Residential Treatment

Residential Treatment:

Rogers is a comprehensive psychiatric hospital, nationally recognized for specialty residential treatment programs for eating disorders, addiction, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety disorders for children, teens and adults.

Life. Worth. Living.

March 20, 2012 - 3:27pm

Surgeons are showing slightly higher instances of alcohol-use disorders (15%) compared to the general population (8-12%), according to a recent study published in the Archives of Surgery. Those who responded reported drinking behaviors that could be categorized as full-fledged abuse or dependence. The study’s lead author, Dr. Michael Oreskovich, said that he hopes that by showing the high percentage of surgeons who have a problem will help destigmatize the illness and result in more physicians coming forward in future polls.

Michael M. Miller, MD, FASAM, FAPA, medical director of the Herrington Recovery Center, gave his impressions of the study and shared some thoughts about how to best address the problem of substance-use disorders with physicians.

This is a very useful study.

It’s been known for years that physicians have rates of addiction that, in general, mirror the rates in the population at large. For some substances, use rates may be lower than the general public, but for prescription drugs available in a physician’s workplace—especially drugs used in the operating room—rates of addiction in physicians significantly outpace the rates in the general population.

We’ve known for years that anesthesiologists, emergency medicine physicians, and psychiatrists have higher likelihood of having addiction than physicians in other specialties. There have been interesting ‘self-report’ survey studies done of surgical residents, including at the University of Wisconsin. This nationwide survey of practicing surgeons, conducted by the University of Washington, is one of the first of its kind.

How do we reduce the rates of addiction among physicians? One way is the way other employment sectors do it: try to ‘screen out’ persons at greater risk or who already seem to have the condition, at the point of job entry (pre-employment screening). But that approach is an odd twist on the human-nature approach to problems of “not in my back yard”-it doesn’t try to address the problem and improve treatment of human beings, it just says “let’s find those with the problem and make sure they go somewhere else and don’t work here!”

I think we should stipulate that addiction (and depression, and other conditions) happens among physicians. We’re in denial if we contend otherwise. Physicians are people first, after all—vulnerable to all aspects of “the Human Condition.”

What do we do about it? Physicians who have worked in the area of Physician Health—like Dr. Oreskovich, the author of this study—know that creating a hostile, scorning, “kick em out” environment, actually sustains the problem or lets it get worse, because physicians don’t come forward and acknowledge their difficulties, they ‘go underground’ to avoid detection and sanctions. The way to reduce the number of practicing physicians who have active addiction, is to identify cases and compassionately refer those persons to treatment at treatment centers like the Herrington Recovery Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital.

When there is a mechanism other than a punitive mechanism that can evaluate issues of physician health and outline a path to recovery for the person, refer the person to treatment, and then , the status of recovery over time (several years) after successful completion of the initial treatment encounter, then physicians will enter treatment, even by self-referral. When physicians know that s in addiction is identified, they can still practice and not lose their license just because of a diagnosis they have, then it is safe for them to step forward.

The topic of drug testing for surgeons and other physicians is an interesting one. American culture on the whole views drug testing as a way to engage in ‘gotcha’ endeavors: let’s find the person who is using drugs, and who has not been honest about that, and when we have ‘proof’ of drug use, let’s kick ‘em out—of extracurricular activities at school, of public housing, of eligibility for food stamps or student loans, of the opportunity to be offered an open employment slot, or of a hospital medical staff. This punitive approach makes people, including doctors, leery about pre-employment or random drug testing regiments.

If drug testing were used under a true public health rubric—true screening for unrecognized disease so that early intervention and referral to necessary treatment could reduce the incidence of new disease, the duration of existing disease, and the disability and death from established disease—then it could truly generate benefits for society, from the secondary school to the professional school level, and in the area of physician health and patient safety. Helping docs who are ill is the way to go; punishing them for being detected as having a disease, is the best way to keep them “hidden,” untreated, and still treating patients even while they are sick.”
March 20, 2012 - 9:24am

Dietitian’s specialty is helping kids

Dieticians and Eating Disorder TreatmentStuffed vegetable models, Legos, and Pictionary are all tools of the trade for Tricia Helwig, RD, CD, one of the 16 dietitians at Rogers. Tricia works with children and teens who are in residential treatment to help them develop a healthy relationship with food.

