[00:00:00] This is Discover a New You through Recovery, an addiction and recovery podcast. Through a series of interviews with clinicians and addiction experts, this podcast tells the story of what addiction really looks like and what makes recovery truly possible. We’ll discuss everything you need to know about the nature of addiction, how to identify if it’s time to seek treatment, combating common misinformation and what treatment means, what it feels like, and how to get it. From Niznik Behavioral Health and Discovery Point Retreat, I’m your host, Noelle Carmen.

[00:00:42] Good afternoon and welcome once again to Discover a New You Through Recovery. We are talking about addiction today and more specifically, eating disorders. With me today is Jared Hirsch, he is the CEO of Discovery Point Retreat and Eating Disorders Solutions. Discovery Point Retreat is here in Waxahachie and Ennis and offers the full continuum of services for substance use disorder. And as I said, we are talking about eating disorders today. Eating Disorders Solutions is located in Dallas. And we want our audience to know if you are someone you love struggles in their relationship with food, please call (972) 430-9821. That’s (972) 430-9821. Also with us today is Phillip Van Gelder, he calls himself the eating disorder evangelist. Welcome to the show, thank you so much for being here.

[00:01:45] Thank you for having us. Good morning.
[00:01:47] Good morning. So what I want to talk about is eating disorders in relationship to addiction, because I think a lot of people, when they think of eating disorders, certainly don’t associate them with addiction and those kinds of behaviors. Can you speak to that, Jared?

[00:02:04] Yes. I think part of the problem is we just aren’t thinking about eating disorders. Right? We talk about addiction, we see it in the new, we see our role models going to seek help, going through their recovery journey. We’re really not having those conversations yet with eating disorders. So, you know, prior to the show we talked about what’s the link, what’s the commonality, and it’s trauma. Both addiction and eating disorders are symptoms of an underlying trauma. And that’s really the focus, whether at Discovery Point Retreat, whether at Eating Disorders Solutions or really any general behavior or mental health provider, it’s we’re focusing on an underlying trauma. Well, we really can’t penetrate that trauma until we work with the addictive behaviors. That’s why we need treatment and you need really the best providers in the field to start working on the eating disorder, the addiction, that really helps us peel back that metaphorical onion kind of trauma.

[00:02:51] We actually hear this one trauma throw around a lot. So can we slow the conversation down and really kind of talk about what—when we talk about trauma, what are you talking about in relationship to every person and their personal experience?

[00:03:11] So trauma’s the situation that causes someone to act not normal– in a non-normal way. And its usually life experience that they’ve engaged in. But it doesn’t necessarily fall into the classical patterns of ‘I saw a terrible tragedy’, ‘I was engaged in a terrible tragedy’. It could be a series of events over a period of time. Where the person was frightened or in a non-normal position for themselves.

[00:03:49] Is this where we talk about the ‘fight or flight’ over a period of time? Is that what you’re talking about?

[00:03:56] There’s ‘fight or flight’, there’s early childhood adverse childhood experiences. That– I think you hit the nail on the head when you say trauma is person to everybody. That’s really what it is. The three of us in this room can go through the same exact experience and same stimulus, but different reactions, and that’s what affects this route in our life journeys and life tracks and effects each one of us different.

[00:04:16] So as you offer these services for substance use, for eating disorders, I would imagine that it takes a lot of trust, a lot of building trust to ask people to come in at their most vulnerable time, share their most vulnerable experiences, work through their trauma. How do you reach out to the community to form that kind of trust?

[00:04:39] Yes, it’s really challenging. I don’t think the ask right off the bat is to come in to get help. I think they ask is to pick up the phone and call. All of our admissions team is trained in an advocacy. We’re not pushing you to come in to seek help, we’re pushing you to have a conversation. You know, I’m not a therapist, not a clinician, I’m not a doctor myself, but let’s just have a conversation that really gonna be the starting point to your recovery journey.

[00:05:03] Because isn’t that the point? Is to realize, to have this ‘aha’ moment to call in and say, I may need help. And so we’re just trying to bridge the gap for people to call and just have a conversation.

