comprehensive, compassionate, and customized mental health and eating disorders treatment
diagnoses and conditions
Complex Mental Health and Eating Disorders
Galen Hope treats adults and adolescents who with complex clinical presentations, including primary mental health disorders, eating disorders, and dual diagnoses. We provide partial hospitalization programs (PHP) with community integration for teens and adults, and intensive outpatient treatment programs (IOP) with community integration for teens and adults, along with supported housing for adults. Conditions treated include:
Primary Mental Health Disorders:
- Anxiety disorders
- Depression, bipolar and other mood disorders
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Personality disorders
- Psychosis and thought disorders
primary eating disorders and related conditions
- Anorexia Nervosa
- Bulimia Nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
- ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder)
- OSFED (Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders)
- Compulsive Over-Exercise
dual diagnoses and complex clinical presentations
Galen Hope specializes in treating patients with complex psychiatric disorders, including primary mental health, primary eating disorder and dual diagnoses. It’s common for certain mental health disorders to go hand-in-hand with other conditions.
Researchers are still working to determine which genetic or biological underpinnings are shared across various conditions. Our expertise in a broad range of diagnoses allows us to get to the heart of an individual’s struggles, and find the treatment solutions that support long-term emotional and psychological wellness. By treating all of the conditions that an individual is facing, our clients can truly begin to heal, and leave treatment ready to experience a life that’s productive, fulfilling and joyful.
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Galen Hope treats a wide range of complex mental health conditions, including clients with primary mental health and primary eating disorders diagnoses.
Healing the Relationship With Food and Body Image
There are distinctions between various eating disorder diagnoses. However, it’s not uncommon for individuals with an eating disorder to shift from one form to another form at different times. What most eating disorders share is that those who suffer from them are profoundly affected by weight stigma or shame involving eating in a society that pressures us to conform to an unrealistic appearance.
Anorexia nervosa symptoms include extreme food restriction, a preoccupation with thinness, and a distorted body image. Excessive exercise, or exercise addiction, can also accompany anorexia nervosa. Restoring a healthy relationship to eating and developing self-compassion are key goals of treatment.
If left untreated, anorexia can lead to serious physiological complications that can harm all body systems. Studies show the majority of those with anorexia nervosa will experience a co-occurring disorder during their lifetime. Disorders that often co-occur with anorexia include anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PSTD, and substance use disorders. To fully recover from an eating disorder, it’s also crucial to identify and treat co-occurring disorders as well.
Anorexia nervosa is the least prevalent eating disorder, despite perhaps being the most recognized. It has the highest mortality rate of any eating disorder and the second highest mortality rate of any mental health diagnosis after opiate addiction. Suicidal ideation is all too common among those with anorexia, and contribute to the high mortality rate.
People with “atypical” anorexia have the similar symptoms as those with anorexia, except they are not underweight. Often, atypical anorexia develops when someone is excessively exercising and dieting and rapidly dropping weight, putting enormous strain on the body, even though they are not yet dangerously underweight.
Atypical anorexia is a more recent diagnosis and is used to diagnose those who exhibit all the criteria for anorexia nervosa but are not visibly “underweight”. Excessive dieting and exercise leading to a rapid drop in weight puts an enormous strain on the body, regardless of the body shape or size that an individual may have started with or ended up with. Atypical anorexia is often a missed feature of those who have struggled at times with binge eating disorder, and many of those who suffer receive late diagnoses due to weight bias in the medical community, a misunderstanding of what it means to be underweight, and a lack of understanding of the medical and psychological risks associated with rapid and excessive weight loss. At Galen Hope, we refer to all forms of anorexia nervosa as simply “anorexia” but understand that some individuals may find the “atypical” label to be helpful in communicating to others about their diagnosis.
Bulimia involves binge eating, followed by compensatory behaviors such as purging through self-induced vomiting, use of diuretics, laxatives, or the misuse of insulin, restriction or excessive exercise. As with anorexia, bulimia nervosa is also strongly associated with other types of mental health disorders. Anxiety, depression, mood disorders, substance use disorders and personality disorders are the most common. To help our clients free themselves from the cycle of binging and purging, it’s crucial to address distorted body image, stabilize nutrition and food intake to help clients reconnect to their natural hunger and fullness cues, and address co-occurring conditions that may drive the binge-purge cycle. Bulimia can have very serious health risks, including risk of death, in part due to electrolyte imbalances related to compensatory behaviors. With treatment, individuals can fully recover from bulimia.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder (BED) is a complex bio-psycho-social condition that is poorly understood by the public, and even many physicians. Signs of binge eating disorder include recurrent episodes of binging at least twice a week for several months, quickly eating a larger amount of food than normal, and feeling an inability to stop eating during the binge episode. Unlike bulimia, however, people with BED don’t engage in compensatory behaviors for the calorie intake. Many people with binge eating disorder have deeply embedded shame surrounding eating or their weight. Treatment involves helping individuals overcome shame associated with eating, and learning mindful and attuned eating that honors the need to eat to fuel the body and the mind. Mood disorders, anxiety, ADHD, and trauma often co-occur in people with BED. BED is the most prevalent of all eating disorders and is seen in relatively equal numbers across genders than other diagnoses (which tend to occur more frequently in woman, girls, and transfeminine individuals).