She is passionate about helping kids and is constantly coming up with new and fun ways to talk about food and make it a part of a healthy lifestyle. Often, she will start slowly, just getting to know each child and learning more about them. Then she will find out about the child’s views and preferences when it comes to food choices and meal times.

At the Child and Adolescent Centers, Tricia works extensively with kids who have a variety of mental health disorders. “The work I do isn’t just with children affected by eating disorders,” Tricia said. “ADHD, OCD and depression all have unique challenges for the child’s nutritional needs and outlook.” As a member of the treatment team, Tricia works to help each child find a workable meal plan that is suited just for them.

Introducing healthy choices

In any given day, Tricia may work with children or teens that are afraid of certain foods, because they fear choking or contamination or find their appetite waning. She introduces them to a variety of foods through games and educational activities. She even offers cooking classes for teens. “If there are kids who need to develop self-confidence or decision-making skills, we’ll put them in charge of the menu,” she said.

During these activities, Tricia is able to help kids understand that they’re not the only ones to feel the way they do. She will work with other members of the treatment team to reincorporate additional foods into the child’s diet. “The treatment here corrects the cognitive distortions they might have about any given food or situation,” she said. Tricia loves the challenge of making connections kids can understand through the many ideas and tools she provides. “I like to see them making healthy and appropriate choices for themselves,” she said.

Lowering anxiety levels at mealtime

Tricia understands how difficult it is for a child with social anxiety to be able to participate in a shared meal. “I’ll try to eat with them occasionally so they know I’m someone who is there to support them.” During meal times Tricia is also able to identify where children and teens are making progress and where they may need extra support.

She also works with family members if they looking for a better understanding of the approaches that work best with their child. “Sometimes it’s just knowing that it’s o.k. to allow kids to have treats, but also knowing when and how to say ‘no’ if their child is having trouble with impulsivity,” Tricia said. “They know their family best. We want them to be able to work together to find the best solution for their meal times. And kids can be really insightful. Sometimes they just need to be heard.”

Seeing kids succeed

Tricia enjoys her work with kids because she is able to see them learn while they are in treatment, and can see an incredible difference in the child from when they were first admitted to the day they go home. “I think about the successes I’ve seen,” said Tricia. “That is an incredible motivator for coming into work every day to help these kids through their challenges.”

February 17, 2012 - 9:06am

Eating Disorder TreatmentThis week Friday, as part of the Eating Disorder Coalition of Tennessee annual conference, a CE session is taking place at the Carolyn P. Brown Auditorium in Knoxville, Tenn. Rogers’ very own Theodore E. Weltzin, MD, FAED, will be presenting “Optimizing Outcomes in Eating Disorders” which covers how to engage patients on a level where even the deepest causes for eating disorders can be treated.

Dr. Weltzin is a nationally recognized and board-certified specialist in eating disorder treatment at Rogers Memorial Hospital. This is an opportunity to be part of a fantastic conference and special CE event which will provide insight into how to engage patients during treatment and what can help to treat the hardest cases.

Rogers Memorial Hospital Outreach Representative Jean Corrao will be exhibiting at the conference as well, providing information about how you can refer your clients/patients to Rogers for some of the best treatment in the country for the hard-to-treat and often treatment-resistant eating disorder patients.

Eating disorder treatment can sometimes be a tug-of-war, due to the nature of anorexia and bulimia, and other eating disorders. Patients are often in denial as they consider this disorder an integral part of their lives. This can create a challenge for even the most seasoned treatment professionals.

Request a screening for you, a family member, or a patient via our online screening form, or visit the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee website to find out more about this conference.

