Given potentially serious health consequences, many anorexia treatment providers focus exclusively on treating a woman’s eating disorder.
This ignores the reality that many women seeking treatment for anorexia nervosa also suffer from co-occurring disorders or other addictive behaviors. These conditions may either be part of the root cause of their anorexia, or they may develop in response to having a long history of untreated or under-treated eating disorders.
Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center places more emphasis up front on understanding a woman’s entire history of addictive and/or compulsive behavior, given the critical impact these co-occurring conditions will have on treatment and recovery from anorexia.
Psychiatric conditions commonly co-existing with anorexia nervosa may include:
- bipolar disorder
- panic and anxiety disorders
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
- obsessive compulsive personality disorder (which is different from OCD)
- substance abuse disorders
Our individualized, medically-informed approach to treatment and recovery succeeds whether other anorexia treatment centers may have failed. It helps women and their families recover their lives and gain hope in an abundant, healthy future.
What Makes Our Anorexia Treatment Program Successful?
Effective approaches to eating disorder treatment and recovery consider all available information about a resident, and leverage the experience of our entire staff to customize each woman’s treatment for anorexia nervosa. This collaborative approach is one of the distinguishing elements of anorexia treatment at a leading rehab center like Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. It’s also one of the reasons why so many leading outpatient eating disorder specialists refer to us their patients who need more intensive treatment, or who have struggled to sustain recovery in an outpatient setting.
Assessment of a woman’s treatment needs begins early on in our admissions review process. We ask both the woman and her family to provide information about her anorexia symptoms, issues with friends and family, and challenges in school or work. We also seek her permission to communicate with previous eating disorder treatment providers to gather additional information about medical history, psychiatric history, past eating disorder treatment progress, and stumbling blocks to achieving or maintaining recovery from anorexia nervosa.
Thorough Intake Assessment
Once she is admitted, each woman undergoes a comprehensive medical and psychiatric assessment. She is then assigned an eating disorder treatment team with several members whom she will meet individually after she settles in on campus:
- Primary therapist
- Family therapist
- Psychiatrist (MD)
- Internal medicine physician (MD)
- Registered dietician (RD)
- Eating disorders specialist
Each treatment team member provides an assessment within the woman’s first days at Timberline Knolls. The findings are integrated and reviewed with our entire clinical staff, including other therapists and psychiatrists. As a result, our full knowledge about successful anorexia treatment is integrated into each woman’s treatment plan.
Taking Ownership of Treatment
We believe it is critical for each woman to take ownership of her treatment and recovery from the outset. Once her treatment plan is formulated, our team’s recommendations are shared with the woman in her first care conference, which will include her primary therapist, family therapist, psychiatrist, discharge planner, nursing staff and lodge staff. This cooperative approach gives her input into the goals for her treatment and allows her to choose several elective elements of her program. She will be asked to sign off on her treatment objectives and the progression of her treatment plan for anorexia nervosa and any other co-occurring psychiatric or addictive disorders. This conference also sets stage for ongoing collaboration between the woman and her treatment team throughout her stay in residential treatment.
Looking Forward to Recovery
Following the initial care conference, the treatment team will meet weekly throughout the resident’s stay, and consult each other informally to monitor her progress and to make sure her recovery needs are being fully supported. If new symptoms appear, a woman may also undergo additional psychological testing or medical evaluation to insure her anorexia treatment considers all relevant aspects of her health.
Additionally, women with other medical symptoms or complications from anorexia nervosa may be referred to consulting healthcare providers such as a dentist, cardiologist, gynecologist, orthopedic surgeon, or gastroenterologist.
The Emotions of Treatment – Meeting You Where You Are
Each woman or girl with anorexia nervosa has a unique story.
Anorexia symptoms are an attempt to cope with complicated emotions. Symptoms often develop over such a long period of time that they become normalized and difficult to recognize as signs of a serious eating disorder. Several members of our anorexia treatment staff have personal experience overcoming anorexia nervosa, so we understand the complex emotions and fears that come with accepting treatment and committing to a new way of living and new ways of thinking.
