Earth Times

Earth Times

Nation's Leading Eating Disorder Treatment Center, Remuda Ranch, Responds to HBO's Documentary 'Thin'
Wed, 22 Nov 2006


In response to the recent HBO documentary "Thin" by Lauren Greenfield, Remuda Ranch, the nation's leading and largest inpatient treatment center for women and girls with eating disorders, reports eating disorders are more treatable than ever. Help is available and recovery is possible.

"The good news for eating disorder sufferers is recovery rates are higher than in the past," said Edward Cumella, PhD, executive director of performance management at Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating Disorders. "Our current recovery rates are 99 percent for adults with anorexia and 93 percent for adults with bulimia. Our patients report dramatic improvement in eating disorder symptoms, depression, anxiety, spiritual distress and other issues by the time they leave our center."

"Although the documentary focused on the real difficulty of treating patients with severe eating disorders, we know that recovery is very possible and treatment is often a life-changing event," adds Cumella. "We see dramatic improvements in most of our patients."

Remuda Ranch's standardized measurements reveal the average patient has a severe eating disorder and moderate to severe depression upon admission. By discharge, her responses on the same measurements are similar to those of someone who has never had an eating disorder and isn't depressed. (Remuda's outcome results have been audited by a third party, Evaluation Management Training - EMT.)

Recovery doesn't mean a woman or girl will never struggle with food related issues again, but it does indicate great improvement. An individual is considered in recovery when she no longer has a diagnosable eating disorder, her personal relationships have improved and she is functioning effectively at work or in school.

Additional recovery rates from Remuda Ranch include: 99 percent for adolescents with anorexia and 94 percent for adolescents with bulimia. In questionnaires, parents of former patients independently supported and validated the excellent recovery indicated by their daughters.

"Our success can be attributed to a range of components in our treatment program," adds Cumella. "For example, we have a core team of six healthcare professionals working with each patient, a superb staff-to-patient ratio of 3.5 to 1 and a strong focus on spiritual growth. In addition, Remuda has been treating eating disorders for 17 years and has never discharged a patient because of insurance denial. The lengths of stay that insurance companies typically approve are simply not long enough to be effective. Therefore, prior to admission, Remuda works individually with each patient's family to ensure that the patient's stay will not be shortened due to insurance denial."

To increase awareness of eating disorders and the treatment experience, Remuda Ranch recently published a novel called Behind the Broken Image by Debra Cooper. The book delves into the lives of three females suffering from eating disorders. The book's in-depth look at eating disorders accurately illustrates the impact of these destructive, often deadly disorders while showing the hope that can be found through inpatient treatment.

"We are passionate about increasing awareness of eating disorders as well as preventing them," said Cumella. "Eating disorders are now epidemic in the U.S., with girls being diagnosed at much younger ages. The novel gives readers a look inside these disorders - what they are, why they happen, how they affect the entire family, and what therapy is like."