people move from being passively involved to being actively involved, actually becoming content creators.

Why is it important to be on social media? According to Dr. Muhlheim, social media helps us stay informed, make connections, meet patients where they are, build a “brand,” learn new information (e.g., “Tweetchats”), disseminate information, advocate for causes, and market products or services. These concepts came alive as Dr. Muhlheim expounded with personal anecdotes and colorful screenshots. “The more online real estate you control, the better,” she explained, “And one way you control your online real estate is through social media.”

Perhaps the crux of her presentation dealt with the safe and ethical use of social media. APA has not yet published guidelines for psychologists’ use of social media, Dr. Muhlheim pointed out. Subsequently, Dr. Muhlheim shared the social media guidelines published in 2010 by American Medical Association, illustrating how these principles apply to her as a professional.

First, she advised, be sure to separate personal and professional content. Keep a personal facebook page for social connections and create a separate practice page for your practice. Create two email address, and do not allow clients to friend you on Facebook. Second, use privacy settings—and don’t rely on even the most restrictive settings as being absolutely secure. Third, routinely monitor your own internet presence, such as by doing a Google search or checking online rating agencies. Fourth, protect patient confidentiality. Per Dr. Muhlheim’s advice, clarify your social media policy for googling, friending, and following; incorporate it into your informed consent for clients. Fifth, maintain appropriate boundaries. Sixth, remember your career and reputation when using social media. In her words, “Think twice, and tweet once.”

Listeners gleaned a variety of handy tips and bits for using social media to advance professional practice. For instance, use LinkedIn as a virtual rolodex to connect with colleagues. Strive for search engine optimization – increase your visibility on other sites and update your site frequently. Utilize twitter as a great way to share articles and stay current, and as an expedient alternative to blogging.

When asked about the challenges of being involved in social media, Dr. Muhlheim stated, “I think the greatest challenge of social media for psychological practitioners today is the fear/resistance many have to using it.” Her advice for current GSAPP students? “Plan to have an online presence” and “be willing to explore and use social media and other new technologies, such as apps.”

Dr. Mulheim’s presentation generated a wave of questions from the audience on the applications of social media to professional practice. In response to concerns over privacy on Facebook, Dr. Mulheim recommended using the most restrictive privacy and security settings, while noting that privacy settings are imperfect. “Assume anything you publish behind a privacy setting will leak.” Further, she recommended that professionals post only that which they can stand behind with integrity. Finally, Dr. Muhlheim responded to questions about the psychological implications of Facebook use on eating disorders. The discussion was thought-provoking and dynamic, as a room of psychology professionals aired concerns over the ramifications of social media use for children and adolescents.

At the end of her presentation, Dr. Muhlheim shared her social media rendition of a bibliography – a link to her Pinterest page. An exuberant round of applause followed, as GSAPP faculty and students acknowledged Dr. Muhlheim’s cutting-edge contributions to the field of professional psychology.

Dr. Muhlheim can be reached by email at drmuhlheim@gmail.com 
or visited at:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

Tumblir

LinkedIN

By: Chana Crystal, GSAPP

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Highlights from #ICED2014: The FBT Debate

Drs. Le Grange and Strober

Drs. Le Grange and Strober

ICED 2014 in New York provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with colleagues from around the world who share a commitment to providing treatment to those suffering from eating disorders. Among the highlights for me were the well-attended, first-ever tweetUP and my official appointment as Board Director for Outreach of the Academy for Eating Disorders.

Among the workshops, I was very excited to attend A Comprehensive and Measured Critique and Discussion of Maudsley and Family Based Therapy: The Civilizing Influence of Rigorous and Impartial Debate.   In this workshop, UCLA Eating Disorders Program director Dr. Michael Strober, one of the more vocal critics of Maudsley Family Based Therapy (also known as FBT), went head to head with Dr. Daniel LeGrange, director of the University of Chicago’s Eating Disorder Program and one of the developers of FBT. As the only therapist in Los Angeles certified in FBT, I am highly aware of Dr. Strober’s criticisms of the treatment.

Dr. Strober introduced the packed-room debate by saying, “there will be no flowing of blood at the FBT debate.” Dr. LeGrange presented first and cited the empirical evidence for FBT, admitting “it is no panacea” as there are only 7 published controlled trials. He reported the “most compelling” study of FBT showed that 45% of those who received FBT fully remitted, versus only 20% of those who received Adolescent Focused Therapy. He noted that FBT is particularly helpful in rapid weight restoration and in reduction of the need for hospitalization.

Dr. Strober countered by stating, “there is [only] a sprinkling of evidence in support of FBT.” He argued that the evidence for FBT was actually weak, with only 3 published comparative studies. He pointed out there was no statistically significant end of treatment outcome for FBT. Strober concluded that there is a lack of evidence to suggest FBT is the treatment of choice for all patients. He cautioned that the “glossy language” used by FBT’s proponents needs nuance: “The public discussion is the problem; well-trained clinicians have been accused of acting unethically by not recommending FBT.” Strober stated that his questions regarding FBT’s efficacy have led to hostile, finger-pointing treatment from others. “It’s not that ‪FBT lacks value but that [any critique or questioning of it is dismissed as unethical & unfounded]“. He conceded that FBT should not be dismissed: “I recommend it at times when the rationale is sound.” He joked, “I have been asked why I hate families; as far as I can tell the only family I hate is mine; I quite fancy the others.”

In his rebuttal, Le Grange agreed with Dr. Strober, “It concerns me too that FBT is being touted as the be-all-end-all.” However, he noted that it was still the approach that currently has the best evidence supporting its overall efficacy. LeGrange acknowledged “we are clutching at straws” to find effective treatments for eating disorders. “I agree we need to move forward, with much more rigor, to continue to evaluate the efficacy not just ‪ of FBT but also other ED treatments.”

In summary, there was more agreement than disagreement. Both experts acknowledged that while FBT has value, the research is still young. The audience encouraged them to write a paper together on the strengths and limitations of FBT, with the objective of depolarizing the eating disorder community.

For my part, in the outpatient setting in which I work, I will continue to offer FBT to adolescents with eating disorders and their families when the illness duration is under three years, when the adolescent is medically stable and cleared for outpatient treatment, and when the home environment is stable and the parents are committed to FBT. If early weight gain is not achieved, I always recommend a higher level of care.

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