Timberline Knolls Staff Member Describes Impact on Faith, Family
CHICAGO (June 16, 2010) –Women and families struggling with an eating disorder or another addiction should never lose sight of the need to sustain the spirit, according to a new book by Jena Morrow, an author in recovery after more than 20 years with anorexia nervosa. Morrow, a behavioral health specialist at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, details a battle with anorexia that begins in early childhood in Hollow: An Unpolished Tale, recently released by Moody Publishers.
Morrow, who is also a Christian musician, emphasizes the role that her faith played in sustaining her through periods when she resisted recovery, and even planned to relapse following inpatient anorexia nervosa treatment.
“Jena’s story of spiritual awareness through the various stages of her battle with anorexia gives hope to all of us who work every day to help women and families through the most difficult stages of anorexia treatment,” said the medical director at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. “Like other eating disorders and addictions, anorexia nervosa not only erodes a woman’s body, but also at its root damages her ability to draw spiritual strength from a Loving Higher Power. Telling her story publicly is a crucial step in Jena’s own recovery, and has the potential to help untold others recognize that the joy of life in recovery is as fulfilling as it is uncertain.”
Hollow’s message is important for Christians and non-Christians alike. Whether one is unaware of eating disorders, currently struggling with anorexia or bulimia, or supporting a loved one with an eating disorder or co-occurring disorder, Hollow provides potentially life-saving insight. Important themes in Hollow include:
Eating disorders can appear in early childhood. At times, lots of media attention is given to signs and symptoms of eating disorders in teens and adult women. Jena’s detailed account of her early childhood memories can help parents, doctors and clinicians to frame indicators of body image distortion even in pre-school age girls.
Inpatient and residential treatment can be life-saving, especially when the patient isn’t fully committed to recovery. The 7 months she spent at a residential anorexia treatment center ultimately helped save Jena’s life. Even though she wasn’t fully committed to stopping anorexic behaviors, residential treatment bought Jena time to sustain herself physically and spiritually. It did this by providing:
- Medical care, which also improved her cognitive function
- Support to mend relationships with her family
- Lifelong friends with a common experience in treatment.
Eating disorders are chronic, addictive diseases. The addiction that Jena felt to starving herself is no different than the compulsion felt by men and women who abuse drugs, alcohol or prescription medications. The physiological side effects of anorexia nervosa can also produce a “starvation high” marked by manic energy and thinking, and a sense of invincibility. As with chemical dependency, with the right type of treatment, symptoms of anorexia and other eating disorders can be addressed, managed, and eventually remitted.
“We’re delighted to have Jena as a member of our team, and we’re very proud of her decision to share her story publicly,” said James Gresham, Chairman and CEO of Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center. “Like the paths walked by other recovering members of our staff, Jena’s recovery journey can serve as an inspiration to all of the women and girls at Timberline Knolls, whether they’re seeking to overcome anorexia, bulimia, or another addiction, compulsion or mood disorder. She is living proof that while recovery is not easy, it is a choice worth making.”
Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center will be sponsoring a series of events around the country where Ms. Morrow will share her story. The first three events, co-sponsored with the Meier Clinics, will take place this summer in Dallas, Seattle and Virginia.
About Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center
Timberline Knolls is one of the leading private residential treatment centers for eating disorders, substance abuse, trauma, and severe depression, with or without a co-occurring disorder or addiction. Expert treatment staff offers a nurturing environment of recovery for women and girls (ages 12 and older) on a 43-acre campus in suburban Chicago. Women and families seeking Christian treatment have the option of working with a dedicated Christian therapist. For more information on Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, call us at 866.840.6122.