February 14, 2012 - 12:36pm

Inpatient Treatment Saves LivesAs a referring professional who has worked with Rogers for decades, Tom Shiltz, MS, CSAC, understands when a more intensive level of care can help his clients achieve their long-term recovery goals. Tom, a licensed professional counselor, treats adolescents and adults affected by eating disorders, addictions and trauma. Over the years, he has referred dozens of clients to Rogers. Tom knows how important it is for his clients to be included in the discussions about their treatment and what type of treatment is best for their current needs.

Getting symptoms stabilized

“If they can’t go to school, or work, and they’re not thinking clearly I say, ‘Let’s take some time to get those symptoms stabilized so we can get back to therapy,’” Tom said. “I try to get them to see the value of that time and let them know that I’m not quitting on them. It’s a very clear, limited time.”

Tom was pleased to hear about the new inpatient units that will soon replace the current inpatient facilities at Rogers’ Oconomowoc campus. “It just goes to show that Rogers is dedicated to not only investing in their staff, but in their facilities as well. It really makes a difference to clients when they see the amount of effort being made for their comfort and safety.”

Part of the plan

Tom makes sure that his clients know what to expect and when he might make a recommendation for additional treatment options. For his many clients who have eating disorders, Tom helps each individual determine what they would view as problematic. Is it falling below a certain weight? Purging behaviors? Are they too weak for common activities like climbing a flight of stairs?

He works with them to celebrate the progress they’re making and increase their awareness of when additional help might be needed. If his client struggles with addiction, have they had a crisis where their drinking clearly presents a danger to themselves or others? Are they unable to manage a situation that led them to relapse? Are they suicidal?

“I help them think ahead into the future”

Whatever the situation may be, Tom tries to help his clients understand their treatment options and what to expect so there are no surprises, even if additional problems arise. “There are opportunities to intervene after a crisis. If they have the support of their family, and they’ve been educated on their illness, they will be more receptive to change. I help them weigh the pros and cons, depending on where they are,” Tom said. “I help them think ahead into the future.”

With a strong support system and the resources of Rogers, patients are able to focus on their recovery and reclaiming their lives.

To begin a referral or screening at Rogers, call 800-767-4411, or request a screening online.

January 19, 2012 - 8:45am

DepressionDepression—it’s a looming word that may conjure up images like those in the television ads; perhaps we see a sad and lonely figure sitting alone in a dark, ignoring her dog’s desperate pleas to pay him some attention, to please just throw the ball... While this may be the very image of the disorder for some, the reality is that depression doesn’t have one single face.

Depression can be an elusive condition, it might seem to sneak in without warning; it may even disappear and reappear over the course of a person’s life. Many people are struggling in secret, not letting on to the people around them that life, for them, no longer holds any joy or meaning. Others may be suffering from depression and not even realize it, although friends and family have noticed a change in behavior.

Jerry Halverson, MD, FAPA, medical director of adult services at Rogers Memorial Hospital-Oconomowoc has seen this happen in the lives of the patients he treats for depression. “Oftentimes, the person living with depression is the last to realize it, as depression colors the way that they see the world,” Dr. Halverson said. “Family and friends can play a powerful role in helping these people get the help that they need.”

For a person dealing with depression, life might feel like a constant, meaningless struggle. She might feel that there isn’t any hope for her life to improve and wonder why she should even try, especially when everything feels so impossibly difficult. Perhaps most painful of all, she might feel that she doesn’t matter, that she isn’t important to the world, or that she is merely taking up space. “Depression at its most severe can lead to thoughts about suicide, which is why it is crucial that people with depression get the life-saving help that they need,” Dr. Halverson said.

Imagine how impossible it would feel to make any changes, to get help, to even tell someone about her struggle while feeling this way. Unfortunately, these feelings are all too common.

According to the NIMH, depression “is the leading cause of disability among Americans age 15 to 44… about 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18…[and] girls [and women] are more likely than boys to experience depression*.” This being the case, it is hard to understand why depression still carries a stigma, and yet it does.