[00:05:18] Yes, so what I like to say is if you’ve made that call, that is the biggest hurdle, obstacle, barrier, and I think that’s the most difficult part of training. Once you’re in any treatment center or any facility, you’re meeting with a therapist– that’s easy. You making a phone call is very difficult. I know when a call comes in through our admission line, or when a call comes into one of our therapists, the individual on the other end of the phone has hung up six other times, or they’ve gone online and they’ve looked twelve different treatment centers up. But for them to make that call, that’s extremely accomplishing in and of itself.

[00:05:49] So we want to reach out right now to our listening audience. Please, Jared, could you give us the contact information? Again, if you know someone struggling with food, their relationship with food, please call this number.

[00:06:03] Yeah, give us a call. (972) 430-9821. Once again (972) 430-9821. It’s a phone call. It’s easy, like I said, let’s just have a conversation.

[00:06:17] One of the things that I love about both Discovery Point Retreat and Eating Disorder Solution is the people. It’s all about the people working there. And I think that that makes the difference and that’s why I have you, Phil, on, you Jared. It’s really to introduce you to our community. So I wanted to ask you about you, find out a little bit about how you grew up, some of your formative experiences. Jared, you’re a trained attorney who is now working in eating disorders and substance use. How did that happen? How did– and Phil, how did you end up being some kind of evangelist for eating disorders?

[00:06:59] We’re still– we’re still working on those evangelist titles. So I think there may be a longer conversation, but it’s always the most difficult question, Noelle. You know, I think I got here by realizing what I didn’t want to do. And, you know, I always wanted to be a lawyer, never wanted to be in court, never wanted to be litigating. So, you know, you go through law school and everybody said, ‘okay, you’re you’re going to be miserable for three years, do that.’ So, okay. Then you graduate and everyone says, ‘go, you know, litigate or go be in the basement and be miserable for five years, go do that.’ I said, ‘okay, something’s not adding up here. Either I need new mentors or new friends. But, you know, you invest so much time in yourself and in your education to really be, you know, to have to be miserable for a number of years just really didn’t make sense for me.

So that’s why I start looking at opportunities to work in house, having more meaningful, more tangible organization, all of that. And I started working with Niznik Behavioral Health, which is headquartered in Florida in their legal department. Really I fell in love with– I was working in compliance, I had the ability to effectuate change throughout an organization, optimize, you know, processes, efficiencies but more than that, was work with people that are way smarter than myself. This wasn’t just our leadership or executive team, this was our direct staff, this was our nurses. These were experts in every field that we were fortunate enough to work in and diversify ourselves with. That’s really where I fell in love, started moving over to the operational side of things, moved out to Texas, and then here we are.

[00:08:25] So as you were working with all of these, all of your employees, do you find that bringing people on and having them operate in their passion, just like you discovered your passion is part of what makes a very successful not only company, but creates a relationship with your clients?

[00:08:48] Yes, we talked about, you know, before the show about what makes a company successful, right, or how do we optimize teams? It all starts with communication. If every one of us is not waking up every single day, 1000 percent motivated, excited, happy, eager to treat the patients we serve, eager to work with the team that we’re a part of, then we’re doing something wrong. And every single one of us applied for a job to have that feeling. If we’re not receiving that fulfillment, then we’ve got to come back to the drawing board and say maybe we’re in the wrong position, it’s the wrong role, it’s not the right environment. But every one of us has those qualities. Every one of us is educated, is trained, has something that motivates them. So my job is as a leader is to find what’s your motivator, what’s your passion? How can we maximize that? And then I really sit back and make you successful. I work for the clients. At the end of the day, I think that’s what really matters.

[00:09:39] And isn’t this significant to recovery, also? If you start talking about leading people to find their passion, isn’t that a part of recovery and where people end up finding what their true path is? What I love about everything that you’re saying right now is you’re employing people who are passionate. They can’t help but pass that on to their clients, that whole entire message. Phil, can you speak to that some?

