Battling an eating disorder is no doubt a troubling experience that requires professional intervention in order to overcome it. However, if one is grappling with the symptoms of an anxiety disorder at the same time, the emotional turmoil that is experienced can be overwhelming and warrant specialized care. Whether an individual is suffering from the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, or another form of anxiety, the additional symptoms from an eating disorder have the ability to make symptoms of anxiety much more distressing, and can prevent a person from living a healthy and satisfying life.
At Montecatini, we know the extraordinary courage it takes to address the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of struggling with an eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety disorder. We also know how vital it is to feel safe and supported while in treatment. That is why, in a serene and intimate environment, each client’s treatment plan is customized to address her unique challenges, her unique family dynamics and history, her unique dreams for the future, and more. Our approach is collaborative and highly personalized, born out of true empathy and compassion.
We believe that no matter how long one has suffered from an eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety disorder, healing and lasting freedom from such conditions are possible. Our mission is to support you every step of the way.
Helping a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
If an important person in your life is suffering from the symptoms of an eating disorder and an anxiety disorder at the same time, you are likely familiar with the pain that these two conditions can cause. You may not understand what your loved one is experiencing firsthand, though as a concerned friend or family member, you can play a pivotal role in helping this individual get the care she needs to heal and recover in a lasting way. Consider the following suggestions:
- Learn about your loved one’s eating disorder and become familiar with the symptoms and effects of the disorder. Additionally, it is a good idea to learn about anxiety and develop an understanding of how these two mental health concerns can impact one another. In doing so, you will be able to develop a sense of empathy for your loved one’s struggles.
- After familiarizing yourself with the symptoms of your loved one’s eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety disorder, you will then be able to research treatment centers that can meet your loved one’s needs. There are many effective programming options available, and as a means of narrowing your search, be sure to consider programs that offer specialized care for eating disorders and co-occurring conditions such as anxiety.
- Even if you have attempted to do so in the past, it is imperative that you speak with your loved one about what she is going through. When having this conversation, you should try to remain patient, compassionate, understanding, and open to hearing what she has to say. Convey your own concerns during this conversation and encourage your loved one to consider receiving care at one of the treatment centers you found when doing your research.
- Encourage your loved one to gather more information about the treatment center of her choosing. She can talk about treatment with the center’s staff and can have any questions answered that she may have. Additionally, it will be helpful to also encourage her to schedule an assessment for admission so that she can get started on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.
- Once your loved one has agreed to enter treatment, it is beneficial to remain an ongoing beacon of support before, during, and after care is received. Making the decision to receive treatment for an eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety disorder is certainly a brave one, so by demonstrating your support during this time, you will be helping this individual in an invaluable way.
- Be sure to participate in your loved one’s care if the center provides family-involved activities such as family therapy sessions. By playing an active role in your loved one’s treatment, you can also benefit from being able to mend your relationship with her.
Finally, it is important that you remain patient while your loved one is in treatment. She may experience setbacks or may not progress within the time frame that you desire. Because of this, it is crucial that you remain optimistic and share your positive attitude with the person you care about so that she continues to feel supported by you while she works to heal and recover.
Why Consider Treatment?
The longer a person suffers from an eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety disorder, the more detrimental the effects can be. The symptoms of an anxiety disorder, especially when they are severe, can further entrench an individual in the destructive thoughts and behaviors that are cornerstone to eating disorders. Over time, an individual with such mental health concerns is likely to experience not just occupational failure and conflict with loved ones and peers, but also a wide range of mental and physical health concerns that could be deadly. Eating disorders, unlike other mental illnesses, have a direct effect on a person’s physical wellbeing and can cause malnutrition, cardiovascular concerns, organ damage, infertility, and a whole host of other health risks. With regards to an individual’s mental health when an eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety disorder are allowed to persist, a person is vulnerable to experiencing an overall deterioration if care is delayed or not received at all. Fortunately, there is help available. Comprehensive treatment that addresses the symptoms and effects of eating disorders and co-occurring anxiety can help individuals with these afflictions achieve the improved health that is needed to live a productive life.
Eating disorders are progressive and debilitating illnesses that, when left untreated, have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Depending on which eating disorder a person struggles with, she may suffer from malnutrition, obesity, organ damage, diabetes, and developmental problems, as well as other mental health disorders and possible substance abuse. Because of their pernicious and systemic nature, it is not enough to merely treat the physiological symptoms of an eating disorder. Instead, a person must also receive care for the co-occurring psychological issues that may cause her to return to her unhealthy eating behaviors. If treatment is to be truly successful in the long-term, it is important that each person receives a full spectrum of physiological and psychological treatment. At Montecatini:
- Treatment is provided in a warm, family-like atmosphere.
- Programming is supplied by staff who demonstrate true empathy.
- Customized, multi-dimensional treatment plans are created for each client.
- Skill-building opportunities are provided so that clients can learn to integrate healthy behaviors into daily living.
- Personalized, consistent care is afforded to each client.
- Comprehensive family support and therapy are integral parts of treatment at Montecatini.
