Q. What is an eating disorder?
A. The first thing to understand about eating disorders is that it is not about food. Food serves as a maladaptive coping mechanism for the pressure, stress, or conflict in one's life. Common factors of the disorder are a strong desire to be perfect, a need to control, and body distortion. Eating disorders are commonly seen in girls, however the occurrence of both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa is seen to be increasing in boys. Eating disorders are both a medical and psychological disease that is best treated by a comprehensive program, which integrates the two concerns.
Q. What does the eating disorder program at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center (LLUBMC) consist of?
A. The eating disorder program uses a partial hospitalization treatment model where
patients come for treatment daily Monday through Friday, returning home each evening and on weekends. LLUBMC's eating disorder program has a multidisciplinary team composed of licensed therapists, psychiatrists, nursing staff, occupational and art therapists, registered dietitians, and addiction specialists. Program hours are Monday through Friday: 7:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. for the Partial Hospital Program (PHP) and Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for the Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Alternate Tuesdays are Family night and on these days patients arrive at 11:30 a.m. for PHP and 2:30 p.m. for IOP. Family joins the patients from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.. The program offers two tracks for adolescents and adults suffering from eating disorders.
Q. What is the goal of treatment?
A. The treatment goal is to place the patient on the road to recovery by increasing self-value and self-esteem as well as building effective life skills such as problem solving and coping. The goal also includes parental and family support building, eating disorder education, and awareness skills to help overcome the disease.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Eating disorder program for adolescents & young adults
Q. My child is afraid of gaining weight and getting fat. I've noticed that she hardly touches anything on her plate. Mealtime has become a battlefield for the whole family. Does my child have an eating disorder?
A. Fear of gaining weight, fear of getting fat, and difficulty finishing healthy meals are often signs that an eating disorder is developing. In addition, family mealtime tends to be tense and is often avoided and met with resistance.
Q. My daughter has been exercising and using diet pills so she can lose weight and maintain her ideal body size. I recently learned she has been taking laxatives and diuretics and exercises excessively. I'm really afraid that she may have an eating disorder. What should I do?
A. Your child is displaying significant eating disorder behaviors of anorexia which is the fear of gaining weight and the fear of what food can do to one's body. Your daughter should receive a complete medical examination by her physician. Upon examination, discuss your concerns regarding your daughter's eating behaviors with the physician.
Q. I'm worried that my child may have bulimia. My daughter seems to eat a lot for periods at a time. I've noticed that she feels guilty afterwards and that she is vomiting after eating. How do I talk with my child about my concerns and what can I do to get help?
A. Your daughter is experiencing the bulimic cycle of binging and purging along with the guilt that accompanies this eating disorder. The best way to talk with her about this is with love and understanding. Once you talk with your child follow-up with her physician for a complete medical examination.
Q. What ages benefit from this treatment in the adolescent & young adult eating disorder track?
A. An individual between the ages of 13 to 20 who is suffering from anorexia or bulimia would benefit from this program. The treatment is based on cognitive-behavioral, family systems, and psychodynamic practices of psychotherapy.
Q. What role do parents have in the treatment of their child's eating disorder?
A. Parents are an integral part of the recovery process and therefore have a required involvement in their child's treatment. This is accomplished by participating in the program's family-centered treatment groups.
Q. How does a family pay for this treatment?
A. Most insurance plans have benefits coverage for eating disorder treatment. Check with your insurance provider for a complete understanding of your benefits coverage. Be sure to ask about the type of eating disorder treatments covered under your plan. LLUBMC's staff will assist you in understanding your benefits for the treatment of eating disorders. Arrangements can also be made for cash-based treatment. For more information or to receive a free assessment, please call (909) 558-9275.