Those who struggle with eating disorders face an enormous amount of challenges in their everyday lives. The emotional and psychological anguish that comes from the presence of an eating disorder can feel like it is too much to bear. Sadly, eating disorders often do not occur on their own, as individuals with an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia tend to battle one or more co-occurring conditions at the same time. Additionally, and unfortunately, it is not uncommon for individuals who are suffering from eating disorders to engage in self-harming behaviors. The presence of self-harm alongside of eating disorders can be extremely dangerous, and even deadly.
At Carolina House, we know just how complicated eating disorders can be. We understand that for those who are afflicted with this condition, getting better can seem impossible. We also understand that when the compulsion to self-harm is also plaguing an individual, his or her mental and physical wellbeing can suffer tremendously. Therefore, at Carolina House, we provide many different treatment options to help individuals on a mental, physical, and spiritual level so that they can obtain the recovery they need to live happily and healthily.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
When you have a loved one who is struggling with an eating disorder and the chronic desire to self-harm, you are likely feeling worried, anxious, and fearful. However, you might also feel as though you have done everything in your power to help your loved one get the help he or she needs, but have been unsuccessful. This is not uncommon, and it is imperative that you do not become discouraged if your attempts have not worked thus far. There are always things that you can be doing to help guide your loved one towards obtaining the treatment that will save his or her life.
For starters, obtaining as much information as you can will dramatically help you in handling this life-threatening situation. Spend time learning about the many symptoms, effects, and dangers of eating disorders, as well as those related to self-injury. Research how the two conditions play into one another. If appropriate, share your knowledge with mutual friends and family members of your afflicted loved one so that they are informed as well.
Locate treatment centers that can help your loved one with his or her eating disorder and compulsion to self-mutilate. See if they supply options for care that work within your loved ones means, and consider calling the admissions department to learn how that treatment center care provides care for eating disorders and co-occurring self-harm.
Keep an open and honest dialogue with your loved one. Let him or her know about your many concerns, and provide examples to explain to him or her why you are feeling the way you are. Let your loved one know that when he or she is ready for treatment, that you can be a reliable and effective source of support and encouragement.
It is important that when your loved one accepts treatment, you supply him or her with as much support as possible. Keeping him or her feeling encouraged while obtaining treatment can help him or her make tremendous strides in recovery.
Why Consider Treatment at Carolina House
Eating disorders are very serious conditions that can lead to death. When the compulsion to self-harm is present alongside of an eating disorder, the risk for death becomes much greater. While death is the most tragic result of self-injurious behaviors, there are many other effects that can cause an individual to suffer serious damage to his or her physical and psychological condition. For example, eating disorders can lead to cardiac troubles, malnourishment, anemia, osteoporosis, and additional health concerns. Self-harm can lead to infected wounds and permanent scars. Both conditions together can cause an individual to withdraw socially, develop anxiety or depression, experience strained relationships with his or her loved ones, become unemployed or homeless, and more. The good news is that eating disorders and the compulsion to self-harm can be effectively treated and individuals can go on to live healthy and balanced lives.
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 the compulsion to engage in self-harm. 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 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, 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 an eating disorder, 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 every 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 the compulsion to self-injure, 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 self-harm, 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 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.
- 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.
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
- 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 and an ongoing compulsion to self-harm. 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 a pervasive need to self-harm, 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 is a better way to live.