We live in a world where thinness is typically equated with physical attractiveness, success and happiness. Most people have dealt with issues regarding their weight and body shape and the consequent effects on self-image. But eating disorders are different. They are complex psychological disorders whereby an individual will develop certain eating patterns, which they maintain habitually and which they use in an attempt to help them cope with problems and crises in their lives.
Over 5 million Americans are affected by eating disorders every year. Disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating, compulsive eating, etc. Left untreated, the consequences can be devastating emotionally, psychologically and physically. In extreme cases eating disorders can be fatal, causing even more devastation to the family and friends of the sufferer. No-one is immune. Eating disorders can affect men, women, adolescents – even children – from all cultures and classes.
There are some tell tale signs to look for. We list some of them below as a guide. But families, typically, are the first to notice changes in behaviors of loved ones and at the first signs that anything is wrong, professional help should be sought. The earlier a sufferer receives treatment, the more effective that treatment will be:
The earliest detectable signs of anorexia relate to a preoccupation with food. The sufferer will refuse to eat, denying hunger and skipping meals. They will have difficulty concentrating and will be obsessed with the shape and size of their body. They will weigh food and will adopt rituals such as cutting food into tiny pieces and will make excuses for not eating.
Several other behaviors to look for include:
People who have bulimia nervosa routinely 'binge', consuming large amounts of food in a very short period of time, and immediately 'purge', to rid their bodies of the just-eaten food by self-inducing vomiting, taking enemas, or abusing laxatives or other medications.
Families may become aware that their loved one is constantly dieting or is visiting the bathroom during or immediately after a meal. They may discover hoarded food or stocks of laxatives or diuretics. These are just some of the outward signs of bulimia.
Most bulimics are not overweight or are only slightly so. It is for this reason that their eating habits are often overlooked, instead of being recognized as symptoms of a serious medical illness.
Just because an individual is fat does not mean they have an eating disorder – in fact, the majority of obese people do not. People with binge eating disorder are just as likely to be normal weight. There are other behaviors and symptoms that need to be watched for. Someone suffering from binge eating disorder will, typically, present a combination of some or all of the following:
Compulsive Overeating disorder can also be classed as an addiction to food. A sufferer will use food as a way of hiding from her emotions or of coping with stresses and problems in their life.
Unlike bulimics, an individual with compulsive overeating disorder will not purge themselves after a binge eating episode. Apart from the obvious increase in weight, the disorder can be difficult to spot. Sufferers often eat very fast. Typically, they will eat when they are not hungry, often nearly non-stop throughout the day. Compulsive eaters often over-indulge in sugary foods in an attempt to elevate their mood.
Eating disorders are treatable and we are here to help!
Due to the serious health consequences of eating disorders, most treatment providers tend to focus solely on treating the eating disorder - ignoring the fact that many patients are also suffering from co-occurring disorders or addictive behaviors. These may either be part of the root cause of the disorder or may have developed as a result of it being untreated, or inadequately so, for a period of time.
At Sovereign Health of California, we have a different approach. Our aim is to treat the entire person, not just the presenting symptoms.
Before we admit a patient, we request extensive information not only from the sufferer, but from family and friends, in order to obtain a complete picture of the issues involved. We seek permission to contact any previous eating disorder treatment providers in order to gather additional information. The more complete the picture, the easier it will be to design a treatment program to meet the specific needs of the individual.
Sovereign Health of California has a reputation for the finest treatment of dual diagnosis and co-occurring disorders in the U.S. and these extensive assessments provide our treatment team with an exclusive insight into any co-occurring or dual diagnosis issues, allowing us to incorporate them into the overall treatment program.
The patient is then introduced to the treatment team, which will include, among others, a family therapist, a psychiatrist and a registered dietician. During the first few days, the patient will get to know each member of the treatment team who, in turn will carry out their own, individual evaluations before combining their knowledge, together with the results of the initial assessment to produce a completely individual treatment plan for the patient.
Our treatment program at Sovereign Health combines traditional clinical treatments with alternative, holistic therapies, designed to ensure our clients receive the necessary care and support to take them through treatment and on to a successful recovery. Patients are encouraged to partake of therapies such as massage, meditation, hypnotherapy, exercise, sessions at a local gym, acupuncture, art therapy, equine therapy, etc.
At Sovereign Health of California, we concentrate on creating an environment where a patient can feel safe about expressing emotions about food and eating. The patient can understand that they are not alone in their struggle. We focus on supporting our patients as they seek to develop confidence in their ability to make healthy choices about food.
We encourage patients to participate in experiential activities such as shopping and cooking – giving them the chance to practice the skills required to overcome their anorexia whilst surrounded by supportive professionals who understand the challenges involved in recovery.
Our patients stay in our comfortable, welcoming, gender specific residences, situated in the picturesque, coastal community of San Clemente, California. There are house managers and staff on hand 24/7 to provide any necessary support to patients throughout their stay.
We offer treatment to both men and women. So, to learn more about treatment and recovery at Sovereign Health of California, why not visit the 'What We Can Offer' page of our website. Alternatively, call us now! We have advisors available 24/7 to answer any question you may have with regard to Sovereign Health of California and all its treatment programs.
Our success rate speaks for itself!