Pathways to Eating Disorder Recovery in Orange County

Pathways to Eating Disorder Recovery in Orange County

 

Eating Disorders: Types and Symptoms

Eating disorders are serious mental health conditions that severely affect physical health. Common types such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating each have distinct symptoms. Recovery involves a multidisciplinary approach, including medical and psychological support. In Orange County, specialized programs focus on eating disorder recovery in Orange County, providing comprehensive care to help individuals regain control and improve their quality of life.

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1. Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia is what it is called when a person avoids eating food, or partakes in strict calorie counting, eating very small amounts of certain foods. This disorder causes individuals to believe they’re overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. Some of the common signs of anorexia include:

  • Avoiding food, eating a restricted diet, or eating and then using a laxative or vomiting immediately afterward
  • A distorted body image with a focus on their body shape and how much they weigh
  • An intense fear of gaining weight, with an obsession with thinness to the point of emaciation

Over time, a person with anorexia may develop anemia, bone problems, low blood pressure, constipation, slowed breathing, heart problems, and organ damage. Anorexia is a serious disease that may require hospitalization or spending time in a mental health treatment center

2. Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia is the name for a condition where people will “binge,” consuming an unusually large amount of food in a short period, then experience the uncontrollable urge to “purge,” usually by vomiting, but also by excessively exercising, using laxatives and diuretics, and other behaviors to compensate. Signs a person may have this disease include:

  • Having inflamed, infected, or swollen throat and  salivary glands
  • Decaying teeth or worn enamel due to vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal problems and pain 
  • Dehydration, or an electrolyte imbalance 

People with bulimia are not always underweight. They may have a normal appearance or they may be overweight. This disorder can lead to serious health problems, including tooth decay, stomach and intestinal issues, stroke, or heart attack. Therapy, along with medical care, may be necessary. 

3. Binge Eating

People with a binge-eating disorder have recurring episodes in which they lose control over how much they eat in a sitting. People with this disorder often become obese over time, as they consume more calories than their body needs. This disorder is characterized by:

  • Eating an unusual amount of food in a short amount of time, even when they’re not hungry
  • Eating until they’re uncomfortably full
  • Feeling ashamed about how much they eat, experiencing guilt after binging, or eating in secret due to shame and distress
  • Frequently dieting, but not losing weight

If you or a loved one has even a few of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to speak to a mental health professional who has experience with eating disorders, as when left untreated, they can cause serious health issues that can lead to illness or even death. Eating disorder recovery in Orange County can be done on an outpatient basis in a customized program designed to fit into your lifestyle and address all underlying concerns you may have.  

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The Importance of Seeking Help for Eating Disorder Recovery

Many people feel ambivalent about seeking eating disorder recovery. Orange County residents may find they feel anxious about making changes to their diets, or they may simply deny that they have a problem to begin with. The truth is that the sooner an eating disorder is treated, the faster you will be able to resume healthy eating habits while healing the underlying emotional and psychological causes. 

Leaving an eating disorder untreated can be devastating to your health. Starving oneself, forcing yourself to vomit repeatedly, or eating an unhealthy level of food isn’t something you can sustain forever.

Eating Disorders risks include:

  • Stroke
  • Brain damage
  • Organ failure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Fertility issues
  • Osteoporosis
  • Dental problems
  • Arrhythmia and heart failure
  • Acid reflux (GERD)

The emotional toll of an eating disorder also cannot be overlooked. We need food to live, and for people who have an eating disorder, this means that every mealtime, social outing, or food-related scenario is fraught with stress, panic, and anxiety. 

Living with the fear that an eating disorder causes is tiring, and can cause people to retreat inward, avoiding social gatherings, work meetings, family outings, and dinner parties, which can result in a smaller support system, fewer allies, and feeling isolated. Getting help for your eating disorder will not only help you regain health in your body, but it can also help you rebuild important connections with friends and loved ones. 

Personalized Eating Disorders Treatment Programs in Orange County, CA

At Moment of Clarity, we take care to get to know each of our patients individually. You’re not just a person with an eating disorder, after all, you’re a unique, multifaceted individual who deserves tailored care that fits your needs. We make sure you incorporate a variety of eating disorder treatment and therapies into each person’s program, including helpful nutritional and psychological therapies that will bring you back to health while addressing the underlying anxieties, emotional issues, and other mental health conditions that caused the disorder to manifest in the first place. Getting to the root of the issue will give you a better chance at long-term recovery. 

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The Role of Therapy in Eating Disorder Recovery

Some types of evidence-based therapy are very effective in treating eating disorders in Orange County, especially when used in conjunction with holistic healing practices that take the body, mind, and spirit into account. Learning stress-reduction techniques, healthy eating habits, and more productive ways of thinking are just as important as dealing with the underlying causes of the disorder. Some of the types of therapy used at Moment of Clarity for eating disorder recovery in Orange County include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is the most commonly used therapy for eating disorders because it’s the most effective. Patients identify the underlying issues that cause unhealthy eating patterns, and together with mental health professionals, they come up with the best strategy to resolve these issues. By identifying and changing dysfunctional thought patterns, and rewiring the brain through behavioral changes, therapists can help patients get through the mental blocks and strong emotional responses that are stopping them from living their best lives.  

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

DBT is a type of CBT that incorporates distress tolerance, mindfulness, and effective communication skills into the programming. These skills are crucial when emotions are strong, as the patient learns not to act impulsively, but to regulate and channel their emotions into healthier actions.  

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a popular treatment for trauma, but it can also help those with eating disorders. Using eye movements and bilateral stimulation in the brain, EMDR can help patients heal underlying emotional wounds. Trauma that caused them to feel powerless in the past may be contributing to food restrictions or binge eating in the present, and EMDR may help them cope with unwanted thoughts and emotions. 

Mental Health Treatment That Works

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Building a Support Network in Orange County

Eating disorders thrive in secrecy and shame, which is why building a strong support network is key to a healthy recovery. The more people you can turn to when things are overwhelming, the better. At the Moment of Clarity mental health treatment in Orange County we offer several opportunities to expand your support network, speak out, and understand yourself and your emotions. With our help, you can build a stronger community to support you on your journey back to health. These include:

  • Family sessions – during couples and family therapy sessions, you can reconnect with important people in your life as they learn more about your disorder, and how to better support you 
  • Group therapy sessions – psychotherapy with a group of people you can relate to, as you discuss and learn about eating disorders, and work through group exercises designed to improve your mental health
  • Community resources – support groups, holistic wellness options, recovery warm-lines, and healthy living opportunities are only some of the connections to community resources we can offer
  • Peer support groups – groups made up of people who are also working on mental health and eating disorder issues, sharing experiences while providing support and understanding to one another

Starting Your Recovery Journey in Orange County

Everybody’s eating disorder recovery process is different, depending not only on the type of eating disorder you have but also on what else you’re dealing with. Many people who have anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders have co-occurring mental health issues that require treatment, and you may also require medical care to heal the body. 

When you come to Moment of Clarity we will get to know you as a person so we understand the types of treatments that will work best for your unique needs. Your treatment plan will be customized to suit you and may be offered as a partial hospitalization plan or an outpatient treatment program. If you want to learn more about eating disorder recovery in our Orange County location, please call us at 949-625-0564. We can help you regain your health. All you have to do is pick up the phone. 

Mental Health Treatment That Works

Call 949-625-0564

This article has been reviewed by:

Dr. Girgis serves as Moment of Clarity’s medical director and is a triple board-certified psychiatrist.

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