Eating disorders refer to a group of conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual's physical and mental health and in some case the purging of food immediately after intake. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common specific forms in Europe. Though primarily thought of as affecting females, eating disorders affect males as well. Although eating disorders are increasing all over the world among both men and women, there is evidence to suggest that it is women in the Western world who are at the highest risk of developing them and the degree of westernisation increases the risk.
Although Nova Vida does not specialise in the treatment of eating disorders, some patients can benefit from the type of programme on offer, particularly those with binge type and compulsive overeating. Anorexia nervosa does not respond as well to the 12 Step philosophy which underpins the eating disorder programme, although recent research in the USA is beginning to indicate that those with this diagnosis have also benefited from the 12 Step philosophy. The Clinical Team has many years’ experience and success working with this patient group and patients with a diagnosis of an Eating Disorder, either as a primary diagnosis or secondary to a chemical addiction, will be well looked after. All patients will be thoroughly assessed and if appropriate, admission to Nova Vida will be arranged. If it is felt inappropriate for our environment, an appropriate alternative venue can be recommended and admission arranged.
Unfortunately we are not normally able to accept for admission patients who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 15 which may need specialised medical care. It is also important that patients that are admitted for treatment for an eating disorder are suitably motivated as the Clinical Team are reliant on the honesty of the patient, particularly around the binge/purge cycle in order to be able to help them. Although all meals are supervised patients are encouraged to take responsibility after guidance from the Clinical Team and the involvement of a qualified Nutritionist. Similarly patients are asked to be honest with the Clinical Team in the event of purging. With this honesty we can support patients, without it the cycle will continue.
Binge type and Overeating Eating Disorders are not dissimilar to the addiction of alcohol or drugs particularly when food is used to help cope with difficult emotions, to relieve stress or to help you cope. Often there are a number of factors that contribute to an eating disorder such as low self-esteem, relationship issues, issues with control, loss or grief, work issues, sexual issues or difficulties in the work environment. Some people turn to alcohol or drugs to cope, others use food. Because of the similarities we have found that patients with eating disorders integrate well with patients being treated for chemical or behavioural addiction. While proper treatment can be highly effective for many of the specific types of eating disorder, the consequences of eating disorders can be severe, including death (whether from direct medical effects of disturbed eating habits or from co-morbid conditions such as suicidal thinking).
Of course, there are differences and we recognise this and are able to help you deal with such issues as a balanced diet, appropriate self-help groups and specific treatment assignments.
Where there is significant trauma diagnosed we may recommend admission to a specialised facility either during the treatment process with us of after treatment. We will facilitate all aspects of this recommendation, liaise closely with the Clinical Team and coordinate aftercare on conclusion of the completed treatment process.
Our preferred treatment facility for trauma is Milestones at Onsite, an hour west of Nashville, Tennessee USA with whom we have been referring patients to since it’s opening.
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