There are a handful of different types of eating disorders that impact both men and women, however, orthorexia is one of the lesser-known of these conditions. This specific type of disordered eating involves an unhealthy focus on eating only foods that are considered healthy. Those who are afflicted with this condition tend to eliminate entire food groups from their diet, which often leads to undernourishment and malnutrition. Someone who battles orthorexia faces a bevy of different physical and psychological challenges that can put his or her life in harm’s way. For some, orthorexia can consume all aspects of life, leading to severe consequences.
At Carolina House, we understand the many dangers that come along with disordered eating concerns like orthorexia. We know that this condition specifically lends itself to a number of physical and mental side effects that must be properly treated in order for an individual to get better. Therefore, we supply evidence-based treatments to individuals with orthorexia so they can work to rebuild their lives without the presence of an eating disorder in it.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
For the loved ones of someone who is battling orthorexia, his or her condition might not seem problematic at first. Instead, it might appear to be his or her efforts to stick to a healthy diet. However, as time passes and the individual’s eating habits become more destructive, it can be hard for loved ones to stand by without taking action. It is normal for loved ones to feel as though there is nothing they can do to help the afflicted individual, however, there are things that can be done to bring about positive change. Some of the things that you can do to help your loved one at this time can include:
- Learn about orthorexia. This eating disorder is not nearly as documented and researched as anorexia or bulimia, however, there is information out there. Educate yourself on the possible signs and symptoms of orthorexia, as well as treatments that have worked to help individuals overcome this type of eating disorder.
- Come together with mutual friends and family members of the afflicted individual to develop a plan if a medical emergency occurs. Additionally, develop a plan for if and when your loved one reaches out for treatment. This can include researching treatment centers that provide care for orthorexia and calling to find out more about admissions, the treatment methods used, and more.
- Be honest with your loved one about his or her orthorexia. Use examples to support your concerns, and be prepared for him or her to confront you with denial. This reaction is very normal, however, do your best to remain calm and nonjudgmental so that your intervention will be as effective as possible.
- Get help for yourself. Even though your loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, you have likely been impacted as well. Reach out for therapy if necessary so you can work through the emotions and stressors you are experiencing at this time. Also, practice good self-care so you are prepared to help your loved one when necessary.
When your loved one starts treatment, the thing he or she will need most is your support. Do what you can to continually check in with him or her, offer to help with things that he or she is unable to accomplish while getting treated, and continually encourage him or her to keep working on his or her recovery.
Why Consider Treatment at Carolina House
Orthorexia is a vey dangerous condition where an individual’s physical and psychological wellbeing are put at risk. When an individual is battling orthorexia, he or she is stuck in a pattern of disordered eating that can leave him or her significantly undernourished. When this occurs, the body does not have the nutrients it needs to keep an individual healthy and energized, which can lead to cardiac issues, significant weight loss, malnutrition, osteoporosis, and other physical effects. The psychological aspect of orthorexia can cause an individual to experience anxiety over eating, depression regarding his or her perceived appearance, and self-harm tendencies. Additionally, individuals with orthorexia often struggle with maintaining healthy relationships, as their disordered eating gets put first and those who love them are often made to feel “less than” because of their loved one’s opinions of food. Despite the many consequences that can develop in the face of orthorexia, there are options for care available so that this eating disorder can be treated appropriately.
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 orthorexia. 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 orthorexia, 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, Carolina House offers a number of experiential therapy options in addition to the more traditional therapeutic interventions. Examples of these therapies include the following:
- Strength training
- Embodying Recovery (a sensorimotor psychotherapy group)
- Yoga therapy
- Culinary Group
- 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 orthorexia. 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 orthorexia, 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.