Center for Hope of the Sierras Launches Innovative Program for Individuals with Diabetes and Eating Disorders

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Leading eating disorder treatment program Center for Hope of the Sierras introduces a new specialty program for women ages 16 and up suffering from diabulimia.

If you're going to treat this population, you have to do it right because the stakes are high - and Center for Hope has absolutely surpassed my expectations. People have been concerned about diabulimia for decades but we're just now developing the public awareness and technology to effectively treat both conditions at once.

Treatment of eating disorders is complex; treatment of Type 1 diabetes is also complex. Put the two together, and you're faced with the life-threatening consequences of a condition called "diabulimia" - the unhealthy practice by which individuals who have Type 1 diabetes try to lose weight by depriving themselves of insulin.

Because of a pervasive lack of information and understanding about the condition, diabulimia is greatly under-diagnosed and under-treated. Young girls and women are most frequently caught at the intersection of diabetes and eating disorders, with experts estimating that between 10 to 40 percent of women with Type 1 diabetes have diabulimia.

Center for Hope of the Sierras, known for its success in treating women with anorexia, bulimia, and related disorders, will be one of only a handful of residential eating disorder treatment facilities in the nation that offers specialized care for women with diabulimia.

In an effort to create a world-class diabulimia program, Center for Hope has joined forces with two experts with over 20 years of experience in the field: Steve Graybar, Ph.D., a licensed psychologist and clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, and Kathy Eckhart, Ph.D., a board certified pediatric endocrinologist. With treatment anchored in the bio-psycho-social model, women in the diabulimia program will receive:

  • Comprehensive Medical Management, including nutritional education and rehabilitation, blood sugar monitoring/testing, insulin administration, a monitored exercise program, and more.
  • Individual, Group, and Family Therapy, which addresses the food, weight, body image, and interpersonal issues underlying an eating disorder as well as the emotional factors that are interfering with responsible self-care for the treatment of diabetes.
  • A Home-Like Environment with 24-Hour Nursing and Social Support, where women can connect in a meaningful way with peers, staff, and themselves.
  • Comprehensive Care from a Team of Experts in a CARF Accredited Residential Program, including a board certified pediatric endocrinologist, a registered dietician, licensed psychologists and marriage and family therapists, a psychiatrist, and 24-hour nursing and residential staff.

In the past month, Dr. Graybar and Dr. Eckhart have worked tirelessly to prepare the staff at Center for Hope to diagnose and treat diabulimia. Staff training, which has been both academic and hands-on, has covered every aspect of medical treatment for concurrent Type 1 diabetes and eating disorders, and will augment the center's already existing expertise in treating eating disorders.

"The staff members are learning the ins and outs of how to care for these patients," says Dr. Eckhart. "From operating glucose meters to administering injections to understanding what to do if a patient is hypoglycemic, every member of the treatment team is well-versed in treating the range of medical and psychological complications stemming from diabulimia."

According to Dr. Graybar and Dr. Eckhart, treatment of diabulimia requires finding a balance between appropriate insulin intake and slow, gradual weight gain, and then closely monitoring the individual's progress. It also requires educating patients about their bodies and their diseases so that they learn to regulate the amount of sugar and carbohydrates they're consuming. This way, patients find a balanced, healthy weight they can be happy with, without feeling compelled to abuse insulin.

It is rare to find a residential eating disorder treatment center with an intensive diabulimia program - and, as the staff has already seen, the demand for treatment is certainly there. Center for Hope has already identified a number of potential clients who have an eating disorder and diabetes, and would benefit from the new diabulimia program.

"We couldn't be more excited about helping a group of people that really has not been helped in a comprehensive fashion before," says Dr. Graybar. "If you're going to treat this population, you have to do it right because the stakes are high - and Center for Hope has absolutely surpassed my expectations. People have been concerned about diabulimia for decades but we're just now developing the public awareness and technology to effectively treat both conditions at once."

About Center for Hope
Centrally located in Reno, Nevada, Center for Hope of the Sierras offers residential treatment and Partial Hospital Program (PHP) levels of care for the treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and related disorders. In two large, yet cozy Victorian-Country style neighboring homes, patients receive highly individualized care from a team of licensed clinicians, registered nurses, a dietician, chef, psychiatrist, and physician - all of whom approach treatment with compassion, dignity, and a commitment to each person's unique healing process.

Center for Hope of the Sierras is a proud member of CRC Health Group, which offers the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral healthcare services in the nation. With the largest array of personalized treatment options, individuals, families, and professionals can choose the most appropriate setting for their behavioral, addiction, weight management, and therapeutic education needs. CRC Health Group is deeply committed to making its services widely and easily available to those in need, while maintaining a passion for delivering the most advanced treatment available.

For more information about Center for Hope of the Sierras, visit http://www.centerforhopeofthesierras.com or call (866) 690-7242. For more information about CRC Health Group, visit http://www.crchealth.com or call (877) 637-6237. CRC's National Resource Center can be reached 24 hours a day at (866) 690-7242.

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