Eating Disorder Treatment

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About 30 million Americans have an eating disorder such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, and the number is on the rise. Many people who have eating disorders make every effort to hide their illness, so more may actually be affected. Sadly, eating disorders carry one of the highest mortality rates of all mental disorders, yet few people affected receive adequate treatment.

Eating disorders affect people of all ages, genders, and ethnic backgrounds, but young women and adolescent girls are most commonly affected. Eating disorders are characterized by consistently under- or overeating to the point at which physical health and/or psychosocial functioning are compromised. Without treatment, eating disorders tend to get worse over time, but recovery is possible with the right treatment.

Anorexia nervosa

Anorexia nervosa involves the restriction of caloric intake to lose weight or maintain a significantly low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat, a distorted body image, and/or refusing to gain weight even when body weight is extremely low, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013). In other words, people with anorexia view themselves as fat.

Bulimia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa includes both eating large amounts of food within a two-hour period and feeling out of control while doing so. Patients with bulimia also repeatedly engage in behaviors to compensate for excessive eating in order to prevent weight gain. Some of the inappropriate compensatory and/or purging behaviors associated with bulimia may include self-induced vomiting, fasting, excessive exercise and/or the misuse of medications such as laxatives or diuretics. As with anorexia, bulimia nervosa is also characterized by a distorted body image.

Binge-eating disorder

Binge-eating disorder is characterized by repeated episodes of eating large amounts of food within a two-hour period. Patients who have binge-eating disorder may experience a loss of control over how much they eat, where they find themselves eating very rapidly, eating until uncomfortably full, eating when not physically hungry, and eating alone due to embarrassment over the large quantity being eaten, and feeling disgusted, depressed, or very guilty afterward, according to the DSM-5.

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Consequences from eating disorders

Consequences resulting from eating disorders depend on the type, severity and duration of the disorder. Consequences occur not only for the person with the disorder, but for all of the people in his or her life. A few possible consequences include:

  • Infertility
  • Tooth and gum disease
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Neurological damage
  • Multisystem organ failure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Impaired functioning in family, school, work and social roles
  • Damaged relationships with family and friends
  • Death from heart failure, organ failure, malnutrition or suicide
  • Co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders

Sovereign Health’s Eating Disorder Program

Sovereign Health of California offers an Eating Disorder Program at our Rancho San Diego and San Clemente locations. Individualized treatment plans define our program, which empowers patients to incorporate healthy lifestyle behaviors, find alternative ways to cope with stress, and manage their triggers to reduce the risk of relapse after they complete their treatment.

Female patients can receive treatment for eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia, at Sovereign Health of California’s San Clemente and Rancho San Diego locations. Girls from ages 12 to 17 receive eating disorder treatment at our Rancho San Diego facility, while women over the age of 18 can receive treatment at our San Clemente facility.

Our Rancho San Diego location offers inpatient and outpatient treatment services, while our San Clemente location offers partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment. Our clinical treatment team includes professionals who are dedicated to providing high-quality, compassionate treatment and care for all of our patients to assist them in overcoming eating disorders and any co-occurring conditions.

About eating disorder treatment

Sovereign Health of California provides a holistic array of behavioral health treatment services at both our San Clemente and Rancho San Diego facilities for women and adolescent girls who have eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

Our holistic approach to treating eating disorders includes evidence-based and complementary treatments such as:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Nutritional education
  • Mindfulness and yoga
  • Body image therapy
  • Stress management
  • Relapse prevention
  • Lifestyle management
  • Empowerment skills
  • Supervised experiential outings

Health can be restored

Eating disorders are serious, life-threatening illnesses that tend to get worse over time without intervention. Eating disorders usually occur concurrently with other mental health disorders that also must be addressed to promote successful outcomes. Fortunately, eating disorders are manageable and health can be restored. For more information about the Eating Disorder Program offered to female adolescents and adult women at Sovereign Health of California, please contact our 24/7 helpline.

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