What are Eating Disorders?
Since opening in 2005, Pacifica Recovery Services has provided a warm, caring and supportive setting for recovery from eating disorders. Our mission from the beginning is providing an evening program for students and employed individual to recover while remaining in school or work. The program is flexible and enables individuals to customize a schedule that integrates with educational or work responsibilities. Located in a historical school house in Claremont, CA, the program is during evening hours Monday through Friday.
Making the decision to ask for help may be one of the most difficult moments in your life when struggling with an eating disorder. Pacifica Recovery understands this and offers a warm and supportive setting to explore your options for care. Of the hundreds of clients we have treated, the intake process and initial assessment have been rated as excellent by 100 percent of our clients. Our mission is to provide the most supportive, expert and stress free experience possible. Because of the stressful nature of asking for help, we honor everyone who reaches out for help.
Over the years, the primary clients that attend Pacifica are students who are in treatment for the first time. Many students have been in individual therapy, but never a recovery program. Combining individual therapy with a structure program has provided the support that has enabled students to recover without going into a higher level of care.
The second group of clients is those stepping down from a higher level of care of residential or a partial hospital program. Occasionally Pacifica recommends a higher level of care for clients who need more than we offer. After completing that level of care, the clients will return to Pacifica to continue their recovery.
The National Eating Disorders Association writes that individuals “with eating disorders often use food and the control of food in an attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem over-whelming. For some, dieting, bingeing, and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life, but ultimately, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional health, self-esteem, and sense of competence and control.”
What Causes Eating Disorders?
Eating disorders are complex obsessions and compulsions that involve the mind, body, emotions, and interpersonal, social and spiritual aspects of ones life. There is no one etiology or pathway of developing an eating disorder. No one person develops an eating disorder in the same manner. The age of the person, the duration of the eating disorder, the type and severity of the eating disorder have to be taken into account. There are, however, a number of common characteristics that are involved in developing an eating disorder.
Simple Weight Control
- Most clients describe the beginning of their eating disorder as simply trying to control weight, but at some point the weight control becomes a mental preoccupation
- Most clients do not have a clear memory when this change occurred
- The relationship between the pattern of eating and stress and anxiety relief are unmistakable
- When the pattern of eating becomes a vehicle for reducing stress and anxiety, it becomes more than a weight control
- When the pattern of eating, is used to release anxiety, it becomes takes on a tranquilizing role
- The pattern of eating and relief of anxiety become connected in the survival brain
- Anxiety leads to the development of obsessive thought patterns related to calories and foods and their nutritional content
- Fear of gaining weight intensifies and the individual interprets their relationship to food as simply a weight control issue
- Many emotions become expressed through the eating disorder, especially uncomfortable emotions like anger, loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, fear, guilt and shame
- When the eating disorder is a vehicle for managing these emotions, it perpetuates and intensifies these same emotions
- A disproportional high number of client grew up in and chemically dependent or eating disordered family
- Patterns of interacting inhibited the fulfillment of emotional needs
- The individual places the blame for the lack of need fulfillment on self
- History of abuse, emotional, mental, physical or sexual is significantly high
Interpersonal and Social Factors
- Isolation and secrecy become a pattern of living
- The isolation and secrecy prevent the person from feeling apart of or included in interpersonal and social relationships
- Fear of intimacy and closeness develops
- Relationships remain superficial or one sided, and the individual never feels connected
- Cultural issues glorifying “thinness” and the “perfect body” have been written about extensively
- The Cultural issues are present, but are over emphasized as a cause
- The body develops a new homeostasis to the erratic eating pattern
- The body reacts adversely to attempts to normalize eating