Eating disorders often do not occur on their own, as other mental health conditions tend to co-occur with them. Depression, for instance, is one of the most common mental health conditions that people who have eating disorders struggle with. Those who have an eating disorder with co-occurring depression will find that they are no longer able to maintain the lives they want for themselves. As a result, a series of physical and psychological consequences ranging from unpleasant to life-threatening can develop. Additionally, all aspects of an individual’s life can begin to deteriorate because of the presence of both of these conditions.
At Carolina House, we recognize how complex eating disorders can be, and know that additional mental health conditions like depression tend to co-occur alongside of them. Therefore, we work to provide both physical and psychological treatments to our clients to ensure that they develop a solidified recovery from their eating disorder and their co-occurring depression. At Carolina House, we can offer life-changing care that has allowed countless men and women to overcome their eating disorders and their depressive symptoms. At our Durham, North Carolina location, we address these concerns through a comprehensive approach.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
Watching someone you love struggle with an eating disorder and co-occurring depression can be saddening, painful, and, at times, even frustrating. While your loved one continues to suffer from these conditions, you can begin feeling depleted yourself, as you have likely tried numerous different approaches to get him or her to obtain effective treatment. Despite feeling discouraged, it is imperative to understand that there are things that you can continuously be doing to help guide your loved one towards getting the correct treatment, including:
- Learning as much as you can about eating disorders and depression. Spend time educating yourself about how these two conditions interact with one another, and find out what effects they can have on your loved one. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be in helping him or her.
- Researching some of the most regarded methods of treatment for eating disorders and co-occurring depression. Talk about those options with your loved one, and do not be afraid to reach out to a treatment center to learn more.
- Letting your loved one know that you are there for him or her. Tell him or her that you will be happy to help set appointments, go to assessments, or help carry out other daily tasks so that he or she can focus on recovery.
When your loved one finally accepts treatment, it is imperative that you continue to show your love and support to him or her so that the process of recovering is easier on him or her. Make sure that you continue to practice good self-care so you are able to do these things.
Why Consider Treatment at Carolina House
Eating disorders are similar to other conditions in that they often have a co-occurring disorder attached to them. Those who have an eating disorder and co-occurring depression can face a serious of upsetting consequences. The effects of an eating disorder, alone, can include organ damage, gastrointestinal troubles, mood imbalances, and cardiac problems. In some cases, these effects can be reversed, but some are permanent. All forms of eating disorders can lead to death. When depression is present, additional symptoms such as suicidal tendencies, mood swings, anger, fatigue, insomnia, and more can all occur. The co-occurring nature of these two conditions can be fatal, especially if they go untreated. Luckily, however, there are treatment options available to those who are battling eating disorders and depression.
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 and co-occurring concerns, such as depression. 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 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 dietician, 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, 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 dietician, 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 such as depression, 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 or two brief check-in sessions each week, each of which may last anywhere between 20 and 40 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 an eating disorder and co-occurring depression, the staff at Carolina House frequently incorporates family therapy into our clients’ treatment plans. Family therapy sessions are typically offered on a weekly basis, 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 and co-occurring depression, 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:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Groups take place three times per week and are facilitated by a licensed clinical social worker who is specially trained in DBT.
- Two Food and Feeling Groups take place every day. These are short, skills identification groups that occur after every lunch or dinner.
- Interpersonal Process Groups occur three times per week and are dually led by a licensed professional counselors and other qualified professionals who have been fully trained in the group modality.
- 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, relapse prevention, nutrition, and guided self-care, among many others.
- Two Integrated Health Groups take place each week, including Addictions Education and 12-Step Facilitation. 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.
Experiential therapy: In order to offer clients a holistic approach to the treatment, 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
- Strength training
- Embodying Recovery (a sensorimotor psychotherapy group)
- Body movement activities
Receiving comprehensive treatment in a residential setting is enormously advantageous for those who are suffering from an eating disorder and co-occurring depression. 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 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 an eating disorder and co-occurring depression, 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.