[00:10:02] About the passion? Yeah, you know, it’s really fun because I was listening to Jared talking. That’s what makes Eating Disorder Solution so much fun, this. He’s created an environment where if you have some idea of something that makes sense, it’s gonna be something we’re going to do. We’re going to try it, best practices. The other nice thing is you so transparent, so subject matter expertise flows both directions, both into the company and from a company out in the community. And that’s what connects us to the community. So it’s really easy to get started and say, ‘I’m going to work every day, I’m going to do this exact same thing each day, and I’m trained to do this exact same thing each day.’ And you’re so focused that you’re not aware of situational awareness. But here we have something where we’re totally open and transparent, where the best practices are things we engage in and use to treat patients, and there’s not– it’s just not possible not to go to work and say, ‘you know what? All I’m going to do today is take care of my clients, my patients. So that’s what’s so fun. And I think Discovery Point Retreat, that’s another—you know, I’ve watched everyone down there and everybody just gets excited about what they’re doing. And yet you see some very sick people.

[00:11:31] So if there’s a message that are wanting to watch the community, because we’re talking about passion, we’re talking about relationships. We’re talking about loving what it is that we do all communicating that to our clients so they can go realize this for themselves and move out into the world and create a new life. What are the messages that you want to send right now as people are listening, struggle with addiction, struggling with eating disorders? How do we bridge that gap and what is the message there? The biggest hurdle is a hundred-pound telephone.

[00:12:03] The biggest hurdle is that hundred-pound telephone. We know 30 million people struggle with an eating disorder in this country. Every 62 minutes someone dies from an eating disorder in this country.

[00:12:15] I think that’s so significant, can you please just say those statistics again? Because I don’t think that that is just common knowledge.

[00:12:22] So 30 million people struggle with an eating disorder and not the people that you physically look at and say, ‘oh, yeah, he or she has an eating disorder, physically, I can see it. No, actually, you physically most often can’t see it because you’re hiding trauma and you can’t see the trauma that they’re hiding.

[00:12:42] So, again, the treatment really has to be something where you are not just focusing on the behaviors, but you’re focusing on the emotional turmoil that’s underneath all of the behaviors they have to go hand-in-hand.

[00:12:56] Yeah, so, you know, if you– if we focus solely on the behaviors, then you know, where a lockdown psych center. And this is at both the addiction and the eating disorder side. We focus on the person; we actually look at the environment that you’re treating in.
And you know, what we did at Eating Disorder Solutions is we have a very small, intimate, eight bed house, right? It’s not a psych center, it’s not a lockdown facility. It’s an environment that’s designed to replicate what you’re going to discharge once you’re going to leave here, because that’s the reality. What I tell every client that comes in here is that, you know, unless I walk by you at the mall or see you at an alumni event, then I don’t ever want to see you again, because that means we didn’t really do our job.

[00:13:30] Let me, let me add to what Jared said if I could. Because he specifically said, you know, we’re– we have a certified eating disorder facility, it’s an inpatient facility and it’s in a house. What’s really important when you think about this is not just the intimacy of the study, but it looks like your house. And it’s– and so it’s intuitive. It’s one thing to treat somebody in a giant hospital, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are still– that can work for certain people. Certain people can survive in that environment and that will be appropriate. Other people that won’t work, that complements their underlying trauma. So now you’re in the home and it’s intuitive, just like the home you’re going to go back to. So we’re not going to present—it’s just like the home you came from. So now we’re going to teach you how to resolve these issues in a setting that’s so familiar to you, safe and protected, and something that you’re familiar with.

[00:14:34] Okay, the website is…
[00:14:35] Eatingdisrodersolutions.com. Very easy to find in Dallas, and they’ll show it. And our phone number is (972) 430-9821.

[00:14:47] Philip Van Gelder and Jared Hirsch, thank you so much for coming on the show. It’s truly been an honor to speak with both of you. I hope that you come back. I feel like we just touched the tip of the iceberg. And I want our audience to know you can Discover a New You Through Recovery at Discovery Point Retreat and Eating Disorder Solutions. Jared, tell us that phone number one more time.

[00:15:12] One more time. (972) 430-9821.

[00:15:16] We have– we are so happy to have you and thank you. I wish you all a good day.

[00:15:24] Thank you. Thanks, Noelle.