The Highlands Eating Disorder Treatment Center Blog

Author Archives: Nicole Siegfried (Ph.D, CEDS)

Dr. Nicole Siegfried is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Clinical Director of Castlewood Treatment Center at the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. Siegfried has more than 15 years of experience treating eating disorders and is an international presenter in the field of eating disorders and suicidality.

Happy 2nd Anniversary

It is with great enthusiasm that I announce the two year anniversary for Castlewood at The Highlands Treatment Center for Eating Disorders. Much has happened in two years- we have a lot to celebrate! In August of 2013 we opened our doors to offer treatment to males and females ages 16 and up struggling with either a primary or secondary diagnosis of eating disorder. Our Highlands team had previously worked together for several years in a residential and partial hospitalization setting. We came back together and partnered with Castlewood Treatment Centers to create a treatment program that was structured with…

Read More
The Risk of Reaching Out During the Holidays

The Risk of Reaching Out During the Holidays

Human beings are wired for connection. Our first experiences with family members and caregivers are based on establishing this connection. Connection is a basic human need. A famous quote goes something like this: The loneliest of times can be when you are with the most people. This can be very true for someone with an eating disorder, because of lack of belongingness that is often present. One of the things that we know happens in eating disorders, is that the eating disorder actually becomes the primary relationship for the individual. The reasons behind this are very different for each person.…

Read More

“Eat, It’s Just a Christmas Cookie”

One of the first and most essential ideas for family members to understand is that food and weight aren’t at the core of an eating disorder, they are merely symptoms. Family members often relate “I  don’t understand, it’s just a Christmas Cookie”, or “I don’t get why it is so hard, just eat!” But it isn’t as simple as that. Eating disorders are complex disorders with unique developmental tracks. Food must be addressed as part of treatment and recovery.  However, if only the food and calories that a person is eating is addressed, without also addressing the associated underlying and…

Read More
Gratitude Lists: One Small Thought, One Giant Leap for Recovery

One Small Thought, One Giant Leap for Recovery

Research shows that gratitude is one of the only ways to boost positive emotions. In fact, gratitude is one of the few therapeutic or self-interventions that can immediately result in improved mood. This method of boosting positive emotions works for anyone, not just for people with eating disorders or other mental illnesses. Someone with an eating disorder who learns to tap into the power of gratitude not only feels better, but also broadens their range of the focus, so that they are able to see more possibilities of coping skills, and more opportunities for recovery. This is a key feature…

Read More

The Narrow Lens of Burdensomeness

Feelings of burdensomeness can often escalate around the holidays, especially for individuals with addictions and mental illness. Individuals with eating disorders may be especially at risk for feelings of burdensomeness due to the demands and obligations associated with the holidays. Depressive symptoms, such as burdensomeness, often create a restricted lens of perception in which individuals make assumptions that a larger lens of reality would prove to be untrue. Common assumptions associated with this restricted lens of perception include: “I’m more trouble than I’m worth.” “My family is better off without me.” Other ways that someone with an eating disorder may…

Read More
The Connection between Eating Disorders and Suicide

The Connection between Eating Disorders and Suicide

Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder. Many sufferers of eating disorders die because of medical issues related to their disorder, but the majority of individuals die by suicide. Three main factors converge to make someone with an eating disorder high risk for suicide. The first two are feelings of disconnectedness and burdensomeness. These individuals may feel a lack of belongingness with peers or family, and they often feel that they are a burden to those around them, either because of their eating disorder or because of other factors in their life. The third factor that…

Read More