Choosing a Top Eating Disorder Recovery Program or Dual Diagnosis Rehab
Eating disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits that end up causing serious mental distress or dangerous – and often fatal – health problems. Addressing conditions such as anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder is essential in order to stop them from taking control over the patient’s life and leading to depression, substance abuse or other dangerous health issues. Without timely treatment, eating disorders may become lifelong conditions and even lead to death.
Treatment of Eating Disorders
“An important part of the treatment is nutritional counseling, during which the patient learns about their nutritional needs, how to meet them and how to develop healthy eating patterns.”
Treating an eating disorder involves different components of a treatment plan. Psychological counseling is an essential part of this plan. It usually consists of cognitive behavioral therapy, during which the patient identifies and challenges their own views and behaviors related to the eating disorder and replaces them with healthy thoughts and habits. Group therapy offers the patient the chance to interact with other eating disorder sufferers, to feel less isolated, and to find other venues to challenge their destructive behavior and learn new eating and life skills. Family therapy helps people in the patient’s close circle to understand the disease and become part of the solution.
Along with psychotherapy, doctors sometimes prescribe medication. Most often, the patient receives antidepressants that help counteract the symptoms of anxiety or depression. If the illness has already taken a toll on the body, medication targeted to alleviate other health issues may be prescribed. An important part of the treatment is nutritional counseling, during which the patient learns about their nutritional needs, how to meet them and how to develop healthy eating patterns.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
A dual diagnosis is a condition in which an eating disorder is accompanied by substance abuse. As with other mental illnesses, the incidence of dual diagnosis is enormous in the case of eating disorder sufferers. According to the National Institute of Health, as many as 50 percent of people who suffer from an eating disorder are also affected by substance abuse. Whether alcohol or drug abuse is the cause or the effect of the eating disorder, treating only one of these conditions is not sufficient. Since these co-existing conditions are strongly interrelated, the risk of relapse is high if treatment does not address both.
This is the reason it is important that the diagnosis is comprehensive and that both conditions are recognized. In order to avoid jumping from one facility to another to address both issues, a treatment facility that offers services and treatment programs for both eating disorders and substance abuse is an appropriate option. The staff at such a facility recognizes that it is harder to treat eating disorder patients with co-existing conditions and that these patients need additional care. Therefore, they have a multidisciplinary medical team that collaborates in devising an integrated, cohesive individual treatment plan that addresses both issues.
Usually, a dual diagnosis treatment plan includes the extra step of detoxification. The patient must go through this process before eating disorder treatment begins. This is necessary because the symptoms of eating disorders are worsened by substance abuse, so the substance dependency must be addressed first.
Treatment Facility Options
Eating disorder patients have the option of either outpatient or inpatient care facilities. Outpatient treatment centers allow patients to follow a treatment program while living at home. This is a good choice for those in the early stages of the disease, individuals who can’t leave their jobs for a period of time, students who cannot stop going to school, or parents who want to continue caring for their family while seeking treatment in a clinic. When the illness is in an advanced stage, however, inpatient care is necessary. For instance, anorexic patients may already be morbidly malnourished and underweight. Their state must be constantly monitored and stabilized in order to prevent vital organ failure.
Dual diagnoses patients have better chances of success when they are removed from environments with negative influences so residential care is recommended. Inpatient care not only controls the patient’s environment, but it also removes the patient from distractions and surrounds them with a supportive group of people, making it easier to avoid going back to destructive behaviors.
Choosing the Best Facility
Another factor to consider is the patient’s preference regarding faith-based treatment. There are Christian treatment facilities that incorporate those religious beliefs into their programs.
Whether choosing inpatient or outpatient care, it is best to weigh the reputation of the facilities considered by the patient against a few other criteria. For instance, it is advisable to make sure that a multidisciplinary team is available and that its members work together and follow the patient’s progress from the beginning to the end of the individualized treatment program. This is even more important when treating co-occurring conditions, since the team’s specialty must encompass substance abuse and dependencies. Comprehensive psychiatric evaluation is important in correctly identifying the root causes of the disease and avoiding treatment that addresses only the symptoms.
Another factor to consider is the patient’s preference regarding faith-based treatment. There are Christian treatment facilities that incorporate those religious beliefs into their programs. Other non-sectarian treatment facilities recognize the importance of spirituality in healing, but they welcome patients from all belief systems. Finally, there are facilities that offer holistic-based treatment plans that work toward creating a healthy mind-body connection through yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massages, and other methods aimed to relieve and control stress.
Location and the availability of on-site facilities and resources are other aspects to consider when determining the patient’s best choice. A serene location is conducive to healing, and so are fitness facilities that ease patients into a healthier lifestyle. Patients who prefer organic food should consider whether it is available at a specific center. It is ideal to choose an all-inclusive treatment center that does not force the patient to leave its campus in order to access necessary services included in the treatment plan. Finally, some facilities include the patient’s close circle of loved ones by offering family programs through which they educate the patient’s relatives on how to become beneficial participants in treatment. Good facilities also take care to teach the patient new life skills in order to minimize the danger of relapse.
To take the first step in treating your condition, call us at 1-888-232-6949 to discuss your options. Finding the best facility to address your condition is essential. If left untreated, an eating disorder can take control over your life and even become deadly. Let us help you in finding your treatment solution as soon as possible.