Founder and Executive Director: Nicole Bourquin, MS, LMFT

Nicole Bourquin, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (# MFC 46728) specializing in the treatment and prevention of Eating Disorders in Orange County. She provides counseling and consultations for those who suffer from eating disorders as well as their loved ones. Nicole is passionate about the need to educate the community with the latest, accurate information on eating disorders and to eradicate these disorders by providing early intervention for our children.

Nicole has a Bachelors degree in Psychology, and a Masters degree in Counseling Psychology. She is licensed through the state of California's Board of Behavioral Sciences as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Nicole has hundreds of continued education hours and additional certifications as a wellness facilitator and a wellness and body image consultant. She has published numerous articles and continues to work as a speaker and facilitator for health promotion.

Nicole specializes in treating the athlete with eating disorders and therefore provides education and consulting to numerous athletic organizations, coaches, teams and individual athletes. She has focused on working with athletes who have eating disorders and how to overcome their illness before it can ruin one's athletic career. She is a member of ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders), IAEDP (International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals), NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association), the Eating Disorder Referral and Information Center, AED (Academy for Eating Disorders), CAMFT (California Association for Marriage & Family Therapists), ACA (The American Counseling Association), and the APA (American Psychological Association). Nicole is also a member of the National Health and Wellness Association, and a member of numerous community councils.

The Eating Disorder Foundation of Orange County is a non-profit agency founded by Nicole and supported by a group of psychotherapists and other mental health practitioners devoted to educating our children, teachers, coaches, and parents on the realism of eating disorders in our community.

Our professional mission is to educate the general public and health care professionals to become more aware of the complex causes which lead to eating disorders and to reiterate the need for a multi-faceted "team" approach to ensure full recovery.

Why? The need for a non-profit foundation...

Prevention is the only guaranteed treatment for eating disorders at this time.I

Current statistics suggest that 1 in 5 teenage girls suffer from some type of eating disorder. 11 million people suffer from these disorders in the U.S. alone, and another 48 million suffer world wide (www.renfrew.org).

Treatment of eating disorders is costly to individuals as well as to our community. Prevention today means less money spent down the road in providing treatment facilities, emergency room and insurance costs. The prevention of eating disorders also leads to the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse as 50% of individuals with any form of eating disorder also use some sort of illicit drug and/or alcohol as well.

The link between eating disorders and substance abuse
- 50 % of individuals with eating disorders abuse alcohol and/or illicit drugs, compared to the 9 % in the general population who use (CASA, 2004).
- Up to 35 % of individuals who use drugs/alcohol suffer from some type of eating disorder (CASA, 2004).

Treatment failure

(ANRED) states that only 60% of individuals who seek out treatment will actually recover from their ED. 20% of individuals will only make a partial recovery, and lastly 20% will die from their disorder even when treatment has been implemented.

Today only 1 in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment.

About 80% of the girls and women who have accessed care for their eating disorders do no get the intensity of treatment they need to stay in recovery. Often they are sent home weeks earlier than the recommended stay.

96% of eating disorder professionals believe their patients with Anorexia are put in "life-threatening situations" because their health insurance policy mandates early discharge (France, David, " Anorexics Sentenced to Death," (Glamour Magazine, 1999).

Current insurance coverage for eating disorders is extremely limited if there is any at all. Counseling and inpatient treatment settings are frequently denied all together and if counseling/treatment is covered it is at a substantially low coverage rate (10% to 50%). Insurance companies that do allow for some type of treatment for eating disorders also limit the amount of treatment sessions, with many insurance companies dictating the treatment of these disorders. In-patient treatment settings can cost up to $50,000.00 per visit. The additional problem with these facilities is that they are privately funded and therefore cannot accept patients under the age of 18 years.

There is no known treatment for eating disorders that has been 100% successful. Recovery takes time; three to five years recovery time is not unusual. However, relapse is common amongst all eating disordered individuals and a 10-15 year struggle with their disorder is not unusual.

The need for forced education in our schools

ANAD reports that 86% of eating disordered individuals reported the onset of their illness by age 20.

According to a 10-year study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 10% of individuals report the illness at the age of 10 or younger, and 33% report the onset between the ages of 11-15, which is well before they get into High School. This is the reason that ED education and outreach must be included in our elementary and middle schools (Laurus, Health, 2000).