Many Americans feel the need to hide their struggle as a “shameful secret,” but what if we began to understand that a person struggling with depression is not alone, that her feelings are not uncommon, and that she certainly does not need to feel this way forever? The truth is that although, like the disorder itself, treatment does not come in one form, it does work!

“Oftentimes people assume that treatment for depression means medications, but there are many effective options for depression. These options include, but are not limited to, medications,” Dr. Halverson said. “The true tragedy is that we have treatments that are very effective and can be life-saving. People suffering with depression can, in most cases, expect to feel better with the available treatments.”

Our doctors at Rogers have been working with our patients to help them overcome their depression for more than 20 years now. The doctors at Rogers are the “experts” in psychiatric disorders. They have the full range of proven treatments available to help people with depression get back to their lives.

“Rogers is a unique treatment center. We have access to all of the treatments and all of the levels of care needed to get our patients back to their normal selves,” Dr. Halverson said. “We have the experts to care for you or your loved one whether you need general or specialty psychiatric care with our patient-focused, evidence-based treatment focus. Our team of experts has the same goal in mind – your health.”

Depression is a complex disorder that can seem to cut right to the core of a person’s being, affecting her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We understand how debilitating this can be and are highly experienced in supporting individuals on the path to recovering the meaning, happiness and overall well-being in their lives.


January 11, 2012 - 1:00pm

Signs of school problems

Dr. Eken says it’s important for parents and school professionals investigate when children are showing the common signs of problems at school:

  • Physical complaints (headaches, stomachaches)
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Isolation, or less interaction with peers
  • Grades that are not typical for the student
  • Lack of personal hygiene
  • Talking about sadness or anger at themselves

Holiday break is supposed to be just that – a chance for kids to get break from homework and tests. Children are expected to return to school, rejuvenated, ready to learn more. But for some kids, this simply isn’t the case.

For children affected by mental illness, these transitions can be even more difficult. For children with ADHD, it becomes an issue of having to concentrate even harder in order to keep up with new material. For the child with social anxiety, the idea of returning to school can create resistance. For many other children, holiday breaks translate into relief from bullying or social situations where friendships are difficult or nonexistent. Returning to this environment is not something these children look forward to.

Stephanie Eken, MD, FAAP, is the medical director of the Child Center at Rogers Memorial Hospital. She is a board-certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, who is also a pediatrician. Dr. Eken says that children who are having trouble with school frequently complain of stomachaches, headaches or fatigue and are often evaluated emotional causes to those problems. With an increased awareness of these symptoms, it’s more commonplace for pediatricians to refer children for mental health treatment.

Common causes of school refusal

“The most common cause of school refusal is separation anxiety. For children who are bullied or don’t feel good about themselves, the school break can be a reprieve,” Dr. Eken said. “But, they may have anticipatory anxiety about returning to school.” Children who have trouble starting a new school year or adjusting to a new school may also struggle with the transition following a long holiday break.

With academic and emotional concerns, parents are often at a loss, not knowing how to make this transition better for their child, and unsure of the best way to help them. Dr. Eken offered suggestions for parents whose children struggle at this time of the year. “It helps if they have some structure over the break so they don’t have to change routines when school begins. It can also help to get additional therapy over the break to support them. But it’s really important that parents highlight the child’s strengths and let them know that you’ll be there to advocate for them.”

Raising awareness with school professionals

Dr. Eken explained that there were many school professionals who simply need to understand more about each child’s challenges. “When they think about childhood OCD, they think about contamination issues,” she said. “But children who are dealing with perfectionism aren’t as easily understood. In fact, teachers may be providing the positive feedback that that child’s work is ‘perfect.’ What they don’t see is the time the child spends at home, maybe hours, to complete another ‘perfect’ assignment.”

Dr. Eken said children with ADHD may have trouble adjusting because certain personality traits are being used to describe their behavior. “When they don’t understand the causes of the behavior, some teachers are unknowingly signaling to the child that there is something ‘wrong’ with them.”

Children with separation anxiety may fear for the safety of their families or themselves and may seek reassurance from adults. “By nature, teachers can be very reassuring, but this can make it harder for kids with anxiety to face their fears,” Dr. Eken said. “We help educate the teachers. We teach them how to work with the kids and create a stronger support network for them at school.”

