Presentations Spotlight the Risk of Suicide Associated with Eating Disorders and Benefits of Compassion Focused Therapy
ST. LOUIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Two leading experts from Alsana, a national eating disorder recovery community, made presentations at the International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals Conference in Palm Desert on Feb. 19. Dr. Nicole Garber, chief medical officer at Alsana, and Heather Russo, chief clinical officer at Alsana, spoke about suicidality and Compassion Focused Therapy, respectively.
Suicide risk is five times greater in people with eating disorders, and Dr. Garber spoke to the audience of ED professionals about how to recognize and create a treatment plan for their patients who are at risk.
“The co-occurrence of psychiatric diagnoses like major depressive disorder with an eating disorder significantly increase the likelihood of suicidal ideation in our patients,” said Garber.
Russo co-presented on a relatively new approach to eating disorder treatment called Compassion Focused Therapy (CFT). Developed about 20 years ago, CFT focuses on reducing shame and self-criticism by teaching compassion as a skill that can engage the Vagus Nerve, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. The application to the treatment of eating disorders began in 2020.
“We want to help our clients develop compassionate ways of thinking, reasoning, and understanding — ways that are validating, soothing, encouraging, and skills focused on working with their suffering,” said Russo. “We help them to notice, accept, and curiously explore the contents of their thoughts — this is the shift: From the negative rumination to the noticing, managing, and compassionate responding.”
Alsana is the first eating disorder recovery community to implement Compassion Focused Therapy as a therapeutic framework, and the results are very positive.
Alsana is an eating recovery community and treatment provider with in-person Residential and PHP/IOP programs in Alabama (Birmingham and Huntsville), California (Monterey, Santa Barbara, Westlake Village, and Thousand Oaks), and Missouri (St. Louis), and Virtual PHP/IOP offerings across the United States. Their approach to eating disorder treatment is compassionate, evidence-based, and designed in alignment with the Adaptive Care Model®. Alsana serves adult clients of all genders and sexual identities. For additional information, visit www.alsana.com.
Jessica Neuman, Westbound Communications