No two women with anorexia nervosa come to a residential treatment center in the same place. We focus on meeting each woman where she is, and supporting her in an uplifting, empowering manner, not through shaming or policing her behavior. That’s why we take such an integrated, individualized approach to anorexia treatment by helping girls and women:
- Identify emotional triggers for anorexia symptoms, which may have an underlying cause that has not been properly identified or addressed
- Create awareness of healthy ways to respond to emotions of fear, sadness, anger or shame
- Avoid destructive “either/or” thought patterns that add to the experience of hopelessness or unmanageability for many women in their disease
- Develop confidence in her potential to make healthy choices to begin and sustain recovery
We don’t make assumptions about a resident’s experience and needs based on her age, weight, or patterns of symptoms. Residents receive coaching and reinforcement that is individualized to help them grow in key areas of interpersonal skills, distress tolerance and management, reality acceptance skills, and emotional regulation skills.
What Will You Experience During Anorexia Treatment?
A woman’s experience at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center may differ significantly from other rehab facilities or treatment programs she has attended. That is by design.
Comprehensive Integrated Treatment and Recovery
There is no such thing as a cure for anorexia nervosa.
Every woman who seeks recovery from anorexia must develop tools she can trust to healthfully experience emotions that have triggered her preoccupation with food in the past. We work with our residents help them learn to recognize their feelings and identify the conscious choices they can make with support throughout their day. Through ongoing, supportive reinforcement women learn to trust the tools we give them in situations where they would have previously turned to anorexia. As they gain confidence in their ability to make positive, healthy choices, they experience improved self-esteem and body acceptance, reduced stress and anxiety, healing of trauma, and increased self-awareness.
Comprehensive and individualized eating disorder treatment plans use approaches proven to help women learn to manage their emotions and develop the tools to recover from anorexia. Specific examples include:
- one-on-one therapy sessions
- expressive and experiential therapy
- education about disease processes and recovery
- meal support and regular consultation with dietary staff
- group sessions to teach and practice behavior modification and emotion management
- family therapy (including family participation, if appropriate)
- twelve-step facilitation
- onsite and offsite twelve-step meetings
- weekly psychiatric consultation
- trauma awareness and recovery
- educational services for school-age women
Expressive Therapy Provides a Healthy Outlet for Emotions
Expressive therapy has been clinically proven to promote healing and recovery, in addition to providing a needed creative outlet for women during anorexia treatment, and after they return to their home environment. Our expressive therapy program includes a variety of outlets a woman can select based on her personal interests:
- art therapy in a historical art studio that supports painting, sculpture and other medias
- dance/movement therapy
- empowerment group (experiential trauma recovery)
- self-defense in our on-site fitness facility
- outdoor recreation such as volleyball, basketball, soccer, badminton or gardening on our 43 acre campus
A Realistic, Supportive Approach to Nutrition
Many women and girls come to residential treatment for anorexia with great apprehension about meals. We believe that healthy changes in eating behavior begin with listening and empathy, not with policing or judgment.
Treatment staff focuses on creating an environment where a woman can feel safe expressing her emotions about food and eating, and realize that she is not alone with her illness, or in her struggle to cope with her feelings. Our nutritional philosophy focuses on supporting women as they seek this awareness and helping them develop confidence in their ability to get help in making healthy choices about food. Experiential activities like shopping and cooking give residents the chance to practice skills needed to overcome anorexia in the real world while still surrounded by eating disorder treatment professionals who understand her recovery challenges.
We recognize that successful anorexia nervosa treatment must also equip a woman’s family to engage in the process of recovery during and after her stay at a residential treatment center. Nutrition and meal preparation approaches are part of weekly family conferences over the phone, as well as hands on sessions with our eating disorder specialists and dieticians during on-campus visits. When clinically appropriate, we may also encourage the family to practice these skills together during off-campus meals.
To learn more about anorexia nervosa treatment and recovery at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call one of our experienced admissions counselors today. We accept women ages 12 and up for admission seven days a week.