Supportive treatment for children and families

Dr. Eken and the treatment team at the Child Center work with kids and their families to develop healthy coping techniques and routines that help children feel more in control of their world and better able to handle the everyday challenges they encounter at school. “We work with the child, parents and the schools to help them advocate if they need other accommodations,” Dr. Eken said.

During treatment children and families come to recognize the thoughts and behaviors that may lead to avoidance of certain situations. They learn about co-morbidity, or co-occurring diagnoses. “They may be referred for depression, but we need to treat the underlying anxiety, OCD or ADHD to really help them with the depression,” Dr. Eken said.

“We incorporate many different therapies to help kids build confidence in themselves and realize their strengths,” Dr. Eken said. “With the skills they learn in treatment, they can be better prepared for these annual challenges.”

January 10, 2012 - 1:42pm

substance-use disorderWhen you’re recovering from a substance-use disorder, the traditions of New Year’s can make this annual event more challenging than typical social gatherings. To help residents celebrate the arrival of 2012 and to give them ideas on creating new and alcohol-free traditions, the members of the Herrington McBride Alumni Association hosted a special New Year’s party at the Herrington Recovery Center.

“New Year’s Eve is the hardest holiday of the year for people in recovery from substance-use disorders,” said Herrington Manager Cindy Suszek. “The alumni wanted to create a night of ‘sober fun’ for the current residents. They understand how difficult it can be to make that transition to a lifestyle that’s free from alcohol and addiction.”

Residents enjoyed activities like live music, karaoke and pool tournaments. The alumni also provided a full New Year’s menu, including tenderloin, twice-baked potatoes, salad bar and cheesecake. According to the leadership of the Herrington McBride Alumni Association, they hope to make this an annual event due to the level of involvement from the residents from start to finish.

“When things wrapped up, the residents and alumni worked together to clean up and put things back,” said Suszek. “I know the alumni really want to provide examples of how they’re living a life of recovery and help the current residents get a good start to their New Year. From all accounts, it was a huge success.”

January 6, 2012 - 2:29pm

The mother of a former patient who came to the Child Center recently shared that she had experienced a vivid dream about herself and her daughter seeking a safe path home in the middle of a terrible storm. She believes the dream symbolized the struggle their family went through to find help for her daughter. Today, the mother says, her daughter is stronger, their path is safer and she is confident that brighter days lie ahead.

“We are incredibly eternally grateful that you responded to our cries for help. Thank you for “rescuing” our daughter from her dangerous, frightening situation. You have not only pulled her up to safer ground, but you have made the path safer for all of us as a family to return home. I am certain that we are looking forward to brighter and happier days ahead. Many thanks to each and every one of you for your patience, kindness, knowledge, caring, and support. Our daughter is our precious gift and we are so thankful to have her coming home with us.”

We are honored to be able to share this mother’s story with you. Her full account of the dream is here:

  • "I recently had a dream and was able to recall most of it in the morning. In the dream, my sister was driving me and my daughter home after spending the afternoon together. I didn’t want my sister to go out of her way and to just drive straight home. I talked her into letting us out of her car and walking the rest of the way home.

  • As my daughter and I continued on foot, the sky grew dark and a terrible storm was fast approaching. We were soon struggling to walk against the fierce, cold, biting wind. Suddenly, there was a violent, torrential downpour. We were becoming increasingly blinded and scared in the darkness, howling winds, and the pounding rain.

  • What should have been a relatively short trek home, seemed to take forever. We felt so vulnerable and afraid, but we pushed each other to continue on until we reached our warm, safe home.

  • Up ahead in the distance, we could see a blur of red and white flashing lights. Several police cars, fire trucks, and ambulances were on the side of the road and also blocking both lanes near the bridge. EMTs and firemen were working furiously to aid the victims involved in a horrible car accident.

