Eating Disorder Therapy Approaches at The Highlands

Multidisciplinary Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment

Nearly all clients with an eating disorder require co-occurring disorders treatment. Most clients with eating disorders have some level of anxiety and/or depression, and some have a combination of several co-occurring problems. In addition, up to 50% of individuals with an eating disorder also have an associated substance abuse issue. The Highlands’ professional treatment team are experts at identifying the subtle variations of medical/psychological/nutritional needs of our clients, and providing an effective individualized care plan. Without an integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders, progression towards true health and recovery becomes stalled and ineffective. One problem may improve slightly, but others get much worse. As clients struggle with the complexities of their issues they can become discouraged. The Highlands’ clinicians have extensive expertise and experience in working with clients with one or more co-occurring disorders.

Common Related Issues that Require Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment

Eating Disorder clients with psychological and/or substance abuse issues receive intensive multidisciplinary co-occurring disorders treatment at The Highlands. Emotional and psychological issues that are often seen with many eating disorders include:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder/ social phobia
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Trauma-based problems related to sexual abuse, attachment difficulties, and other painful experiences
Clients may have an escalation in their emotional problems when their normal coping eating behaviors are taken away during treatment. This is a natural response, and our compassionate and dedicated clinical staff help guide clients through this difficult transition. Co-occurring disorders treatment involves assessment of issues and then implementation of care. As clients progress through therapy, all co-occurring issues are addressed, to varying degrees, in a coordinated manner. Substance abuse and addictions that often co-occur with eating disorders include:
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Abuse of drugs, both illegal and prescription
  • Shopping addictions
  • Gambling problems
  • Sexual addictions

Expert Collaborative Approach to Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

Integrated treatment for co-occurring disorders must be multidisciplinary and actively adjusted as the client progresses through each level of care. The Highlands Treatment Center provides a safe environment for the many emotional and physical changes that occur during recovery from an eating disorder. Our treatment philosophy demands that each client is assessed and treated as a whole person, and in a compassionate and caring manner. We provide a three-pronged approach to our eating disorder and co-occurring disorders treatment: medical/psychological/nutritional. Clinical specialists for each of these areas comprise each client’s primary treatment team at The Highlands. By having a team of skilled clinicians working together, a greater impact can be made. Frequent team meetings allow our professional staff to share notes and observations, and make collaborative changes to the overall care plan, helping clients move towards health and recovery. Team members include:
  • Staff psychiatrist (medical and psychiatric interventions)
  • Licensed therapists (both primary and adjunct, with dedicated focus on both the eating disorder and each co-occurring disorder)
  • Licensed dietitians (therapy, education, individualized meal planning and implementation)
  • Registered Nurse (in our higher levels of care)
  • Creative Expression and Movement Therapists (yoga and art)
Each clinical specialist utilizes a wide spectrum of evidence-based and innovation treatment modalities to assist clients in normalizing their weight and eating behaviors, understand and overcoming underlying issues that impact daily life, and treating the associated co-occurring disorders.