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Dual-Diagnosis Programming

In the field of eating disorder treatment, we understand that patients who seek care are typically presenting with ranging types and degrees of co-morbidities. Particularly delicate is the treatment of a patient who presents with both an Eating Disorder (ED) and a Substance Use Disorder (SUD). To meet the individualized needs of our patients who fall in this population, Monte Nido and Affiliates has developed specific protocols for addressing dual-diagnoses. At Monte Nido Newport Beach, the implementation of these protocols allows for specialized treatment of our dual-diagnoses patients.

Current evidence and expert clinical consensus suggest that integrative treatment of SUD and ED is the best model since both diagnoses are linked by common underlying factors that influence the stress response. Despite the many commonalities in a person’s experience of the two conditions, EDs and SUDs are different illnesses with different courses and treatment needs. When working with eating disorders we want to “remove the ‘–ic’” to help a patient understand they are not “anorexic” or “bulimic”, rather they had anorexia or they had bulimia. This speaks to the classically cited difference between the two illnesses, which is that abstinence from substances is possible, while abstinence from eating is impossible. With this in mind, we hold our belief that full recovery from an eating disorder is possible, while respecting that individuals remain “in recovery” from their substance use disorder.

The goals we set in our Co-Occurring Programming are driven by the aforementioned commonalities and discrepancies between eating and substance use disorders. The overall goal of treatment is to reduce rigidity and control over eating while increasing control over substance use urges. The initial focus of treatment is to re-establish a normalized pattern of eating and substance use sobriety. Once this stabilization has been achieved, the treatment team is able to help a patient narrow in on the transdiagnostic etiology, factors that maintain the disorders and common treatment targets. At this stage of treatment the team can help a patient explore trauma history, for example, a common underlying contributor to the development of both disorders. The continuum of containment encourages patients to develop increasing levels of accountability, self-awareness and capacity for tolerating distress. Since both disorders are driven by stress avoidance, our treatment plan is substantiated in decreasing emotional and experiential avoidance by encouraging people to utilize grounding techniques and healthy coping mechanisms instead of their disorders.

We are well equipped to contain substance use issues and integrate SUD treatment into the treatment plan for an individual who has a primary diagnosis of an eating disorder. If detoxification of the substance is indicated pre-admission, the patient will be referred to a detox program and transferred to a Monte Nido and Affiliates program directly upon completion. At almost all Monte Nido and Oliver-Pyatt Centers programs we offer a sober living environment and support both 12 Step and SMART recovery work. At Clementine adolescent treatment programs, co-occurring treatment is provided in both individual and family therapy. At the Partial Hospitalization Programs, our expert nurses provide additional medical oversight and safety of our patients who enter with Substance Use Disorder.

Monte Nido Newport Beach provides a specialized program for our patients who present with dual-diagnoses. Clinical Director, Kelly Souza, MA, PsyD is specifically trained in the treatment of Substance Use Disorders and has experience working in a substance abuse facility. She is currently working on obtaining her CADC certification and runs a specialized breakout group for dual-diagnoses patients. Additionally, Program Psychiatrist, Dr. Vicki Berkus, MD, PhD, CEDS, specializes in SUD and ED and provides on-site medication management. The expertise of our staff, combined with care that is tailored to the needs of each patient, allows us to provide the most effective treatment for individuals with a need for specialized care.

Monte Nido and Affiliates’ dual-diagnosis programming was developed based on the latest research and best practices by chief clinical staff with the intent to continue to provide outstanding care to diverse populations with the primary diagnosis of an eating disorder. As we further develop this programming, we will expand the specialized level of treatment offered at Monte Nido Newport Beach to more of our programs. For inquiries about the specialized programming at Monte Nido Newport Beach, please reach out to Regional Outreach Manager, Andie Hollowell at ahollowell@montenidoaffiliates.com.


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