Upstate New York Eating Disorder Service (UNYED) Educates Tully Hill Staff & Patients
Rebecca Carpentier, MS, LMHC
Tully Hill staff and patients learned all about eating disorders at a January 19, 2022 in-service conducted by UNYED’s Rebecca Carpentier, MS, LMHC, the organization’s program director at its Sol Stone partial hospitalization program and facility in Syracuse, NY.
Carpentier’s in-service to 25 Tully Hill staff and patients encompassed presenting and achieving six goals, including being able to identify common roots of eating disorders as well as challenge misconceptions about them; have an understanding of eating disorder diagnoses; identify how to build treatment team for patients with eating disorders; know and understand the different levels of dare for eating disorders; identifying and understanding the concept of ‘Health at Every Size” and its importance in providing competent care for eating disorders; and identifying diet culture and how it impacts eating disorder development and maintenance.
“Eating disorders can and do have serious health consequences, affecting one’s cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, neurological, and endocrine systems,” Carpentier emphasized. “Risk factors for eating disorders include biological, psychological, and social factors, all of which have to be considered in diagnosis and treatment.”
Her presentation was especially pertinent to staff and patients, given National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) data indicating that up to one of every 2 persons with an eating disorder also abuse alcohol or illicit drugs, a rate five times higher than the general population. And that up to 35% of persons who abused or were dependent on alcohol or other drugs also have had eating disorders, a rate 11 times greater than the general population. Additional NEDA data in her in-service included the fact that the substances most frequently abused by individuals with eating disorders or with sub-clinical symptoms included alcohol, amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, laxatives, emetics, and diuretics.
Carpentier related to the assembly of staff and patients some common misconceptions about eating disorders, including the mistaken belief that eating disorders are a choice; that one can tell if one has an eating disorder just by looking at that person; that anyone eating food can’t have an eating disorder; that persons with eating disorders involving restriction have smaller bodies and those who binge have larger bodies; and that persons with eating disorders engage in behaviors to look a certain way / for vanity.
Carpentier countered those fallacies with these actual facts about eating disorders:
- That fewer than 6% of persons with eating disorders are medically diagnosed as “underweight”
- That 28%-74% of risk for eating disorders is through genetic heritability
- That eating disorders are among the deadliest of mental illnesses, second only to opioid overdose
(10,200 deaths annually, equal to 1 every 52 minutes)
- That about 26% of persons with eating disorders attemot suicide
- That the estimated economic cost of eating disorders is $64.7 billion a year
UNYED has Outpatient dietetic services, Intensive Outpatient programs, and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) at its Elmira, Liverpool (NY), Binghamton, Ithaca, and Syracuse locations.
For information about its services and/or making referrals, call 607-732-5646.