The following interview about Eating Disorder is with McCallum Place, a nationally acclaimed treatment center for patients with eating disorders.
AT: First of all, can you tell us about yourselves?
MP: McCallum Place is a nationally acclaimed treatment center for patients with eating disorders and provides comprehensive medical and psychiatric care, specialized, evidence-based psychotherapies, and individualized nutritional support in a real-life setting. We offer the complete continuum of care: 24 hour Residential, 10 hour partial hospital, 6 hour partial hospital, Phase I & Phase II (IOP) Intensive Outpatient, Transition House, and a new outpatient clinic called Webster Wellness professionals for eating disorders and obesity.
Our state-of-the-art eating disorder treatment facility and eating disorder therapy programs, which integrate the latest findings from eating disorders research with experienced clinical practice, are designed to create an environment of structure and support. At McCallum Place, care and experience give way to restorative treatment, opening new doorways of hope and possibility. Patients leave McCallum Place with the tools and strategies necessary for healthy eating and with practices useful for discovering a more balanced and satisfying life.
AT: As a nationally acclaimed treatment center for patients with eating disorders, can you tell me a little bit about McCallum Place?
MP: McCallum Place is a comprehensive eating disorder treatment center serving adolescents and adults in a home-like setting featuring historic luxury and contemporary amenities. We specialize in integrated medical and psychiatric care, providing psychotherapies, nutritional support, and family therapy for patients with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and compulsive exercise. McCallum Place's central St. Louis, Missouri area location makes it easy to serve the needs of patients from all over the country including those patients from Missouri and Illinois. Our treatment suite is located in the heart of historic Webster Groves, a charming area with tree-lined streets and village-like shops.
AT: What are some of the most common eating disorders that the medical staffs at McCallum Place typically encounter? Can you briefly explain the nature of these eating disorders as well as the demographics that are most susceptible to eating disorders?
MP: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS) and Binge Eating Disorder.
Anorexia Nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by self-starvation and excessive weight loss.
Bulimia nervosa is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder characterized by a cycle of binge eating and compensatory behaviors such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) and compulsive overeating are eating disorders characterized by uncontrollable, frequent overeating. In general, those with binge eating disorder consume unusually large quantities of food in a short period of time while feeling overwhelmed with feelings of disgust, powerlessness, and helplessness. Binge eating is often followed by feelings of guilt and embarrassment. BED is the most common eating disorder frequently occurring in both males and females of all ages, including teens and adults. Binge eaters and compulsive overeaters may not eat regular meals or graze-eat throughout the day. For those who suffer from binge eating disorder (BED), binge episodes, such as the ones described above occur on a regular basis, sometimes even up to multiple times per day. In addition, binge eating can be accompanied by overwhelming feelings of shame or guilt.
“Eating Disorders and obesity are a health threats to people of all ages. They are chronic, progressive conditions which can have devastating effects on the physical, mental, social and spiritual lives of individuals and their families.”
Eating Disorders and obesity are a health threats to people of all ages. They are chronic, progressive conditions which can have devastating effects on the physical, mental, social and spiritual lives of individuals and their families. The treatment needs of an individual are varied and require a multidisciplinary approach. The treatment team works together to determine the most effective way in which to meet the needs of the patient. The affected individual and family members are active collaborators in identifying treatment needs and implementing a therapeutic plan. The latest research is confirming what clinicians have always believed: these conditions are very complex, affecting just about all aspects of the person's life, e.g. emotional, psychological, interpersonal, social, spiritual, and physical. While genetics have been thought to play a role from the earliest descriptions of the conditions, it is clear that many psychosocial and cultural factors are involved. Furthermore, the factors that trigger an eating or weight problem in the first place, are not the same factors that keep the disorder going.
AT: Assuming that I have an eating disorder, why should I go to an outpatient clinic for treatment when I can either enter an inpatient clinic or attempt to fix my eating disorder on my own?
MP: There must be some confusion here as this question is not necessarily what we would recommend at all. If someone is medically stable and making progress in outpatient therapy or may not be ready for a higher level of care (even if it would be beneficial or is needed), outpatient can be a great first step on the road to recovery.
As for "fixing" an eating disorder on one's own, for a small few, this can be possible through self exploration, doing workbooks, etc. One size does not fit all; nor does every treatment center work for everyone. This is why McCallum Place and its new outpatient clinic, Webster Wellness professionals, offer the entire spectrum-to meet the unique needs of nearly everyone and every eating disorder or body image issue.
AT: In your opinion, what are the advantages and the disadvantages of being an outpatient clinic (we are many levels of care, not just outpatient) focusing on treating eating disorders? In particular in what ways has that effect staff members and patients?
MP: The advantages of our many levels of care are discussed throughout this interview. One disadvantage might be exactly the issue that has come up in this interview through these questions: an issue of miscommunication or misunderstanding that we only offer outpatient. It is uncommon and rare for eating disorder treatment programs in the nation to offer such a vast spectrum of highly specialized and medically based care. Perhaps since people aren't used to it, they automatically assume we must offer one or the other-but not both.
AT: For an outpatient clinic such as McCallum Place, what are the standard procedures for handling relapse?
“The latest research is confirming what clinicians have always believed: these conditions are very complex, affecting just about all aspects of the person's life, e.g. emotional, psychological, interpersonal, social, spiritual, and physical.”
MP: McCallum Place has a specially designed "Relapse Packet" given to patients when a relapse has occurred. We do not shame or blame when a lapse or full blown relapse has occurred, rather, we believe it can be a great opportunity for growth and deeper recovery if processed and worked through. Our packet aims to guide patients to do just this.
AT: Can you tell us a memorable experience in which outpatient treatment at McCallum Place has helped individual patients combat their eating disorder?
MP: We have many memorable experiences, it is hard to choose just one. One most recent story that comes to mind would be about a 40 year old female. a successful tax attorney who has had treatment before at the inpatient level, though has never known recovery. At this point in her life, she is not ready or willing to take time off work to pursue treatment, but has for the first time in 10 years, told her husband about her eating disorder and is attending outpatient support groups through McCallum Place and seeing a psychiatrist and physician through Webster Wellness Professionals to ensure medical stability and begin working on her eating disorder. When she is ready, she will be able to gently and comfortably transition to McCallum Place, keeping the same team of treating professionals, who will know her and know best how to help.