Eating disorders (EDs) affect millions of individuals and families every year. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors involving weight and food.” Exclusive Hawaii Rehab helps clients identify the root cause of disordered eating and gain the necessary skills to manage their condition. The clinical team is certified to treat primary and secondary EDs.

What Are Eating Disorders?

Disordered eating is a medical condition affecting a person’s relationships to food, weight, eating, and body image. Individuals diagnosed with disordered eating often experience co-occurring disorders related to untreated trauma or other underlying issues affecting mental health. Women are more likely to be diagnosed with EDs.

According to MedlinePlus, “Researchers believe that eating disorders are caused by a complex interaction of factors,” including:

  • Genetics
  • Environmental 
  • Physical health
  • Social connections
  • Psychological health

EDs interfere with all areas of a person’s life and often require multiple levels of care and months or years of therapy to manage successfully.

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Different Types of Eating Disorders

People experience different forms of disordered eating. The clinical team uses assessments and screening tools to diagnose EDs and help clients choose the most effective treatment options.

EDs treated at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab include:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge-eating disorder
  • Pica
  • Rumination disorder
  • Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID)
  • Purging disorder
  • Night eating syndrome
  • Other specified feeding or eating disorders (OSFED), such as orthorexia

The disorders are often severely debilitating and, if left untreated, lead to malnutrition, organ damage, and potentially death. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Eating disorders are serious and sometimes fatal illnesses that cause severe disturbances to a person’s eating behaviors.” The compassionate care team guides clients struggling with EDs through identifying and addressing issues related to self-image.

Signs of Disordered Eating

Every ED has specific symptoms and warning signs. However, individuals concerned about disordered eating might notice some of the following general changes in thoughts or behaviors:

  • Extreme weight gain or loss in a short period of time
  • Secretive behaviors after meals, including spending an excessive amount of time in the bathroom
  • Sudden increase in exercise or other physical activities
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Night eating
  • Overeating
  • Mood swings
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Obsession with weight or body image

The symptoms of EDs exist along a spectrum from mild to severe.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Treatment Options at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

The care team at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab does not restrict meals. Clients are instead educated and guided through creating a healthier relationship with food and eating. Mindful eating is used to help clients learn to recognize hunger cues and other automatic body responses.

Some of the therapies and services used to treat EDs include:

  • Stimulus Belief Response
  • Experiential therapy
  • Nutrition therapy and education
  • Art therapy
  • Journaling
  • Personal development
  • Mission therapy
  • Nature immersion
  • Narrative therapy
  • Traditional Hawaiian Therapy: Ho’oponopono
  • Harm reduction
  • Success refined post-rehab
  • Redefining self-narrative
  • Acupuncture
  • Yoga
  • Bodywork and energy work
  • Massage therapy
  • Pilates
  • Life Contract Responsibility Square
  • Person-centered therapy
  • Emotional freedom technique (EFT)
  • Trauma-informed therapy
  • Claiming a Life Purpose

Clients are encouraged to engage with peers and the care team during and after meals. Seeing examples of healthy eating can sometimes help clients establish healthier eating routines. Every client receives tailored care and has complete control over the direction of their treatment.

Treating SUD and Active EDs

Many women with active EDs have co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD) and require treatment for both conditions. According to Cureus, “Approximately 12% to 18% of adults with anorexia nervosa (AN) and 30% to 70% of adults diagnosed with bulimia nervosa (BN) have SUD.” The clinicians at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab have the tools and resources to treat EDs and SUD simultaneously using integrative care and personalized treatments.

Some of the connections between EDs and SUD include:

  • Individuals with SUD may begin disordered eating as a way to feel in control of something in their lives
  • Disordered eating may cause people to misuse substances as a way to self-medicate symptoms like anxiety
  • The two conditions may develop independently, worsening the symptoms of both

SUD and EDs should be treated simultaneously to reduce the risk of relapse. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is certified to treat SUD and EDs as primary or secondary disorders.

Nutritional Coaching and Developing a Healthy Relationship With Food

Clinicians at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab believe in using food as medicine. The essential vitamins and minerals in nourishing meals help the body and mind grow healthier. Peer engagement is another critical part of treating EDs. Eating is often a social activity, and EDs may cause people to isolate themselves and experience additional mental health issues due to loneliness and a lack of social support. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is a thriving community of individuals working to heal together and create a safe space where people feel comfortable addressing the underlying issues affecting their mental health.

The care team provides nutritional coaching. However, clients are never forced to eat or given ultimatums about how to relate to food during treatment. Instead, clinicians help clients learn mindful eating. The care team collaborates closely with clients and their families to find healthy ways to manage symptoms and build a healthier relationship with food.