One of the biggest challenges that we face at Fairwinds Treatment Center is convincing patients that our eating disorder and drug addiction treatment programs are different from others that they may have experienced. Often, we meet patients only after they have tried other programs and found their methods to be unsatisfactory and ineffective in helping them overcome their disorder.
Recently, we interviewed a patient who has completed her dual diagnosis treatment at Fairwinds and asked her to share her experience. Like many others who come to our facility, this patient, who was 13 years old when she arrived, had been through other programs and found that despite their best intentions, she rarely emerged feeling better about her disorder. Prior to Fairwinds, she had enrolled in outpatient treatment centers and felt that her illness required a much more thorough response.
"[Other programs were] helpful but I was too deep into my eating disorder that it wasn't enough," she told us during her interview. "I actually wanted to go to inpatient because I was scared and knew I needed help. Things got really crazy at home."
This patient and her mother searched for dual diagnosis treatment centers online and came across the website for Fairwinds. Despite her past struggles with receiving sustained treatment, she and her mother decided to give our program a try. The first step was to crack down on her over-exercising, which was getting out of control. We also had her meet regularly with one of our nutritionists, who helped her develop a meal plan that would restore her health. Additionally, she met daily with our eating disorder treatment team, which is lead by Dr. Pauline Powers.
Through these efforts, Fairwinds began chipping away at the patient's eating disorder and the mental health issues that were leading her to engage in these self-destructive habits. Over time she began to feel more comfortable with her weight and stopped obsessing over calorie counts and body image. The patient credits the staff with her success, as well as other patients, many of whom were older than she but dealing with very similar disorders.
"I met many adults while I was in treatment who kept telling me to try my hardest to succeed so that I didn't end up back in treatment as an adult," she said. "It also felt really good to know that I have my whole life ahead of me without having to worry about food, weight, or my body."
This is one of the most important features of our program. Patients not only receive comprehensive support from our highly qualified, licensed medical staff, they can also connect with other patients who are suffering from similar illnesses. Individuals who struggle with an eating disorder often feel like they must tackle their problem on their own, but by coming to Fairwinds, they can find others who relate to them and can provide emotional support as they conquer their illness and begin the pathway to recovery.
It can't be overstated how important it is for patients to find treatment not just for their disorder — whether it's bulimia, anorexia or a substance abuse issue — but for their mental health issues as well. While it's impossible to guarantee a full recovery after any treatment program, we believe at Fairwinds that our dual diagnosis approach is by far the most effective and gives our patients the best chance of living a healthy, productive life. The success that the patient described above is attainable for anyone, but they need to make that first call to ask for help. If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder or drug addiction, we highly encourage you to contact Fairwinds Treatment Center today to find out more about our programs.