The treatment of an eating disorder is an intensive process that includes constant vigilance, medical care, gradual exposure to triggering situations, and a great deal of behavioral therapy to break unhealthy patterns and belief systems. Depending on how medically compromised the patient is, it may require inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, or both. To give a sense of what goes into eating disorder treatment consists of, here are examples of ED programming at Dr. Rodriguez’s program in Delray Beach.
Although eating disorder symptoms may look similar across those who suffer from them, the reasons behind why a person develops an eating disorder are unique to them. Because of this, our center does not operate from a “one-size-fits-all” approach, instead we develop and design individualized treatment plans for each and every client to best suit their personal needs for recovery.
A major component of disordered eating treatment is constant monitoring and support by clinical staff like therapists. Our experienced team of practitioners is consistently available to assist clients undergoing the intensive eating disorder treatment program in a safe and supportive way. The road to recovery is fraught with peril; even something as simple as being close to a bathroom can be triggering for someone with bulimia, for example. Our primary clinical focus is moving patients through obstacles to their healing, allowing them to work past these hurdles and eventually make a full recovery.
• Medical monitoring: The physical damage that unchecked eating disorders cause can be extremely serious. Patients coming in for ED treatment are usually suffering from malnutrition and may be dangerously underweight. During the course of treatment, the body weight and overall condition of the patient must be vigilantly monitored to prevent any serious medical complications. It is important to remember that patient safety is first and foremost. If a patient is deemed not safe to be at an outpatient level of treatment, they will be referred to an inpatient or hospital setting with 24-hour monitoring until they are stable enough to resume day treatment.
• Meal support: The most distressing and challenging time for ED patients is meal time. At our mental health facility in Delray Beach, clients being treated for disordered eating patterns are accompanied by a trained mental health counselor during their meals, to help them process food-related distress as its happening. Meal support teaches patients about proper portion size, and helps to prevent the smuggling of food and trips to the bathroom to purge. Instead, patients are able to work through their discomfort in real-time with a licensed clinician specializing in their condition.
• Behavioral therapy: Eating disorders are characterized by have false beliefs about appearance and the value (or lack thereof) of food. One of the reasons why eating disorders are so difficult to treat is because many patients do not see any issue with the behaviors they engage in, because they fall in line with the patients unhealthy value system. The behaviors and rituals related to food become a crutch ED sufferers turn to whenever there is difficulty in their lives. A curriculum that emphasizes behavioral therapy skills, in our case dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), is essential in providing meaningful recovery. Therapies like DBT and CBT help challenges unhealthy values and belief systems, and replace harmful coping mechanisms with healthy coping skills.
These are just a few components of a successful treatment plan for eating disorders. Eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorders are fundamentally rooted in a lack of control. Acts like restricting or purging provide a false sense of control to the ED sufferer. That lack of control is a major reason why individuals with disordered eating also suffer from a higher rate of co-occurring mental health issues. These can include, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), or substance abuse. It is important that a facility treating eating disorders also be equipped to treat dual diagnosis patients and those with co-occurring mental health. Contact us today to find out more information about our programs