Weight stigma impacts individuals across the spectrum of eating disorder diagnoses. There is no one way to look when suffering from one. However, the misconception that all people with BED exist in larger bodies, or that all people in larger bodies engage in binge-eating behaviors, is incredibly prevalent and extraordinarily damaging. It frequently leads to missed or misdiagnoses, healthcare avoidance, a fear of rejection or not being “sick enough” for treatment, and bias from medical and behavioral health professionals that can unfortunately extend even to eating disorder treatment settings. At Galen Hope, we utilize a Health at Every Size™ approach. We honor size diversity and provide an environment that is safe and comfortable, from our furniture to our nutritional interventions.
ARFID, or aavoidant-restrictive food intake disorder, is an eating disorder in which individuals will consume only a very select, limited number of foods. Previously called selective eating disorder, ARFID should not be confused with ordinary picky eating. Individuals with ARFID often have a very limited number of foods they will eat, frequently but not always related to texture, macronutrients (such as mostly carbohydrates), or brands of processed/packaged food.
ARFID often emerges in childhood, and can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies and growth problems. Without treatment, the condition does not simply go away in adolescence or adulthood. It can last a lifetime. ARFID is distinct from other eating disorders, such as anorexia, in that people with ARFID do not typically have a preoccupation with weight or body image. Anxiety disorders often accompany ARFID, and the condition is more common among those with sensory sensitivities or who are autistic.
While ARFID often emerges in childhood, it is also seen in adults who may have experienced a food related trauma such as choking, onset of a severe food allergy, or an illness that impacts appetite or creates physical discomfort. ARFID can have very serious health risks, including the risk of serious nutritional deficiencies and the impact on growth and development in children. ARFID can also impact people socially on a profound level.
Treatment for ARFID requires a savvy nutritional approach that differs from the “standard” nutritional interventions in eating disorder treatment settings, and it is important to work with a team who understands how to accommodate treatment for clients with ARFID. At Galen Hope, our registered dietitians are well-versed in both the recommended modalities to address an ARFID diagnosis, as well as making accommodations for neurodivergent clients or those with severe food allergies and/or health concerns that may impact their relationship with food.
OSFED, which stands for Other Specified Feeding and Eating Disorders, is an eating disorder in which individuals may have symptoms of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, but the symptoms do not fit neatly into one diagnostic category. Individuals with OSFED typically have extremely disordered eating habits, distorted body image, an intense fear of gaining weight and self-esteem tied to their shape or weight. Although they do not meet the full criteria for a diagnosis of anorexia, bulimia or binge eating disorder, OSFED is just as serious as other eating disorders, and the psychological and medical consequences can be severe.
Orthorexia often begins as a desire to eat healthier. Depending on the individual, this could be limiting processed food, or not eating foods that are high in sugar or sodium, or that contain preservatives, animal products, and so on. These choices are often encouraged and supported by family, physicians and the society at large. Orthorexia develops when eating healthy progresses into an obsession or extreme preoccupation with what they believe to be healthy eating. Individuals may fixate on details associated with meal prep and nutrition, such as by excluding entire food groups or refusing to eat anything that is not organic. Orthorexia may be accompanied by other mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and depression.
Exercise addiction is an unhealthy obsession with physical fitness and exercise. It often develops in parallel with or as a result of a body image disorder or eating disorder. Exercise addiction shares symptoms in common with other kinds of addiction, including obsessing over the behavior, giving up other activities (such as important family or other social events) in order to engage in the behavior, and continuing to exercise obsessively even when it’s having a negative effect on physical and mental health.
mental health disorders
Personalized treatment for the whole person
Our care teams work collaboratively to meet each client’s unique needs. Our approach isn’t just treating an illness or a disorder. We strive to truly understand each individual, to help them discover their strengths, understand that they have much to contribute, and build new skills that will help them in moving forward and finding healing.
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Trauma is a response to a deeply disturbing or upsetting experience. Many events can cause it: accidents, the sudden loss of a loved one, discrimination, violence, neglect, abuse, or witnessing violence or abuse. Trauma impacts the brain regions involved in the stress response, including the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. This can have a deep and lasting impact on emotional, psychological and physical health.
Among U.S. men and women, nearly 8 percent will experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point in their lifetimes. Individuals with PTSD are at high risk of other psychiatric conditions, including depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorders.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (c-PTSD) occurs when individuals experience some symptoms of PTSD, along with additional symptoms, such as: difficulty with emotional regulation or feeling very angry or distrustful. Because of its overlapping symptoms with other conditions, complex PTSD is often misdiagnosed.
Galen Hope provides trauma-informed care, which recognizes that trauma is very common throughout society. Trauma-informed care ensures that every member of the staff is aware of trauma signs and symptoms, integrates techniques and interventions into treatment that help clients process and heal from traumatic experiences, and consciously takes steps to avoid inadvertent re-traumatization.
Anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, society anxiety, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder can be severely debilitating for many. It is estimated that 31 percent of adults and 32 percent of adolescents in the United States have experienced clinical anxiety at some point in their lives.
Anxiety disorders are the most common childhood-onset psychiatric disorders, and the most common mental illness among adults. Anxiety disorders often co-occur with several other psychiatric diagnoses, including mood disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorders. In many cases the onset of the anxiety disorder predates the co-morbid diagnosis significantly.
- Generalized anxiety disorder is persistent, excessive worry that interferes with the quality of life and activities of daily life.
- Social anxiety disorder is associated with intense discomfort in social situations, often centered around fears that they will be judged negatively, rejected, or embarrassed.
- Panic disorder is characterized by sudden episodes of intense fear and anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, affects 1 to 3 percent of people, creating a pattern of intrusive, obsessive thoughts typically followed by repetitive, compulsive behavior. The thoughts and behaviors related to OCD are often centered around a theme such as cleanliness, difficulty tolerating uncertainty, aggressive thoughts of self-harm or losing control, or a persistent, interfering need to keep things orderly and symmetrical.
Many anxiety disorders co-occur not only with other categories of mental health concerns, but with each other; compounding the level of impairment and the ability to seek or engage in treatment. Fortunately, anxiety disorders are very treatable. Effective treatment not only improves an individual’s quality of life, it also lays the groundwork for recovery from other related conditions that may be fueled by anxiety.
At Galen Hope, we help our clients learn skills and strategies to reduce anxiety and tolerate distress through individual and group therapies, and provide medical and psychiatric assessment, including medication management when deemed appropriate. Most importantly, we build in various ways to practice those skills in a variety of situations and environments, with the gentle repetition and emphasis on meaningful goals that are imperative for setting our clients for relief from their symptoms and lifelong success.
Mood disorders, such as major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder, typically feature feelings of prolonged and intense sadness, worthlessness or hopelessness, loss of interest in activities or relationships, and thoughts of death or suicide. People struggling with depression often experience disruption to sleep patterns, appetite, concentration, and excessive irritability.
In those with bipolar disorder there are extreme mood variations, with periods of depression and periods of mania or hypomania–extreme highs that can lead to high-risk behavior, feelings of grandiosity, hyperactivity, and excessive or compulsive behaviors related to activities like spending, sexual activity, or substance use.
Depression is a mood disorder that leads to feelings of sadness, lack of interest or difficulty doing everyday activities, and a host of other symptoms that can vary among individuals. Other signs and symptoms include sleep problems, fatigue, irritability, feelings of worthlessness, or suicidal thoughts. Many people who have suffered from a major depressive disorder also experience other issues, including substance abuse disorder, anxiety disorders, or personality disorders. Adults and teens with ADHD are also more likely to have symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Often beginning in the teen years or early adulthood, personality disorders impact the way individuals feel about themselves and others. This may cause problems with their relationships and functioning in social activities, work and school. There are numerous types of personality disorders that impact thoughts, moods and reactions to various situations in life. Personality disorders often co-occur with trauma, depression, anxiety disorder, and substance use or eating disorders. Examples of personality disorders include:
- schizoid personality disorder, in which individuals have limited emotional expression and social detachment
- borderline personality disorder, which encompasses self-image issues, difficulty regulating emotions and behavior, and a pattern of unstable, often overly intense relationships.
- dependent personality disorder, in which individuals are overly submissive or clingy, need constant reassurance, have low self-confidence, difficulty making independent decisions, and experience feelings of helplessness.
psychosis and thought disorders
Psychosis occurs when people lose contact with reality. Symptoms of psychosis can include seeing or hearing things that others can’t (hallucinations), or believing things that aren’t actually true (delusions). The first episode of psychosis often occurs in the late teens to mid-twenties. During a period of psychosis, a person’s thoughts and perceptions are disturbed, and the individual may have difficulty understanding what is real and what is not. Psychosis may be a symptom of a mental illness, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
A thought disorder is a disorganized way of thinking that leads to abnormal ways of expressing language when speaking and writing. Thought disorders can also be associated with conditions such as mood disorders or psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia.
Conditions involving psychosis are often severe and enduring and require hospitalization and stabilization. Galen Hope’s treatment philosophy emphasizes a program of assertive community treatment (PACT), with the goal of preventing repeated hospitalizations, providing care in the least restrictive environment possible, and integration into the community at large. We can assess and address potential emerging psychosis and take appropriate steps to stabilize with community partners. We take a holistic approach, beyond what is addressed in a brief hospital stay.
Our psychiatrists can provide care for clients with psychosis and thought disorders for ongoing symptom reduction, while our clinical teams assist with self-care strategies such as sleep, nourishment, and other components that can assist with stabilization. When clients are ready, we engage them with goal setting and practicing independent living skills to enable them to live as independently as possible. Social support, such as feeling a sense of community, is also crucial for those struggling with serious mental health issues. In our Community for Integrated Wellness, we strive to make sure all of our clients feel a sense of belonging, and hope.