Struggling with an eating disorder involves battling overwhelming negative thoughts and destructive eating behaviors that adversely affect an individual’s overall mental and physical wellbeing. Combine the turmoil brought on by the presence of an untreated eating disorder with the symptoms of an untreated depressive disorder, and the results can be monumentally devastating. Depressive disorders, which can include feelings of profound sadness, diminished interest in things that were once enjoyable, sleep disturbances, loss of energy, weight changes, and thoughts of death and/or suicide, can hinder a person from living a full and happy life. When these two mental illnesses are occurring alongside one another, professional and comprehensive treatment is necessary in order to help those suffering from them achieve the healthy and joyful lives they deserve.
At Montecatini, we know the extraordinary courage it takes to address the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of living with an eating disorder and co-occurring depression. We also know how vital it is to feel safe and supported. 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 depression, 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
Bearing witness to a friend or family member suffer from an eating disorder and depression at the same time can be an emotionally draining experience. You, as someone who cares about this person, may be feeling a wide range of emotions, and you may even feel as though there is little that you can do to help this important person in your life. However, and even if you have made attempts in the past, there remains a number of things that you can do that can encourage your loved one to get the treatment she needs. The following are some suggestions for friends and family members of a person who is suffering from an eating disorder and depression:
- Consult with a mental health professional or another credible source to learn more about the eating disorder that your loved one is suffering from. During your research, it is also important to learn about depression and how the presence of this condition can impact your loved one when she is already suffering from an eating disorder.
- If you consult with a mental health professional about your loved one’s condition, be sure to inquire about treatments that have been effective in helping others grappling with similar concerns. Ask if that professional can recommend a level of care or treatment center that provides the type of service that addresses both eating disorders and co-occurring depression, or ask him or her how you should conduct your search for a program for your loved one.
- Have a conversation with your loved one about what she is experiencing. Be open to hearing what she has to say, and be sure to convey your support throughout your talk with her. During this conversation, you can present her with the treatment centers you found during your research and discuss with her the benefits of seeking treatment.
- Continue to talk with your loved one about how she is feeling and check in with her on her thoughts about seeking care. Making the decision to enter treatment is an important one, so be sure that you are available to talk about this endeavor whenever your loved one needs to.
- Once your loved one has agreed to start treatment, try your best to help her with anything that needs to be done before she goes. By removing as many obstacles as you can, you will be able to help the person you care about make the transition into treatment with minimal stress and anxiety.
While your loved one is in treatment to overcome her eating disorder and co-occurring depression, it is beneficial to keep the following in mind:
- Be patient with regards to your loved one’s progress. It can take time to heal and recover.
- Participate in as many family sessions as possible, if your loved one’s treatment center offers them.
- Remain in contact with your loved one, as this is a great way to show your ongoing support.
- Make sure that you practice good self-care and tend to your own needs while your loved one works on her own recovery.
Why Consider Treatment?
An eating disorder and co-occurring depressive disorder require specialized treatment in order for a person to achieve true healing. The symptoms of an eating disorder can wreak havoc on an individual’s overall physical and mental health and lead to numerous health risks if left untreated. When a depressive disorder is simultaneously present, the symptoms of both conditions can compromise a person’s ability to function in a healthy and productive manner on a daily basis. Diminished performance at work can eventually lead to job loss and financial difficulties. Conflict with loved ones and peers can cause the demise of meaningful relationships. Ongoing untreated depression symptoms could cause a person to experience suicidal ideations, which could result in self-harm or attempts at suicide. Eating disorder symptoms have the ability to cause organ damage, infertility, and other deadly effects. What is important to know, however, is that these detriments can be minimized or avoided completely. By engaging in comprehensive treatment that addresses the complexities of one’s eating disorder and co-occurring depression, a person can heal, recover, and live a full, healthy, and happy 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 concerns such as depression.
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 depression:
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 depression, 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 depression may include the following:
- Nutrition counseling and education group
- Spirituality/12-Step group
- Family weekend incentives
- Food and feelings group
- Relapse prevention
- Equine therapy
- Action planning
- Therapeutic gardening group
- Outside 12-Step group
- Menu planning and meal preparation
- Integrated care group that is focused on substance use
- Exposure therapy
- Body image
- Expressive arts therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Interpersonal process group
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
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 depressive disorder:
- Clothes shopping
- Group dinners
- Challenge food outings
- Restaurant outings
- Grocery shopping
- Beach trips
Our experienced staff members, many of whom have specialized training in therapeutic techniques and treating a myriad of co-occurring conditions, including depression, 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 depression 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.