Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Individuals with Eating Disorders Find Holidays Challenging

Getting Proper Treatment, Even During the Holidays, Is Critical as Eating Disorder Behaviors Can Worsen During This Time

PHOENIX, Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Throughout the years, the medical staff at Remuda Ranch has found the holidays to be an especially emotionally vulnerable time for individuals with eating disorders. Since 1990, Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders has treated more than 10,000 patients suffering from anorexia, bulimia, anxiety and related issues.

"Family members often want to postpone treatment until after the holidays," said Lesley Williams, MD, director of medical services at Remuda Ranch. "This delay can translate to patients not receiving the care they require during an emotional time when their eating disorder behaviors will likely increase rather than improve."

Many patients who are in treatment during the holidays do miss their families, but they appreciate having the opportunity to receive help during this difficult time. The stress of the holidays exacerbates eating disorder behaviors and the safety of an inpatient or residential setting allows them to address their eating disorder without outside distractions.

"Eating disorder patients are definitely affected by the holidays," adds Dr. Williams. "The pressure of seeing family members, potential discussions about their appearance or what they are or aren't eating can all be very anxiety provoking. This doesn't even include the tremendous focus on food at every event during the season."

Dr. Williams says the body can be compromised physically with eating disorders. Inadequate nutrition from restriction can make it difficult for the brain and vital organs to function. Electrolyte imbalances caused by purging behaviors also negatively impact the brain and heart.

"Early intervention is critical," adds Dr. Williams. "The sooner an individual gets help, the easier it is to reverse damage that has been done and it can prevent further harm from occurring."

About Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders

Remuda Ranch offers inpatient and residential programs for individuals suffering from eating or anxiety disorders. Each patient is treated by a multi-disciplinary team including a psychiatric and a primary care provider, registered dietitian, master's level therapist, psychologist and registered nurse. The professional staff equips each patient with the right tools to live a healthy, productive life. For more information, call 1-800-445-1900 or visit

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