Licensed professional counselor Caley Featherstone worries that society’s obsession with quick-fix weight loss solutions and social media are taking a toll on our youth. “We live in a culture that is very diet oriented,” she says of the multi-billion-dollar diet industry.
In this episode of The Healthcare Podcast, Featherstone shares her personal experience with an eating disorder, how to recognize symptoms, and what parents can do to help with their children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Featherstone’s interest in a counseling career began in childhood. As a young athlete, she excelled in cross country and track. At age 11, she came in 10th at a national track meet. Disappointed with the results, her physical and mental health declined as she combatted anorexia nervosa.
Now, Featherstone focuses on helping kids and families deal with the secrecy and stereotyping associated with eating disorders. In this episode of The Healthcare Podcast, Featherstone shares her experiences working with children and teens and her research at Boise State. Featherstone believes that genetics play a role in eating disorders along with temperament and emotional stress.
People with eating disorders experience significant impairment – it is completely controlling their life, she said. As a counselor, Featherstone is looking for signs of distress.
The repercussions of an eating disorder are far-reaching. Treatment options – hospitalization, residential rehab, counseling appointments and more – can last for months; recovery can take years. The health ramifications include abdominal discomfort, renal failure, and cardiac episodes. The relapse rate is 35-40%.
Featherstone is seeking to dispel myths and destigmatize the topic in order to help children and adults overcome the challenges. Education is a key strategy. She urges parents to recognize that their words and behavior can have a lasting impact, and to focus more on a child’s potential and less on body image.
Eating disorders can pose a lifetime challenge. As an adult, Featherstone struggles from injuries resulting from her eating disorder and being malnourished early in life. “To understand that level of obsession and fear around food is unfathomable.”
The Healthcare Podcast hosted by Dr. John Kaiser and health advocate Linsy Heiner aims to uncover the myths of modern healthcare, to help families discover cost transparency, improved access, and innovation. The podcast is available through many platforms and clips of each podcast are shared across all social media platforms. Have an idea for a guest or want us to discuss a topic? Make sure to comment on social media and get your questions answered. Leave a review on whatever platform you decide to listen on and tell your friends!
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