Eating Disorder Treatment
Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness and affect men and women of all ages. About 24 million people in the U.S. suffer from an eating disorder, and about 50 percent of those with an eating disorder also meet the criteria for depression. Only one in 10 men and women with an eating disorder receive treatment and of those, only 35 percent receive it at a treatment facility specializing in treating eating disorders.
Nearly 50 percent of those with an eating disorder also abuse drugs and/or alcohol – a rate five times higher than in the general population. These staggering numbers show the need for better public education about eating disorders and more access to effective treatment.
Types of Eating Disorders
Anorexia nervosa is the most well-known eating disorder. It is identified by low body weight and a distorted body image. Those with anorexia essentially starve themselves to stay unnaturally thin. They often try numerous fad diets or use drugs (from water pills to crystal meth) to induce rapid weight loss. Excessive exercise is common.
Anorexia is an eating disorder with many psychological components: a fear of being fat, preoccupation with body size, and obsessive behavior related to food. Anorexia nervosa leads to life-threatening complications such as organ damage, heart problems, and long-term bone damage.
Bulimia nervosa is the other most common eating disorder, sometimes called binge-purge syndrome. A person with bulimia will often eat as much as possible at a single setting, sometimes thousands of calories. The typical bulimic then purges the food by inducing vomiting. Bulimics may also show symptoms of anorexia and use laxatives, drink very little water, excessively exercise, and refuse to eat anything until the next binge-purge episode.
Treatment for bulimia has psychological components, as the bulimic needs to learn to accept his or her normal body weight and to control the urges to binge and purge. Because those with bulimia often make enormous efforts to hide their purging behavior, it can be difficult to detect. They may eat in secret then quietly go off to purge their food. Bulimia sufferers usually appear as normal-weight. When in public, they may appear to eat normally.
Other disordered eating behaviors include compulsive overeating, over-exercise, night eating syndrome, orthorexia and pregorexia. There are also a number of unnamed disorders classified as eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS).
Comprehensive Treatment for Eating Disorders
Elements offers exceptional treatment for eating disorders at our Tennessee treatment center and our Scottsdale, Arizona treatment center. The goals of eating disorder treatment are to:
- Help the client learn healthy food choices
- Reduce shame and guilt
- Learn healthy coping skills
- Define a program of personal recovery
We help clients develop a healthy mind, body, spirit balance and skills that will promote lifelong recovery.
Our skilled clinical team has expertise in treating eating disorders and co-occurring addictive disorders with special emphasis on experiential learning and spiritual development. In a home-like, nurturing environment, clients receive individual attention and customized treatment plans.