- Simultaneous treatment for co-occurring disorders is available.
- Renowned medical and psychiatric management round out the therapeutic services we offer.
- Nutrition therapy is factored into each client’s treatment in order to help her reestablish a healthy relationship with food.
- A full continuum of care is offered in order to ensure each client’s long-term recovery.
At Montecatini, we believe that no matter how long you have suffered from an eating disorder, recovery is possible and hope is manifested daily as we work together in support of your long-term healing and inner-peace.
Types of Treatment Offered at Montecatini
Since treating our very first client in 1991, Montecatini has helped inspire and transform the lives of hundreds of women. We are nationally recognized as a leading provider of eating disorder treatment and we are dedicated to helping our clients resume their lives as healthy, joyful individuals who are ready to live to their fullest potential. Women between the ages of 16 and 55 can heal in our residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. These programs are designed to help our clients overcome anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder, as well as co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, and substance use disorders.
Montecatini is located just three miles from the Pacific Coastline in picturesque Carlsbad, California. The center itself exudes the comfort and safety akin to being at home, and our staff puts forth every effort to ensure that the atmosphere we create is both peaceful and conducive to recovery. Each client is treated with the utmost respect and dignity, and her care will be personalized to her unique history, challenges, life experiences, and needs.
Our staff of passionate and devoted professionals, many of whom have overcome their own struggles with eating disorders, work in close collaboration with each client who comes to us for treatment. By creating personalized plans for each person who chooses to heal with us, we are able to provide the highest quality of care while honoring the individuality of each client. Depending upon the outcome of an initial assessment, clients may have the following interventions incorporated into their customized treatment plans as they work towards overcoming an eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety:
Medical care: For clients who are medically stable, yet still require additional care for their physical health as they navigate the recovery process, Montecatini is pleased to offer renowned medical care. As a distinguished provider of eating disorder treatment, we recognize that the physical health of our clients can be compromised by the presence of an eating disorder. We also partner with specialists in San Diego to ensure our clients’ medical needs are appropriately met.
Medication management: When a client comes to us battling a mental health condition, such as an anxiety disorder, in addition to an eating disorder, they may benefit from the inclusion of certain medication(s). Our psychiatrist is available to meet with clients once per week to assess medication needs, prescribe medication, and adjust dosages as needed. Physician’s assistants and nurses are also available to monitor the effectiveness of any medication that is prescribed and to ensure that clients are adhering to their medication regimens.
Individual therapy: Individual therapy occurs three times per week. Each client meets with her assigned primary therapist in a one-on-one setting, which provides an excellent forum to assess progress and to discuss setbacks and successes that have occurred during treatment.
Family therapy: Each client’s family members are invited to participate in family therapy sessions while their loved one is receiving treatment. This treatment method, which is offered once per week unless otherwise indicated, is designed to heal emotional wounds and promote unity among our clients and their primary support networks.
Group therapy: Offered up to five times per day, group therapy is a key component of treatment at Montecatini. Led by therapists, registered dietitians, nurses, patient assistants, yoga instructors, and art therapists, group therapy covers a wide range of topics that can further the recovery process and provides an optimal setting for clients to gain support and encouragement from staff members and other clients. Groups that may be incorporated into a client’s treatment plan as she works towards recovering from an eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety may include the following:
- Nutrition counseling and education group
- Exposure therapy
- Action planning
- Therapeutic gardening group
- Outside 12-Step group
- Menu planning and meal preparation
- Body image
- Expressive arts therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Spirituality/12-Step group
- Family weekend incentives
- Food and feelings group
- Integrated care group that is focused on substance use
- Interpersonal process group
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Relapse prevention
- Equine therapy
Experiential therapy: In order to help our clients nurture the mind-body connection and apply learned skills in real-world settings, at Montecatini, we are proud to offer a number of experiential therapy opportunities. Experiential therapies complement the other therapeutic interventions we provide and typically take place once per week. Depending on the client’s needs, the following may be part of her personalized treatment plan as she works towards overcoming her eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety:
- Group dinners
- Challenge food outings
- Beach trips
- Restaurant outings
- Grocery shopping
- Clothes shopping
Our experienced staff members, many of whom have specialized training in therapeutic techniques and treating a myriad of co-occurring conditions, including anxiety disorders, assess clients’ needs on an ongoing basis and can recommend additional interventions if they are determined to be conducive to a client’s recovery.
Because we realize that recovery from an eating disorder and co-occurring anxiety does not end with the completion of residential treatment, Montecatini purposefully begins preparing our clients for discharge on the day they are admitted to our program. Many of our clients transition to our partial hospitalization program (PHP) after completing our residential treatment, and then step down to our intensive outpatient program (IOP) after completing PHP. Each client’s primary therapist determines and coordinates the most appropriate follow-up and aftercare services, and alumni of our program are welcome to attend our weekly support groups and Alumni Events and Celebrations for as long as they wish. Our goal is to help our clients return to lives that are not only functional, but joyful and deeply supported as well.