For PatientsFor Patients

UNDERSTANDING THE DISEASE AND GETTING HELP FOR YOURSELF

Although the eating disorder will tell you not to share your struggle with others, try to identify family and friends with whom you would like to work in your treatment and recovery.

How do I know if I have an eating disorder?
Should I get treatment?
How do I get help?
How can The Healing Connection help?
Is The Healing Connection right for me?
What can I expect during treatment?
What about the food?
How much exercise will I be allowed to do?

How do I know if I have an eating disorder?
Sadly, dieting and body image issues are common among children, adolescents and adults of all ages. Many eating disorders begin as well-intentioned attempts to diet or get in shape. Recognizing when your thoughts and behaviors have become harmful to your well-being is further complicated by the very nature of the eating disorder – that it encourages sufferers to deny or minimize the seriousness of the disorder.

When you become preoccupied with thoughts about food, weight, and shape and you begin to practice unhealthy weight loss behaviors such as restricting, binging, purging, or non-medical use of laxatives or diuretics (water pills), it is likely that you are at risk or currently struggling with an eating disorder.

The Eating Disorders Recovery Center of Western New York provides the following self-assessment for an Eating Disorder:

  • Do you constantly worry about your weight and ask for reassurance from others that you are not fat? Do you do this to the point that others may be frustrated with you?
  • Do you see yourself as fat even though others tell you that you are thin or too thin?
  • Are you looking at foods in terms of safe vs. unsafe and are you avoiding the unsafe foods?
  • Are you deliberately restricting your food intake to the point where you have lost a significant amount of weight?
  • Do you find yourself in a pattern of restricting food intake followed by periods of overeating or eating large quantities and feeling guilty as a result?
  • Do you feel emotionally uncomfortable after eating to the point where you feel compelled to do something about it?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may have an eating disorder. Consult your physician or a behavioral health professional.

Eating Disorders are not defined solely by weight. They may occur in people who are normal weight, overweight, or underweight. Also, if your lab work values are within the normal range, this does not guarantee that you are not in trouble. A comprehensive and accurate evaluation for an eating disorder is based on a physical examination, lab work, AND an evaluation by a mental health clinician who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders.

Learn more about specific eating disorder diagnostic criteria, health complications, and common warning signs, including:

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Should I get treatment?
If diagnosed with an eating disorder, it is crucial that you seek professional help. The appropriate treatment type and level of care will depend on your individual needs including the severity and duration of your disorder. Learn more about the levels of care available for treating eating disorder.

Many individuals suffering with eating disorders experience ambivalence towards recovery – part of them may want to hold on to the eating disorder. While making the decision to seek help can be anxiety-provoking, challenging – and expensive – it is a critical step towards reclaiming your life. Consider:

  • Eating disorders are associated with some of the highest levels of medical and social disabilities of any psychiatric disorder (Klump et. Al, 2009), and eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness (Sullivan, 1995).
  • Eating disorders are commonly accompanied by depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.
  • Studies find that early treatment leads to a faster recovery.
  • About 80% of eating disordered individuals who seek treatment improve significantly or attain full recovery.
  • Effective treatment should including nutritional counseling, medical care, individual and family therapy, psychiatric care, and medication management in some cases.

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How do I get help?
The first step is to contact our office manager for an initial phone screening. Our phone number is 585-641-0281, or fill out the confidential inquiry form on our contact page and our office manager will reach out to you.

The purpose of the phone screening is to ensure The Healing Connection can provide the correct level of care for you and to offer assistance in obtaining insurance benefits and a primary care provider if necessary. If it is determined that The Healing Connection cannot provide the appropriate level of care for you, we will work with you to find alternative treatment options.

Learn more about our intake process and get information regarding paying for eating disorder treatment.

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How can The Healing Connection help?
Treatment at The Healing Connection is guided by our philosophy that eating disorders are diseases of disconnection. The illness maintains its hold on sufferers by damaging important connections, including:

  • the connections we have with ourselves
  • the connections we have with others, and
  • the connections we have with the world and universe around us

The Healing Connection houses a partial hospitalization program and an intensive outpatient program. Our multidisciplinary team of mental health providers works with patients and families to design and implement a comprehensive treatment plan and post-discharge care.

Learn more about The Healing Connection, including:

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Is The Healing Connection right for me?
There are a variety of treatment levels of care that range in intensity. Determining the appropriate level of care should be based on the severity of eating disorder symptoms and should be discussed with a healthcare professional. Contact our office manager to schedule an initial intake assessment designed to help clarify whether our services are appropriate for your individual needs.

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What can I expect during treatment?

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What about the food?
Our in-house chef uses fresh ingredients to prepare meals and snacks for the partial hospitalization program.

Patients bring dinner for the intensive outpatient program.

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How much exercise will I be allowed to do?
The program encourages patients to feel comfortable in their own body. Exercise is a part of individualized treatment plans. Light stretching and gentle yoga are always permitted.

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