According to a finding posted by HEDC:

  • Nearly 1/2 of first, second, and third grade girls want to be "thinner."
  • 80% of 10-year olds are afraid of being "fat"
  • 4 out of 5 women in the U.S. are dissatisfied with their appearance
  • Half of American women and 25% of men are on a diet any given day
  • 50% of 10-year old girls state that they "feel better" about themselves when they are on a diet.
  • 35% of all dieters progress to "excessive dieting practices. Of these, 1 in 4 will develop a diagnosable eating disorder.

    Here in Orange County it is not enough to simply educate parents. Unfortunately the rate of eating disorders is higher in South Orange County than in surrounding areas. Many children state that their Mothers and Fathers are on "diets." Our children are aware of the Atkins, no carbs, no fat, no green food, etc. They hear the media whether it be ads on the radio or television, and they see it on reality shows. Our society is constantly talking about weight and diet and the quest for the ideal or perfect body. We are bombarded with perfect and idealistic bodies on magazine covers while waiting in line at the grocery store. Media is so appearance focused and does not state that the ideals they propose are not real anyways. The use of airbrushing and using other's body parts are not freely spoken of.

    We recognize that parents too are focused on appearance an weight. We continue to buy into the warped and misleading media culture. When we see a young child with an eating disorder we can often see mom or someone close to them also suffering from some kind of disordered eating.

    Eating disorders are rampant in our society, yet the state of California has no government funded program to combat anorexia or bulimia. Very few schools or colleges have programs to educate our youth about the dangers and the great personal loss to the victims of these disorders.

    We have many federally funded programs for the prevention of alcoholism and drug abuse and the value of these programs in our schools has proven to be beneficial in lowering the incident of drug abuse in our society. The education programs have been well accepted into school curricula by our educators, our government, and the parents.

    Eating disorders cause an immense amount of suffering for all involved, the victims, their families, loved ones, and our community as a whole. These disorders have reached epidemic levels (11 million suffers) while an immeasurable amount of human suffering has occurred. Individuals with anorexia and/or bulimia lose the ability to function effectively and suffer a great personal and societal loss that can never be regained.

    Eating disorder prevention needs to start at the elementary school level where kids can develop healthy relationships with food, foster the growth of their self-esteem, and reduce the stigma associated with eating disorders. The key is to get to kids at an early age where prevention will best be utilized. NEDA recommends that prevention programs in our schools and community organizations be coordinated with opportunities for participants to speak confidentially with a trained professional with expertise in the field of eating disorders, and when, appropriate, receive referrals to sources of competent, specialized care (compiled by Levine & Maine, www.natioanleatingdisorders.org/p.asp?WebPage_ID=286&Profile_ID=41169)."

    The National Eating Disorders Association wrote: Prevention efforts will fail, or worse, inadvertently encourage disordered eating, if they concentrate solely on warning the public about the signs, symptoms, and dangers of eating disorders.

    They continue to list the essential components for effective prevention:
    1. To address our cultural obsession with slenderness,
    2. To address the roles in our society by males and females,
    3. The need to develop one's self-esteem and self-acceptance in families of origin, schools, community service, sports, hobbies, and work that transcend physical appearance.
    4. All schools need to provide some type of prevention effort that includes the opportunity for individuals to speak confidentially to some one trained in the treatment of eating disorders, or be able to refer youth to competent and specialized services in the community (NEDA, 2003)

    Recovery rates are not hopeful either. Only 20% of those with anorexia will recover from their eating disorder when treatment is implemented. Without treatment the recovery rate is less than 5%. Of the remaining 75% of individuals with anorexia, about 30% will make partial recovery, 25% will remain in their disease and sadly 20% will die. Recovery rates are very subjective however because often anorexia is not listed as the cause of death. Often it is listed as cardiac arrest, "sudden death," etc.).

    Also it's impossible to get an accurate recovery rate because there is no clear scientific definition of what "recovery" is or when recovery actually starts and whether or not it ever ends? All these questions are still being argued by researchers. But the bottom line is that recovery is extremely long and difficult for anorexia and the other eating disorders.

    Therefore, the only certain way to treat this epidemic is to start trying to prevent it from happening in the first place or to catch the disorder early on before it can get so out of control and consume an individual's life. The quicker the eating disorder is identified and treated, the faster and more likely recovery will occur.
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