The abuse of prescription medications continues to be a problem that affects countless individuals throughout the world today. There are a number of different prescription drugs that individuals can develop addictions to, including painkillers (e.g. Vicodin and OxyContin), stimulants (e.g. Adderall and Ritalin), and benzodiazepines (e.g. Klonopin and Xanax). Individuals who are battling eating disorders often find solace in the abuse of substances, including prescription drugs. They may abuse stimulants to help suppress their appetite or benzodiazepines to find relief from the anxiety and inner turmoil they experience. Regardless of which medications they are abusing, or why that particular type of substance abuse developed, treatment that addresses both the addiction and the eating disorder is required in order for true healing to be achieved.
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 a co-occurring addiction to prescription medication. 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 addiction to prescription drugs, 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
Learning that a family member or loved one is suffering from an eating disorder can be extremely frightening, and when that disorder is compounded by a co-occurring substance use disorder, such as an addiction to prescription drugs, the fear that you experience can quickly become all-consuming. While you may feel discouraged at your inability to change your loved one’s behaviors, it is important to understand that there are some things that you can do to help.
- Learn about eating disorders and co-occurring substance abuse, paying particular attention to the symptoms of the specific eating disorder that your loved one is suffering from and the medication that you believe she is abusing. Educating yourself on the signs, symptoms, and effects of these conditions can help you not only prepare for confronting your loved one with your concerns, but also in knowing what kind of help she may need.
- While it is beneficial to have your loved one included in the process of researching treatment centers that may be equipped to meet her needs, it is also beneficial to do some research on your own before discussing your concerns with your loved one. In doing so, you can gain an understanding of the different types of treatment that have proven to be most effective, while also demonstrating your support to your loved one by showing that you have already taken steps towards assisting her in getting the help she needs.
- Spend time engaging your loved one in open, honest, and compassionate conversations wherein you share your concerns with her, yet also provide her with a forum for expressing her own fears and concerns. It is important to recognize that this conversation may be an intimidating one; one that your loved one does not initially respond well to. It is possible that she will become defensive and possibly angry. Anticipating this reaction can prepare you to respond in a calm, patient, and nonjudgmental manner. Do not engage your loved one in an argument, and refrain from making threats or setting ultimatums. Recognize that coming to terms with the fact that a problem exists and that help is needed can take some time. The best thing you can do is to be patient and quietly reassuring as your loved one processes the information you present to her.
- Once your loved one becomes open to the idea of receiving treatment, show her the research you have compiled regarding potential treatment centers. Then, encourage her to join you in doing further research so that you can find programs that may be best suited for meeting her specific and unique needs. Be supportive, but let her guide the process so that she can feel a sense of empowerment in making the decision to receive help.
- Once a treatment center has been chosen, help make the process of entering treatment as uncomplicated as possible. For example, assisting in taking care of logistical issues (e.g. arranging transportation, accompanying her to appointments, arranging for childcare, etc.) can help make the transition more seamless for her.
- Once your loved one begins engaging in treatment, inquire about ways in which you can be active part of the therapeutic process, demonstrating an ongoing sense of encouragement and support.
Why Consider Treatment?
Allowing an eating disorder and co-occurring addiction to prescription drugs to persist without intervention can lead to a wealth of negative repercussions. Physically, the abuse of medications and the behaviors associated with eating disorders can elicit severe disturbances including cognitive impairment, memory disturbances, organ damage, a weakened immune system, bone density loss, electrolyte imbalances, muscle weakness, and the onset of significant cardiovascular problems, among countless other issues. In addition to these physical detriments, other aspects of an individual’s life can be tainted by prescription drug abuse. Social withdrawal and isolation are common, declined academic or occupational performance are frequent, and a deteriorated sense of self-worth is prominent. All of these effects can cause monumental strife in an individual’s life, but by choosing to engage in comprehensive treatment that addresses all of a woman’s concerns, these negative circumstances can be prevented, and a healthy and balanced live can be achieved.
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 and substance use disorders, including an addiction to prescription medication.
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 prescription drug abuse problem:
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 in addition to an eating disorder and co-occurring addiction to prescription medications, 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 prescription drug addiction may include the following:
- Spirituality / 12-Step group
- Relapse prevention
- Outside 12-Step group
- Integrated care group that is focused on substance abuse
- Action planning
- Body image
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Expressive arts therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Interpersonal process group
- Relapse prevention
- Equine therapy
- Exposure therapy
- Therapeutic gardening group
- Food and feelings group
- Nutrition counseling and education group
- Menu planning and meal preparation
- Family weekend incentives
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 prescription drug abuse problem:
- Group dinners
- Restaurant outings
- Challenge food outings
- Grocery shopping
- Beach trips
- Clothes shopping
Our experienced staff members, many of whom have specialized training in therapeutic techniques and treating a myriad of co-occurring conditions, including an addiction to prescription medications, 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 prescription medication use disorder 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.