Prescription drugs have made significant improvements to both the length and quality of life for countless individuals. However, the abuse of prescription medications continues to have the opposite effect. When a person struggles with both an eating disorder and a co-occurring substance use disorder involving prescription medications, he or she can experience profound distress. The longer that a person allows these conditions to persist without seeking treatment, the more likely that both the eating disorder and the prescription drug addiction will cause dangerous and potentially fatal effects.
At Carolina House, we place great emphasis on treating eating disorders and co-occurring conditions, including prescription drug addiction. We utilize evidence-based treatments and a comprehensive approach to help bring about positive change in the individuals that come to us for care. Carolina House, located in Durham, North Carolina, has aided countless individuals towards obtaining the type of recovery that changes their lives for the better.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
When you have a loved one who is suffering from an eating disorder and co-occurring prescription drug addiction, it can be tremendously painful and upsetting to watch. It is likely that you, your friends, and family have come together to try to help your loved one numerous times, yet have been unsuccessful. It is understandable that you might be feeling frustrated, however it is important not to lose hope. There are always actions you can take to help encourage your loved one to finally accept treatment, including:
- Look into treatment centers that can supply the proper treatment for your loved one’s eating disorder and co-occurring prescription drug addiction. Find out information including where these centers are located and when your loved one could be admitted. Being prepared with this information can allow you to help your loved one quickly if he or she approaches you for advice.
- Educate yourself on as much information surrounding eating disorders and co-occurring prescription drug abuse as you can. By doing this, you can not only begin to understand what your loved one has been experiencing, but also develop a greater sense of empathy towards the struggles your loved one is facing.
- Maintain a steady, but comfortable pace with your loved one. It is understandable that you will want to make things happen fast for your loved one, however, pushing him or her into treatment can easily backfire. Let your loved one know that you are there to support him or her when he or she is ready.
- Talk with your loved one about your concerns regarding his or her health. Let him or her know that you will be there to support him or her when he or she decides to obtain the appropriate treatment.
If your loved one chooses to accept treatment, it is imperative to continue to support him or her during the process of recovery. Your loved one will benefit greatly from having a good support system at this time. Through your support, your loved one can begin to build the confidence needed to overcome an eating disorder and a co-occurring prescription drug addiction.
Why Consider Treatment at Carolina House
Different from other mental health conditions, eating disorders tend to be highly risky because the effects of this condition can to be fatal. When facing a condition such as anorexia, bulimia, compulsive eating, or binge-eating disorder an individual is likely to experience issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart damage, kidney failure, osteoporosis, and heart disease. In addition, one’s psychological wellbeing can take a major hit in the sense that their focus is being placed on their eating disorder, and other areas of their lives are being neglected as a result. When co-occurring prescription drug addiction is happening alongside of an eating disorder, effects such as dizziness, suicidal behaviors, cognitive damage, breathing problems, heart issues, and more can occur and threaten one’s wellbeing. Also, relationships can become strained, social withdrawal can occur, and a lack of motivation at work or school can lead to unemployment or academic failure. Thankfully, there is treatment available that can help individuals who have an eating disorder and co-occurring prescription drug addiction obtain the help they need.
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 prescription drug addiction. 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 prescription drug addiction, 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 prescription drug addiction, 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 prescription drug addiction, 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- Culinary Group
- Embodying Recovery (a sensorimotor psychotherapy group)
- Yoga therapy
- Strength training
- Art therapy
- 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 prescription drug addiction. 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 prescription drug addiction, 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.