Of all the types of eating disorders in existence, not one has a higher mortality rate than anorexia nervosa. People who struggle with this life-threatening form of disordered eating experience profound fear surrounding the possibility of gaining weight or becoming overweight, and resort to drastic measures in order to prevent any kind of weight gain from occurring. Such measures can include excessively exercising, extreme dieting, or completely avoiding the consumption of food all together. Continuing to suffer from anorexia for a prolonged period of time can result in the onset of serious health complications and a decline in one’s overall functioning.
At Carolina House, we understand the complex nature of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa. We also realize that these types of mental disorders require both psychological and, oftentimes, medical interventions in order to help clients achieve lasting healing and recovery. For these reasons and more, we are proud to offer the life-saving care that has helped numerous individuals leave their psychological distortions regarding body image and weight, as well as destructive patterns of disordered eating, in the past. At Carolina House, a brighter, healthier tomorrow begins today.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Bearing witness to a loved one struggling with anorexia nervosa can make friends and family members feel powerless against the hold this condition has on the person they care about. Those closest to a person with anorexia are also likely to feel frustrated, sad, and concerned for their loved one’s future. As a concerned friend or family member, you do, however, have the power to make a positive impact on the life of your loved one by helping him or her seek and receive treatment. Consider the following:
- Learn all that you can about anorexia nervosa, including its signs, symptoms, and effects.
- With the collaborative efforts of other friends and/or family members, establish a plan for what should be done in the event your loved one experiences a medical emergency as a result of his or her anorexia symptoms.
- Talk with your loved one about what he or she is going through. Remember to be empathetic, compassionate, and open to hearing what he or she has to say.
- Have a conversation with your loved one about his or her need for treatment.
- Research treatment options that have a proven track record of successfully treating those battling anorexia nervosa and present your findings to the person you care about.
- Offer to assist your loved one in contacting his or her provider of choice and agree to accompany him or her to any scheduled tours or assessments for admission.
Once your loved one has begun treatment, it is important to remain an ongoing source of support and encouragement. Your loved one needs you now more than ever, and by showing that you are there for him or her, he or she can feel more confident in finally overcoming his or her dangerous patterns of disordered eating and thinking.
Why Consider Treatment at Carolina House
Unlike most other mental health conditions, anorexia nervosa is a disorder that has a high potential to be fatal due to the restrictive eating habits that sufferers engage in. Denying oneself of nourishment for a prolonged period of time can result in numerous health risks. A person’s kidneys can fail, damage can be done to one’s digestive system, a heart attack or heart failure can occur, and fertility issues can arise when a person struggles with untreated anorexia. Additionally, those who are suffering from this eating disorder experience a great deal of mental anguish that can lead to the onset of additional mental health concerns and ideations of suicide, which could further perpetuate the psychological distortions and disturbances that are known to impact anorexia sufferers. Substance abuse is also a risk among those battling anorexia, as these individuals may turn to drugs and/or alcohol as a means of escaping their pain or reducing their weight. A key thing to know is that anorexia nervosa can be treated. While it requires a sufferer to be committed to his or her recovery, it is possible for a person to no longer be controlled by the size and shape of his or her body.
Types of Treatment Offered at Carolina House
Since 2006, we, at Carolina House, have been devoted to providing world-class, residential care to women who are in need of comprehensive treatment to overcome the symptoms of eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa. Situated in a serene, wooded setting, Carolina House offers female clients, ages 17 and older, a tranquil environment that is fully conducive to true and lasting healing. We hold ourselves to a standard of excellence in the care we deliver so that all of the women who engage in treatment with us can succeed in discovering a renewed life of wellness.
At Carolina House, we have made it our goal to provide a beautiful, safe, and nurturing environment that is run by highly trained and supportive staff. We use a structured, multifaceted treatment approach that is designed to usher clients successfully into life-long recovery. Our treatment approach also encourages self-exploration towards transformation through self-nurturing expressions of living. This goal and these treatment approaches are met by providing clients with individualized treatment plans that are catered to meet each of their very unique needs. Various aspects that may be incorporated into these treatment plans are described in the following:
Medical care: Clients who are battling an eating disorder like anorexia often need consistent medical attention to address such concerns as re-feeding issues, complications from starvation, somatic complaints, electrolyte imbalances, and/or gastrointestinal distress. Carolina House provides 24-hour nursing care for all clients, as well as employs a contracted medical doctor, a psychiatrist, and a registered dietitian, all of whom are skilled in the treatment of eating disorders. These professionals are able to meet with clients to ensure that their recovery remains on a healthy track.