  • Everyone warned us to stop and someone would take us home. The bridge was flooded and impassable. I decided that we should forge ahead, but we had to find solid ground. If we could hike alongside of the road through the rocks, stones and the woods, we could safely make it home.

  • I encouraged my daughter to climb over the guard rail and step onto the large rocks and I followed her. Her left foot slipped on the wet rock, and she quickly plummeted down the embankment towards the dangerous, rocky river below. She was so brave and strong and she managed to grab hold of an angled, rusty, metal beam on the bridge. Shaking and crying, I frantically worked my way down to help her back up. I was absolutely terrified that we were both going to fall. I began to yell for help. The noise of the raging river, the rain, wind, sirens and people above us drowned my cries for help. The next thing that I remembered was my husband kissing me on the forehead and reassuring me that “everything will be alright.

  • I have been feeling so guilty, lost, lonely, frightened, and helpless with our daughter for the past year. I believe that my dream/nightmare was very symbolic and representative of our struggles to help our daughter through the “storm.” I can also say that I am concerned that we will be able to stay strong and continue on the right path. "


January 5, 2012 - 10:52am

Former patient featured as a “Woman of Substance” Denise Folcik, came to Rogers Memorial Hospital for treatment for anorexia, bulimia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Denise Folcik is a person who immediately comes across as confident, happy and lighthearted. She is an outspoken advocate for eating disorder treatment, speaking to many community groups and the Wisconsin State Legislature. Recently, Denise was profiled in “Women of Substance,” a feature of Eating Disorder Hope’s website.

Nearly seven years ago, Denise came to Rogers Memorial Hospital for treatment for anorexia, bulimia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Like many of the patients who come to Rogers, she is amazed at the differences in her life before treatment and today. She smiles and says, “I tell people that it says “Rogers” on my birth certificate, because that’s where my life began.”

Finding the courage to take control in positive ways

With the support of her family and her therapist, she was admitted to the Eating Disorder Center at Rogers. There, she began another journey of self-discovery and found the courage to take control of her life in many positive ways. “I give myself a lot of credit. I did a lot of hard work in treatment!” She added, “But I give Rogers a lot of credit, too. I can’t say enough good things about the staff at Rogers.”

Denise is quick to point out that there was no quick fix. She had to be admitted for inpatient treatment four times and frequently resisted making changes. But each time she came closer to understanding that she needed to stop viewing her eating disorder as something that was helping her. “You have to commit to getting better,” she said. “It isn’t until you get to that place that treatment will make a difference.” Denise also notes that she avoids the term “recovery” and, instead, views her continuous journey as “being in discovery.”

Journaling is one of Denise’s coping strategies and she frequently writes about her experiences in treatment. She recently published her book “In ED’s Path” which she hopes will help others with eating disorders. In her book, Denise chronicles the beginnings of her eating disorder, her struggles with OCD and the new challenges she had to face as she began her new life.

“At Rogers I learned a lot about how ED was affecting my life. Today, I can really, truly say ‘I’m happy,” she said. Denise recently remarried and says her husband is very supportive of her and her fight against her disorders. “Sometimes when I find myself drifting toward those old patterns, I’ll ‘tell’ on myself so he knows what’s going on,” she said. “There is no shame in having an eating disorder or asking for help when you need it.”

December 13, 2011 - 1:05pm

Patients at Rogers Memorial Hospital are already enjoying a brand-new experiential therapy center. The center was opened in the fall of 2011, and features a gymnasium, weight room, art studios and recreation and movement rooms designed to help Rogers’ experiential therapists work with patients in a comfortable and safe environment. In the weight room and gymnasium, for example, Dwight Steffes, MSRT, a long time experiential therapist at Rogers, helps patients learn how to exercise in a body-positive and healthy way.

By: Dwight Steffes, MSRTEating Disorder Treatment, Excercise, Experiental Therapy

Exercise is often an under-addressed component of eating disorders treatment. To most people, an exercise program may simply be an integral component to healthy living. However, for those who struggle with an eating disorder, maintaining a healthy exercise program can be exceptionally challenging. For patients in treatment at Rogers’ eating disorders programs, Emotional deregulation, disordered body perspectives, and avoidance behaviors can drive a lot of abnormal thinking in what otherwise might be a healthy physical exercise program.

