Patients who are seeking help from dual diagnosis treatment centers like Fairwinds Treatment Center do so because they understand, as we do, that eating disorders are the result of mental illness. They are not a lifestyle choice for which a person must accept all blame, and they are not the product of poor choices or immorality.
This was driven home recently in an excellent editorial by Susanne Carlson, a former eating disorder patient who wrote in Vancouver news source The Province about her disease. Carlson discussed how her struggle with an eating disorder was driven by more than a preoccupation with being thin and losing weight. It was linked to severe depression, something she says is true of many other patients she has met in treatment.
"For some, the cause is a trauma or a difficult experience that has not been dealt with. For others their condition is linked to anxiety, stress, or depression," she writes. "For some, it is from being bullied in childhood, for others the roots are difficult to trace."
Although she does draw the link between mental illness and eating disorders, Carlson is quick to point out that the underlying causes of each person's disease can vary significantly. For this reason she opposes the use of strict diagnoses for eating disorder patients. She argues that rather than placing each patient into a box, treatment centers should approach each individual's case differently based on what has led them to develop the disorder. Doing so would be far more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach.
At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we strive to create a unique dual diagnosis program for each patient that addresses their specific issues and illness. Our guests are not placed into broad categories and painted with a broad stroke. This individualized approach helps each patient feel more welcome and at home in our facility, and they'll have a more successful recovery as a result.