Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to COVID-19

LAST UPDATED ON 03/15/2021

As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Structure House to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, there are certain restrictions in place regarding on-site visitation at Structure House.

  • These restrictions have been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • Options for telehealth visitation are continuously evaluated so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff receives ongoing infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance is provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit

Healthy Living Blog

Anxiety and Weight Gain

There is a strong relationship between anxiety and weight gain.  Especially during the months surrounding COVID-19, there has been increased attention given to this phenomenon.  There are several reasons why anxiety can lead to weight gain, weight gain can lead to anxiety, and then the vicious cycle can go on and on.

In our culture, we are taught that anxiety is an emotion that is painful and uncomfortable.  When there is uncertainty or chaos, we feel unease and we want to soothe the discomfort.  Eating will always be an easy, convenient, and quick way to do that.  It’s fine to use food to comfort ourselves on occasion.  After all, the first time in our lives that we expressed any uneasy (e.g., crying as a baby), we were usually met with a bottle.  Thus, many of us associate eating and food with comfort and soothing from a young age, and this continues into adulthood.  However, when eating is the ONLY way that we are soothing our anxiety, we are likely to gain weight and then create more problems for ourselves.

Additionally, it is well-known that high levels of anxiety and stress lead to increased cortisol production, and having high cortisol makes it more difficult to lose weight once one has gained.  Our cells become less sensitive to glucose and we are more likely to store fat in a state of constant anxiety.  Thus, maintaining high levels of anxiety (levels that may have increased because of the weight gain that resulted from the overeating) may contribute to stubbornness when it comes to weight loss.

At Structure House, we work with our participants to learn alternative ways to manage anxiety so that food is not always the only tool in the toolbox.  We offer training in meditation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy.  Additionally, the robust fitness programming that we provide on campus (and teach participants how to continue at home) is another powerful way to manage one’s anxiety.  When we are experiencing tension emotionally, discharging through physical activity is a research-proven way to buffer its effects.

Anxiety and weight gain does not have to be a vicious cycle.  At Structure House, we can support our participants in finding a better way to deal with life’s often chaotic twists and turns.

About Katie Rickel, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Katie Rickel graduated summa cum laude from Duke University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Florida. She completed an APA-accredited clinical internship in health psychology at Duke University Medical Center, with advanced training in behavioral and bariatric obesity treatment as well as the psychological management of chronic pain and illness. Dr. Rickel also has expertise in treating anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias. Her research has been presented at various professional conferences and published in scientific journals. Dr. Rickel has also appeared on “The Dr. Oz Show” and has been quoted in several popular media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Health magazine, Yahoo! Health, Women’s Health magazine, Weight Watchers magazine, and

View all posts by Katie Rickel, PhD