Re-Feeding: When treating an eating disorder like anorexia, there is often the need for re-feeding interventions to be made in order to help get clients back on track with proper nutritional intake. At Carolina House, clients are closely involved with the registered dietitian, the culinary staff therapist, and the clinical and medical teams so that specialized meal plans can be devised. These meal plans are designed to adequately address the nutritional needs of each client during each stage of treatment. Meals are closely monitored by staff in order to provide the highest level of support as clients reach nutritional stabilization and decrease their participation in the rituals and behaviors that are symptomatic of their eating disorders.
Culinary program: All clients at Carolina House may take part in our culinary program, which offers them full kitchen access throughout their time spent in treatment. Setting us apart from other eating disorder programs throughout the country, participation in this program provides clients with the unique opportunity to experience meal planning, grocery shopping, meal preparation, and a family-style eating environment, all of which work towards building self-confidence as clients make their way through treatment.
Medication management: When individuals are battling symptoms of a co-occurring mental health condition in addition to anorexia nervosa, the use of certain medications may be recommended in order to help alleviate some of their distress. Clients have the opportunity to meet with a psychiatrist once or twice a week in order to determine the need for any medication, as well as to monitor the therapeutic effectiveness of any medication prescribed.
Individual therapy: Clients are provided with one full individual therapy session each week that typically lasts between 45 and 60 minutes. Additionally, clients will meet with their therapists for one brief check-in session each week, which usually lasts about 30 minutes. These sessions are designed to provide clients with an opportunity to meet in a private, confidential setting with their therapists so that they can discuss their progress in treatment, process through any setbacks that may have arisen, and celebrate any successes that have occurred.
Family therapy: Recognizing how important family involvement can be in our clients’ successful recovery from anorexia, the staff at Carolina House incorporates family therapy into our clients’ treatment plans. Family therapy sessions are offered on a weekly basis with a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, meeting for an average of 45 to 60 minutes for each session. If deemed appropriate and therapeutically beneficial to clients, additional family sessions may be added on an as needed basis.
Group therapy: When working to overcome an eating disorder, including anorexia, group therapy sessions have proven to be incredibly beneficial and effective. Clients typically participate in an average of six group therapy sessions each weekday, four group sessions on Saturdays, and two group sessions on Sundays. These group therapy sessions are typically broken down as follows:
- Two Food and Feeling Groups take place every day. These are short, skills identification groups that occur after every lunch or dinner.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Groups take place three times per week and are facilitated by a licensed counselor who is specially trained in DBT.
- Interpersonal Process Groups occur two times per week and are led by a licensed therapist and other qualified professionals who have been fully trained in the group modality.
- Three Integrated Health Groups take place each week, including Addictions Education, 12-Step Facilitation and Relapse Prevention. These are led by a licensed clinical addictions specialist and are attended by all clients. Weekly AA and NA meetings are also made available to clients who need them.
- A variety of other groups occur during the week as well, including both process and psychoeducational groups. The topics that are covered during these sessions vary but may include discussions on body image, media awareness, empowerment, nutrition, and guided self-care, among many others.
Experiential therapy: In order to offer clients a holistic approach to the treatment of anorexia, Carolina House offers a number of experiential therapy options in addition to the more traditional therapeutic interventions. Examples of these therapies include the following:
- Yoga therapy
- Art therapy
- Culinary Group
- Embodying Recovery (a sensorimotor psychotherapy group)
- Body movement activities
- Strength training
Receiving comprehensive treatment in a residential setting is enormously advantageous for those who are suffering from an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa. However, at Carolina House, we recognize that completion of residential treatment does not always mean that clients have finished achieving full recovery from their eating disorders. For this reason, we offer continuing care services through our partial day treatment program and our intensive outpatient program.
Additionally, keeping in mind that recovery from anorexia is an ongoing process, the staff at Carolina House is dedicated to ensuring that clients have a definitive plan set in place prior to their being discharged. From the time of admission, clients’ primary therapists are assessing their outside resources and determining what services need to be in place in order to support a smooth discharge plan. Typically, the goal will be to step down to a lower level of care slowly so that clients can be fully prepared for increased independence.
If you or a loved one is suffering from anorexia, the staff at Carolina House wants to help. Our world-class programming can help you overcome the symptoms that plague you, while also assisting you as you develop the confidence needed to embark on a bright and promising future. Do not continue to suffer. Let the staff at Carolina House show you that there’s a better way to live.