#OTalk – 24th February 2015 – #EDAW15 Occupational Therapy and Eating Disorders

Occupational Therapy in Eating Disorders

Date:  24/02/2015   Host: @pd2ot & @GeekyOT

Blog Post  –  Transcript


Last year, we (@pd2ot and @geekyOT) hosted an #OTalk tweetchat about occupational therapy and eating disorders for Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#EDAW14). We had 63 participants, and tweets from the chat made 659,387 impressions.

This year, Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#EDAW15) will run from Monday 23rd February – Sunday 1st March 2015. To coincide with this, we will be hosting another #OTalk on Tuesday 24th February at 8pm GMT (click the link to check your local time).

A real strength of the chat last year was having the contributions of clinicians/students and those who had personal experience of eating disorders throughout the chat – this year we’d encourage the same thing. So whatever your background, if you have any thoughts on the below topics, please join us!

Questions

  1. What types of individual/group interventions could occupational therapists use when working with people with eating disorders? What theory/evidence can be useful?
  2. If you have experienced treatment for an eating disorder (especially occupational therapy), what was it like? For me (@pd2ot) the occupations associated with my eating disorder (and self harm) had been all-consuming. Suddenly treatment changed that. There were feelings of fear and loss. It was chaotic. I was also bored! My focus transferred to treatment as my main occupation. It wasn’t as fulfilling. I was trying to engage in new ‘health promoting’ occupations but spent most of my time frantically distracting myself from the lost eating disordered activities, while remaining totally consumed by eating disordered thoughts. What was it like for you? Were there aspects of treatment that were especially helpful/unhelpful?
  3. What is it like to deliver or receive treatment for an eating disorder when engaged in a non-specialist service (maybe on a medical ward, a general mental health ward, at a GP surgery, or as part of a community mental/physical health team)? What are the challenges? What can make the experience a good one?
  4. Which occupational  therapy assessment tools/methods might be useful when working with people with eating disorders? Why? What challenges might there be when using them?
  5. Can you recommend any resources for occupational therapists working with people with eating disorders? (Please share these throughout the chat)
  6. Have you got any questions for the rest of the community about occupational therapy and eating disorders?

It can be difficult to convey answers in 140 characters, so feel free to comment below or to email us something to go onto a Storify.

Preparing for/joining in/reflecting on #OTalk chats counts as CPD activity. Click this link to download a template for documenting your participation.

To prepare for the chat, you can:

Some articles about eating disorders and occupational therapy:

Finally, click the image below to find out more about beat’s fundraising campaign ‘Sock it to Eating Disorders’.

Beat_homepage_-_Sockit_2015_promo_image

We look forward to chatting with you!

UPDATE:

Thank you to everyone who joined in this year’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week #OTalk.

You can read the transcript on the Healthcare Hashtags website or download the PDF. We will be posting a Storify of the questions and answers soon, so watch this space!

The Numbers

1,121,783 Impressions
519 Tweets
41 Participants

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5 Comments

  1. Hi- I’m an aspiring OT student applying for undergraduate courses for 2015 and have been a service user in specialist inpatient facilities for eating disorders. Something that seems to lack in OT interventions in these services is definitely consistancy- eating disorders are extremely consuming disorders and as pointed out by pd2ot and without them one can feel at a loss with what to do with themselves, making it a lot easier for eating disordered thoughts to consume the mind. Inpatient treatment is such a false environment and again as pointed out treatment becomes your only occupation really and time is still spent completely focusing around food. Initially in treatment understandably this can be necessary to regain physical stability however even after this point I found there was not much scope for realistic occupations whilst I was inpatient due to rules be restrictions within the units- especially in adolescent treatment where no independence is permitted, which can be extremely frustrating for 16/17 year olds who would be a lot more independent and home and will soon be heading into adulthood. There were various groups and activities provided throughout the week, though these again were very inconsistent, such as craft group, peer support groups, self esteem groups, but inpatient life reflected such a false environment that transition to home life was very difficult and I found myself at a loss with what to do with myself and how I could deal with life without an eating disorder. As of this I think it really needs to be essential that OT treatment is a long-term, integrated process that continues into the community with service users so they can be supported in coping with their usual day to day lives. I know from informally discussing this with other service users and from a research project I have carried out myself (to contribute to aiming to secure myself a place on an OT undergraduate course) that others have felt the same way and often felt ill prepared and lacked confidence returning to community lives and would have liked some continuous support after discharge.
    However a positive contribution OT had in my treatment is that I felt the occupational therapist was one of the few members of staff that seemed to view me as an individual and was concerned about my individual wishes and needs, rather than treating me as my diagnosis. This was so valuable to me within treatment as I felt from many other professionals set conclusions were made about my illness and I was treated according to these which felt very frustrating for me as obviously, despite when being given the same diagnosis, eating disorders can be completely different for each person.
    It’s really great to see OT interventions for eating disorders being discussed as I believe they could be really valuable in sustaining recovery and preventing relapse. I hope this contribution helps!
    – Lorna.

  2. Hi- I’m an aspiring OT student applying for undergraduate courses for 2015 and have been a service user in specialist inpatient facilities for eating disorders. Something that seems to lack in OT interventions in these services is definitely consistancy- eating disorders are extremely consuming disorders and as pointed out by pd2ot and without them one can feel at a loss with what to do with themselves, making it a lot easier for eating disordered thoughts to consume the mind. Inpatient treatment is such a false environment and again as pointed out treatment becomes your only occupation really and time is still spent completely focusing around food. Initially in treatment understandably this can be necessary to regain physical stability however even after this point I found there was not much scope for realistic occupations whilst I was inpatient due to rules be restrictions within the units- especially in adolescent treatment where no independence is permitted, which can be extremely frustrating for 16/17 year olds who would be a lot more independent and home and will soon be heading into adulthood. There were various groups and activities provided throughout the week, though these again were very inconsistent, such as craft group, peer support groups, self esteem groups, but inpatient life reflected such a false environment that transition to home life was very difficult and I found myself at a loss with what to do with myself and how I could deal with life without an eating disorder. As of this I think it really needs to be essential that OT treatment is a long-term, integrated process that continues into the community with service users so they can be supported in coping with their usual day to day lives. I know from informally discussing this with other service users and from a research project I have carried out myself (to contribute to aiming to secure myself a place on an OT undergraduate course) that others have felt the same way and often felt ill prepared and lacked confidence returning to community lives and would have liked some continuous support after discharge.
    However a positive contribution OT had in my treatment is that I felt the occupational therapist was one of the few members of staff that seemed to view me as an individual and was concerned about my individual wishes and needs, rather than treating me as my diagnosis. This was so valuable to me within treatment as I felt from many other professionals set conclusions were made about my illness and I was treated according to these which felt very frustrating for me as obviously, despite when being given the same diagnosis, eating disorders can be completely different for each person.
    It’s really great to see OT interventions for eating disorders being discussed as I believe they could be really valuable in sustaining recovery and preventing relapse. I hope this contribution helps!
    – Lorna.

  3. Hi Lorna, Thank you so much for that contribution – lots of really interesting points. You’re right about the consistency side of things, that seems to be really hard to achieve in a lot of services – especially when people have specialist treatment.

    Are you able to join the tweetchat tonight? It’d be really valuable if you could share some of your thoughts there as well?

    Good luck with your application – it sounds like you have lots to contribute to the profession!

    Sarah

  4. Pingback: References for University of Plymouth Presentation | shamelessotgeek

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