When an individual is struggling with an eating disorder, he or she often faces a myriad of complexities that make recovery challenging. Eating disorders tend to be very intricate, and often come along with a co-occurring mental health condition. For many, their eating disorders are joined by posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. The presence of the eating disorder alone can be life threatening and extremely painful, and when additional symptoms of PTSD present themselves, the eating disorder can grow much worse and consequences can become extreme.
At Carolina House, it is our main priority to help those who are struggling with eating disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions, such as PTSD. We understand that eating disorders ranging from anorexia and bulimia, to binge-eating disorder and orthorexia, can pose a series of negative problems to develop in an individual’s life. We also recognize that when a mental illness like PTSD is present, symptoms of the eating disorder can grow worse. Therefore, we supply evidence-based treatments to these individuals so that they can establish a safe and effective recovery that keeps them healthy for a lifetime.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
When your loved one is battling disordered eating and a co-occurring mental health condition like PTSD, it can be incredibly hard to watch. You likely feel as though you have done everything you can to help your loved one get the treatment that he or she needs to recover, but have been left feeling defeated and unaccomplished. However, despite feeling as though there is nothing that left for you to do for your loved one, there are things that you can do on a regular basis to help him or her realize the benefits of recovery.
For starters, it is critical that you obtain as much information as possible about eating disorders so that you can recognize the symptoms, effects, and causes of this type of condition. Additionally, spend time researching PTSD so you have a better understanding of what this mental illness entails. By doing your homework, you can develop insight into what your loved one is experiencing, as well as arm yourself with the knowledge needed to move forward in this process of finding appropriate treatment for him or her.
It is important to look up what treatment centers care for eating disorders and co-occurring PTSD so that, if and when your loved one reaches out for help, you will be prepared to supply him or her with the appropriate resources. This information is something that you always want to be ready with, so that when the time comes for your loved one to enter treatment, you can get him or her admitted quickly.
Even though you are probably anxious to get your loved one into treatment as soon as possible, it is important not to become too pushy. This approach can set your loved one’s treatment back, which is exactly what you do not want to do. Therefore, go at his or her pace, all while continually reminding him or her that you are there to support him or her and listen when it is needed.
It is not uncommon for an individual who is suffering from an eating disorder and a co-occurring condition like PTSD to consider suicide. Therefore, it is critical that you work with mutual loved ones of the afflicted individual to develop a plan for if he or she becomes suicidal.
When your loved one accepts treatment and is going through the process of recovery, it is imperative that you remain supportive. Your support is the most important thing for your loved one at this time, as it will help him or her continue to feel encouraged to keep moving forward in his or her recovery.
Why Consider Treatment at Carolina House
Someone who is faced with an eating disorder and co-occurring PTSD will likely experience a range of different consequences. From a physical standpoint, eating disorders can wreak havoc on an individual’s body as vital organ damage can occur, which in many cases, is irreversible. Additionally, an individual can suffer from malnourishment, low body weight, cardiac troubles, anemia, and much more. Psychologically, symptoms of one’s PTSD can grow much worse in response to the presence of an eating disorder, which can lead to suicidal ideations, anxiety, intense flashbacks, and depression. An individual who is simultaneously battling an eating disorder and PTSD will also likely face strained relationships with friends and family, problems at work, potential unemployment, homelessness, divorce, loss of custody of children, and more. Despite these heartbreaking effects, there is treatment available to those men and women who want to get better.
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 PTSD. 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 PTSD, 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 PTSD, 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 PTSD, 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.
- 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 clinical social worker who is specially trained in DBT.
- 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.
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
- Yoga therapy
- Art therapy
- 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 PTSD. 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 PTSD, 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 to 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.