Eating Disorder Treatment at Growth Extended
Amid today’s obsession with thinness, it is no wonder that Eating Disorders is one of the most prevalent mental health issues in our society today. Music videos, television/reality shows, social media, and movie actors present abnormally small bodies on the screens. Skeletal models show how clothes are “supposed to fit”, however an average person is typically 3 to 4 sizes larger than a model. Photoshop, filters, and other “tricks” cause celebrities to set a standard for perfection that is unrealistic. It is not surprising that eating disorders are rising in both males and females. Eating disorders are complicated, severe illnesses that require immediate assistance from qualified professionals. If left untreated, eating disorders can cause serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even death. Eating disorders often lead to poor self-esteem and strained relationships. Moreover, eating disorders are linked with other serious disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Family members, co-workers, loved ones may or may not know that there is an “eating issue”. But whether they know or not, they are still not fully aware of the torture that is a daily occurrence when wrestling with an eating disorder. And although someone with an eating disorder may be loved and cared for, that love and concern will not make the eating condition go away. Rather, the love and concern consistently being met with resistance, distance and lies can sometimes cause the opposite effect. Moreover, an eating disorder can subsequently accompany much deeper issues such as emotional swings, internal/external conflict and a devastating blow to a previously organized, intelligent, and capable person.
At Growth Extended we understand the seriousness, but we also possess the knowledge and capacity to communicate with someone dealing with an eating disorder. Oftentimes, weight, calories, body image and food is thought of by someone struggling with an eating disorder almost on a constant bases. There is a unique level of insight that accompanies Growth Extended staff as we treat persons with eating disorders. This insight is attributable to our years of extensive training and years of experience working with eating disorders. Persons with eating disorders suffer often times in silence, isolation and, sometimes, in denial. Because our society is obsessively focused on youth, looks and being thin, it is difficult at best, to manage a healthy body and body image. But at Growth Extended, we are determined to help!
Growth Extended offers comprehensive residential, partial and intensive outpatient treatment eating disorder program for adult men, women and adolescents struggling with Anorexia Nervosa Disorder (AND), Bulimia Nervosa Disorder (BND), Compulsive Overeating Disorder (COD) or Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and other forms of eating impairments. Oftentimes mental health problems accompany an eating disorder / food addiction. Growth Extended therefore provides innovative evidenced based methods of transforming lives inundated by problematic emotional and behavioral responses to food.
Growth Extended’s primary approach against the self-deprecation and abuse of food is to prevent abuse by educating the values of wellness. And while we are aware that eating disorders are not primarily about weight, body image, size and food consumption, these are relevant factors that are addressed in treatment. Additional psychological aspects of eating disorders that are explored are stress, control, and overwhelming emotions. Growth Extended is committed to unlocking both surface issues (returning to age appropriate body weight) and deeper core issues surrounding the disorder (a need for perfection due to feelings of inferiority).
We offer caring well trained staff that have the academic knowledge but also life experiences associated with eating disorders. The staff are cognizant of the pressures and the stress related to having an eating disorder. They are also well aware of the side effects and the strain that is present due to having a highly triggering activity such as “eating food” prevalent and a required activity around multiple times per day. Our staff are committed to seeing our clients develop a healthy relationship with food, exercise, their bodies and how they perceive themselves. Our compassionate team of professionals consists of psychiatrists, medical doctors, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed nurses, dietitians, and direct care staff that are present with our clients to create a sanctuary that supports vulnerability and risk but also challenges fears and supports the courage needed to gain control of this addiction.
The three most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa Disorder (AND), Bulimia Nervosa Disorder (BND), and Binge Eating Disorder (BED).
- Anorexia (AND): Persons with AND strive for an extremely low body weight (85% lower than normal) by decreasing their food intake, extreme exercising, abusing laxatives and/or diuretics or self-inflicted vomiting. There is a pervasive obsessive fear of becoming overweight coupled with a misperceived false assessment of their own body. This false assessment is characteristically regarding the size or shape of the body. Persons with AND will also revert to complete starvation in an effort to avoid gaining weight despite already being thin. The decreased amount of food consumed leads to issues such as malnutrition, damage to major organs, disruption to age appropriate growth and maturational development.
- Bulimic (BND): The characteristic behavior that supports this diagnosis is the two fold nature of binging and purging. Specifically, there is a consumption of large amounts of food, followed by self-induced vomiting or purging of said food. Alternative measures to evacuate the food include excessive use of laxatives, diuretics, and/or enemas, or engaging in extreme exercise. Persons struggling with BND typically also possess an inaccurate perception of their body coupled with low self-esteem and disparaging self-talk surrounding their body. Typical adverse responses to this disorder include a plethora of both physical components, i.e., tooth erosion, damaged esophagus, constipation, along with mental anguish, i.e., anxiety, depression, guilt, etc.
- Binge Eating Disorder (BED): The behavioral manifestations of this diagnosis consists of eating large amounts of food but in the absence of measures to excavate the food. Persons struggling with this disorder are typically overweight but weight is not a necessity for this diagnosis to be made. Significant variables are the loss of control surrounding eating large amounts of food, indiscretion in what is eaten, rapid eating and the feeling that they are unable to stop eating. There is typically a number of negative feelings that accompany this disorder such as guilt, depression and nausea because the person is eating excessively and does not want to, but feels unable to stop. The typical cycle that is seen with this disorder is: binge eating, followed by self-hatred which produces loneliness, followed by sadness which leads to depression which subsequently causes the person to seek self-comfort through the next binge which starts the cycle again.
Treatment at Growth Extended is individually tailored to meet the needs of each person and family we treat. An individualized treatment plan is generated within 72 hours of admission into our eating disorder program. Moreover, the treatment team meets weekly to assess progression/regression and clients play an integral part in their treatment. Our broad-spectrum goal is to teach clients how to regulate their emotions and to challenge eating disordered thoughts and behaviors. Specifically, clients are taught how to:
- Understand the origin and development of their eating disorder
- Assess the distorted attitude toward their body and food
- Increase awareness surrounding the medical complications of adverse eating
- Develop a voice of self-compassion and forgiveness
- Learn strategies to make peace with food and their bodies
- Acquire methods to overcome negative body image
- Teach techniques to aid in asking for help from family and support systems
- Be realistic and listen to the body’s hunger and satiation signals
- Impart alternative emotion regulation methods to deal with stress such as meditation, mindfulness and deep breathing exercising
- Instill a sense of hope surrounding a future free of obsessions surrounding the body
- Provide therapeutic practices such as pet therapy, reinforcement schedules, cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral techniques
- Educate clients on methods to deal constructively with frustration, grief, anger, and disappointments
- Instruct clients on developing personal strengths, self-worth and a sense of pride along with acceptance
- Expose clients to research supported coping skills such as yoga, hiking and dance
- Train clients how to analyze their positivity surrounding their self-image
- Cultivate self-acceptance and appreciation for the body that you have
- Practice evidence-based methods to prevent eating in response to stress
- Proactively connect with community based resources that support healthy living within the home community
The eating disorder programs at Growth Extended are driven by our resolution to equip clients for long term success. We hold the gold seal of accreditation from the Joint Commission, the oldest and arguably, the most stringent accrediting body. Our intimate luxurious facilities provide a nurturing home-like environment that is conducive to healing and restoring hope. Affordable rates are offered and insurance is accepted from most major medical insurance companies. Our drive will help families get the help needed when struggling with an eating disorder.
Take time to help someone in need of eating disorder treatment, even if that someone is you.