Trauma and Eating Disorders

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While researching eating disorders, I came across an article and website that discussed different eating disorders, and I didn’t realize how many different types there are! Aside from some of the more common and well-known eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating, some are less common and unheard of. Eating disorders can affect both men and women, and develop in early childhood through midlife, but most are reported in the teen and young adulthood years. Throughout this blog post, we will discuss how trauma can and may impact the development of eating disorders. While genetics and family history can play a role in developing eating disorders, it is also reported that trauma can contribute to the onset of an eating disorder. Those who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse are more likely to develop psychological issues. Eating disorders can create various health issues affecting the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, neurological system, and endocrine system.

There are many different types of traumas that can play a role in developing an eating disorder. Those traumas can include neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and bullying. When an individual experiences trauma, they may manage their emotions through controlling their eating or engaging in addiction type behaviors. While many people who have an eating disorder have suffered some form of trauma, it does not mean that all people who have an eating disorder have suffered trauma. You can also develop an eating disorder if you have not suffered any trauma. According to (Ross, 2018), eating disorders are rarely about food. Eating disorders are more centered on control.

If trauma has been experienced and an individual develops an eating disorder, it is essential to seek treatment and professional help for both the trauma and the eating disorder. Treatment for just the eating disorder or treatment for just the trauma will not aid in the treatment process as a whole. Different forms of therapy can be help in treatment. Therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) can be beneficial in the treatment of an eating disorder, as well as the trauma that may have affected the development of the eating disorder.

Throughout the next few blog posts we will be discussing different types of eating disorders. The eating disorders that will be discussed will include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, Orthorexia, Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED), Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (AFRID), Pica, Rumination Disorder, Unspecified Feed or Eating Disorder, Laxative Abuse, and Compulsive Exercise.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Jaclyn Stroehl, LBSW

References/Resources:

Ross, C. C., MD. (2018b, February 21). Eating Disorders, Trauma, and PTSD. National Eating Disorders    Association. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/blog/eating-disorders-trauma-ptsd-recovery

National Eating Disorders Association. (2018, February 21). Information by Eating Disorder. https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/information-eating-disorder

School Year Transition

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For many, the month of August marks the beginning of a new school year, whether that is public school or homeschooling. Due to the multiple changes with the education system last year during the pandemic, youth (and adults) may experience a variety of emotions preparing for the start of the school year. During the summer months, many youth get out of routine with different summer activities and events, family vacations, and summer nights.

Here are some different ways to help your child (and yourself) get ready for the transition back to school:

  • Practice your school routine a few weeks before school starts, including going to bed earlier each night and getting up earlier.
  • Establish a nighttime routine. Prepping lunches for the next day and picking and laying out clothes the night before can help create a more calm morning.
  • For youth going into Kindergarten, practice eating lunch and supper within the appropriate timespan they will be given at school. Lunchtime at school can be very short and new students can typically feel overwhelmed with the change.
  • For any youth who may be feeling anxious or nervous, you can take a school tour, meet the teacher(s), and practice any forms of transportation.
  • For families who choose to homeschool, it can be helpful to have all the necessary and needed supplies, and create a school/workspace for lessons.
  • It can be helpful to plan out after-school snacks and suppers to help with the nighttime routine and flexibility.
  • Planning out schedules (school, work, sports) for each family member can also be beneficial.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Jaclyn Stroehl, LBSW

Acknowledging and Working Through Loss

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Darcy, Post Adopt Coordinator, shares tips on working through loss with your adoptive child:

Acknowledging and Working Through Loss

Adoption is a beautiful blessing, but with this blessing comes a tremendous amount of loss.  Youth experience loss of birth family, culture and first home environment.  Loss follows youth throughout their life, and a youth may be triggered by loss through various tasks, senses, and memories.  Youth may need to readdress their losses at different developmental milestones throughout their life.  It’s important to help youth acknowledge and grieve their losses, so they can begin to heal.  Below is a list of a few ways you as a parent can assist and support your youth with the losses in their life:

  • Give your child permission to grieve the loss of his birth family without guilt.
    • Suggest times and places where your child is welcome to express their grief, and ways in which they can grieve.
    • Talking, journaling, drawing, or venting feelings through exercise are just a few options.
  • Create a “loss box.”
    • The youth can put items in the box that represent the different losses they have
    • By creating this loss box and putting items in it, it allows the youth to create and partake in a ritual that acknowledges their loss.
    • The youth will have a tactile object that allows them to revisit their losses in the future when they wish to do so
  • Redefine what creates a family.
    • Families may continue to change over time
      • Families may grow larger, and in certain circumstances, the members of our family may leave and our family may become smaller
    • Continue to have conversations about what family is, what it means, as your child may need to address this throughout various stages, and as the family dynamics may change
    • Be open to what your child has to say, as the child may have a great, broader view of what family is
  • Include birth parents/birth family members in pictorial representations of the adoptive family tree.
    • One option would be to depict an orchard where trees grow side by side.
    • The birth family, former foster families, or other significant people in the child’s life can be other trees in the same family orchard.
  • Keep your expectations reasonable.
    • A child’s need to grieve over their losses will not be fully cured, fixed, or resolved in any predetermined time frame, if ever.
    • Let your child know that feelings related to these losses will come and go at different times in her life.
      • Help your child find a safe person to whom they can express the feelings associated with their loss (this may be a therapist, a teacher, a coach).
    • Model normal, healthy responses to loss.
      • If you or your partner suffers a loss, share your feelings openly.
      • Let your children see you mourn, so they can learn how you express sadness and anger about loss.
      • For male children, seeing an adult man cry can be especially instructive.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Darcy Solem, LBSW

Guardianship Vs. Adoption

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Jackie, Post Adopt Coordinator tells us some differences you may not know about guardianship and adoption.

Guardianship Vs. Adoption

North Dakota Post Adopt Network serves both adoptive and guardianship families. What is the difference between adoption and guardianship? Throughout this blog post, I will discuss a few differences and similarities between adoption and guardianship.

Within the state of North Dakota, there is two different types of state-funded guardianship: State-Funded Guardianship and IV-E Guardianship. Both of these guardianships are for children who are currently in the North Dakota foster care system. Aside from the state- funded guardianships, there is also “private guardianship” that families can seek for a child, not in foster care.

The biggest difference between adoption and guardianship is there is typically no Termination of Parental Rights, or TPR, granted for a guardianship. Guardianships are considered a temporary arrangement, and the ultimate goal is reunification to a biological parent(s). Overall, a guardianship placement removes decision-making powers from birth parents while still allowing rights and responsibilities to their children. Another difference between guardianship and adoption is that guardianship cases are reviewed in court every 1-3 years, dependent on the judge in your county. This court review is held to review the status of the case to ensure children return to their biological parent(s) in a reasonable amount of time. The court review comes from a change of rules and regulations established within the state of North Dakota in early 2021 regarding guardianships. There is no court review for adoption as an adopted family is granted parental rights at the adoption finalization court hearing.

Some similarities of guardianship and adoption are that the majority of children in guardianship placements experience, to some degree, similar experiences to those who have been adopted, such as different traumas. The second similarity between guardianship and adoption is education. While parents who wish to adopt or foster are required to have a great deal of training and education, guardianship families also must complete training.

For more information on guardianship vs adoption, feel free to look at the Guardianship VS Adoption webinar on our post adopt website, http://www.ndpostadopt.org/, under the Parent Resources Tab and Webinars. At this link, https://guardianship.ndcourts.gov/trainings/minor-guardianship-training/#login, you can find the training course required for guardianship.

This blog post was written by Post Adopt Coordinator, Jaclyn Stroehl, LBSW

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