Many in the eating disorders treatment community tend to avoid this issue or outsource the issue of healthy exercise to their client’s personal trainers. That approach can be problematic; most trainers know a lot about physical fitness but have little understanding of the cognitive and emotional connection between exercise and physical fitness. This is why the experiential therapists at Rogers are so crucial to a holistic recovery for Rogers’ patients. Rogers’ experiential therapists help patients identify what is, and is not, a healthy approach to exercise.

Exercise incorporated as part of an overall eating disorder treatment plan

Patients entering into the Eating Disorder Center at Rogers will soon meet with an experiential therapist who will conduct a brief interview related to the patient’s history with exercise. The therapist is looking to identify the patient’s exercise habits that may be associated with eating disordered thinking, obsessive-compulsive disorder, general anxiety and depression. These observations will be incorporated into the patient’s overall treatment plan.

Each patient is rated on an activity scale based on his or her general physical and emotional health. Exercise issues are addressed through individual sessions with Rogers’ experiential therapists. These sessions may lead to written assignments, readings, exposures by behavioral therapists, and programming in the hospital’s fitness facility or at the local YMCA.

Once patients are medically stable, they can begin working with an experiential therapist as part of their treatment plan. Patients who have compulsive exercise issues begin by working on assignments designed to help them identify underlying issues that drive their compulsive exercise behaviors.

Supervised, supportive settings

The new fitness room at Rogers, recently constructed as part of a new inpatient and experiential treatment facility, is an option available to individuals within the eating disorder programs. Experiential therapists work one-on-one with each patient to help them experience a healthy exercise program.

Patients are encouraged to focus on exercise from a physical perspective and are reminded that exercise is not about cognitive or emotional issues. A check-in is provided before each session to create awareness of personal feelings and thoughts that may push the patient into doing more than what is healthy. Each program is customized to address the particular issues and needs of each patient. For instance, patients who have never been in a fitness program before may experience some anxiety around being physically active or in a fitness room or gymnasium setting. In this case, the therapist would work with the patient to slowly acclimate them to the equipment and the environment.

The swimming pool at the nearby YMCA offers an excellent opportunity for our Eating Disorder Center patients to address body-image issues; and the YMCA’s exercise room provides an opportunity for patients with social anxiety to gain experience working out around others.

Each patient’s treatment plan is different

Patients are often given individual assignments that may help them come to understand how they came to be in treatment in the first place. Assignments can help the resident become more knowledgeable about how they may have used exercise in an unhealthy manner.

For example, these assignments may ask our patients to explore:

  • Exercise as an addiction,
  • Exercise as an avoidance behavior,
  • Obsessive-compulsive exercising,
  • The relationship between body-image and exercise, and
  • The relationship between depression or anxiety and exercise.

Each assignment asks a series of questions that may give a patient an opportunity to examine their own history with exercise and how it may have been influenced by an eating disorder.

Coming home with a roadmap to successful exercising

Before patients leave treatment, they are given an exercise plan that reflects the work that they have been doing with our experiential therapists. Recommendations about weights and cardio work are provided with the stipulation that a patient must stay within a healthy weight-range to be able to continue working out.

This discharge plan typically requests patients focus on three things. They must make every effort to:

  1. Be compliant with their meal plan, weight and physical programs.
  2. Address issues of self-esteem using thought challenging primarily to deal with their connection between self-worth and exercise.
  3. To increase social activities and leisure pursuits to avoid getting caught-up in an addictive cycle of exercise.

Ultimately, addressing and incorporating exercise into a patient’s treatment plan helps Rogers eating disorders patient develop an awareness of their approach to exercise as a whole and helps them to understand limitations or challenges they face personally.

With the knowledge and experiences of what healthy exercise programs look and feel like, Rogers patients discharge with the tools they need to continue to make choices that support their long-term recovery goals.


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