One of the reasons that eating disorders are so difficult for patients to overcome is that they often see the disease as an integral part of their personality and character. For these individuals, it's not just an illness that they need to treat and eliminate. Instead, it's an essential aspect of who they are, and has been since they were a child or young adult.
That was the problem facing Jenni Schaefer, an eating disorder patient who was recently profiled in the Houston Chronicle who began her struggle when she was an adolescent. It spiraled out of control, and by the time she was in college, she had no social life and was constantly depressed.
However, Schaefer recovered, and is now the author of an important memoir called "Life Without Ed," which details her struggles. The book is often given to other patients who are dealing with these disorders and provides a roadmap to recovery.
Schaefer was able to overcome her disease after seeking eating disorder treatment and therapy. Through these programs, Schaefer came to see her eating disorder not as a part of her, but as a separate entity named "Ed" who made her feel devalued, isolated and inadequate. She describes her recovery as being a divorce from Ed, hence the name of her book.
Taking an approach that address the mental health issues underlying eating disorders is not all that unique — in fact, this is precisely how Fairwinds Treatment Center treats its patients. Our team of clinicians are focused on helping patients recover from psychologically traumatic events and conditioning them to feel more comfortable with themselves. This dual diagnosis approach — developed by Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef — provides a more thorough and lasting result so that patients can lead healthy, productive and happy lives.