Guest post by Dawn Hynes, MSW
As many of you know, for just over 20 years, I have worked with athletes of all levels who have struggled with body image and/or eating concerns, including a significant number of Olympic athletes.
With Olympians in particular, due to their rigorous training schedules, they are quite reluctant to consider any higher level of care due to concern over taking time off which might lead to a change in position on their team. In some cases, these athletes might be in denial as to the seriousness of their illness. When this occurs, our team has been sought out to provide a consult and/or guidance with facilitating an intervention. Since 2010, I’ve worked with over 125 Olympic level athletes.
One of our greatest challenges – after an athlete has agreed to treatment, is to identify eating disorder facilities we highly recommend who could provide evidence-based treatment for all of the mental health concerns that clients may be dealing with – in addition to their eating disorder thoughts and behaviors.
I’ve known Dr. Kim Dennis for almost 15 years – and during this time, she has graciously volunteered her time on behalf of our organization(Hynes Recovery Services) for several events: Recovery Presentation at Boston University, Keynote Speaker for both our awareness walk in Boston as well as an Eating Disorder Symposium held at Wellesley College – in addition to being a panelist at a film screening for MIT where we had an audience of over 300 college students and campus health care practitioners.
Dr. Dennis’ passion and dedication to those with eating disorders is unparalleled. I have great respect for her clinical skills and am impressed with the team she’s assembled at SunCloud Health.
I highly recommend this eating disorder treatment facility for Olympic athletes who struggle with not only eating disorders, but also those seeking recovery from their addiction and other mental health concerns.
Kim Dennis, MD, CEDS, is a board-certified psychiatrist who specializes in treating substance use, addictions, eating disorders and co-occurring disorders to include mood disorders, anxiety and depression. She currently serves as the founder and CEO of SunCloud Health, an outpatient treatment center located in Northbrook, IL, which treats men and women, adolescents and adults. Her knowledge of eating disorders and substance use isn’t just limited to her academic and clinical experience, having had her own personal experience as a woman in recovery from an eating disorder and alcoholism. Today, she is able to combine her personal journey with her medical training to help patients and their families become emotionally strong, responsible problem-solvers, who are inspired to create fulfilling lives for themselves. She believes in and maintains a holistic perspective in the practice of psychiatry, incorporating biological, psycho-social and spiritual approaches into the individually-tailored treatment programs for each of her patients.
Dr. Dennis has a deep understanding of the unique issues faced by elite athletes, and how sometimes those challenges can result in maladaptive and self destructive coping behaviors. While in high school, Dr. Dennis was an all state basketball player en route to a Division 1 scholarship. A knee injury derailed that plan and instead she attended University of Chicago where she played on the basketball team, softball team and volleyball team. It was during this time that she began her decade long battle with both bulimia and alcoholism. With this athletic background, Dr. Dennis understands first hand the pressures and the nuances involved with being an elite athlete. She has a passion for helping athletes who are struggling with eating disorders and her personal experience coupled with her professional medical training makes her one of the nation’s best in this field.