Eating Disorders Treatment Center

San Juan Capestrano Hospital offers a comprehensive, leading treatment program for eating disorders in San Juan and other locations throughout Puerto Rico. We provide a full continuum of care including detox, inpatient, and outpatient services for adolescents, adults and seniors.

Eating Disorder Treatment

Learn more about eating disorder treatment at San Juan Capestrano Hospital in Puerto Rico

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge-eating disorder, can pose a great deal of harm to an individual’s overall wellbeing. Ongoing patterns of disordered eating can put a person’s health at risk in the sense that the damage that it causes to vital organs can eventually lead to a fatal outcome if this type of self-destruction is not ceased. In terms of a person’s mental health, there is an ever-present risk for the development of another mental illness and a decline in overall psychological functioning when an eating disorder is a factor in an individual’s life. San Juan Capestrano Hospital affords sufferers of such mental health conditions with care that is designed to help people struggling with eating disorders learn effective coping skills and find relief from the life-threatening grips of disordered eating. If you, a friend, or loved one is battling anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder, let the staff at San Juan Capestrano offer the life-saving care that has helped many people overcome the devastating symptoms of an eating disorder.

Since its inception in 1988, San Juan Capestrano Hospital, a 172-bed short-stay hospital, has been the foremost provider of mental health treatment on the main island of Puerto Rico. With services available for the care of several mental health conditions and chemical dependency concerns, adolescents, adults, and senior adults can receive superior treatment for these issues in a safe environment that is conducive to true healing and recovery. Our caring and compassionate staff, which is comprised of numerous qualified mental health professionals, addiction specialists, and experienced medical personnel, facilitates services within each program with the understanding that each patient has unique needs and strengths. We pride ourselves on being able to offer the highest quality of individualized care that allows each patient to return to his or her respective community with an improved sense of emotional and physical wellbeing. If you, a friend, or loved one is struggling with symptoms synonymous with a mental illness, such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder, or substance abuse problem, look no further that San Juan Capestrano Hospital. Our comprehensive and invaluable treatment is the solution to even the most plaguing of mental health concerns.

How to Help a Loved One

Helping a loved one get treatment for eating disorders

Early intervention is key when trying to help someone overcome an eating disorder. If you notice a loved one or family member engaging in maladaptive eating habits that appear to cause a great deal of anxiety or rigid thinking, it may be time to confront the person you care for so that he or she can receive appropriate mental healthcare. The following patterns of eating are considered unhealthy and often indicate the presence of an eating disorder:

  • Chronic fasting
  • Over-consumption of food during meals or in private, away from other people
  • Self-induced vomiting after eating a meal
  • Abusing laxatives, diuretics, enemas, or other harmful substances as a means of controlling weight
  • Rigid and/or restrictive dieting
  • Ritualistic eating habits

If these behaviors are apparent in a person you care for, it is important to remember that discussing these eating habits could bring about some initial resistance. It is necessary to broach the conversation about your concerns in a compassionate and empathic manner.

If your loved one is open to receiving treatment, the following suggestions are those that can be helpful before, during, and after mental health services are implemented:

  • Research treatment options with your loved one
  • Go with your loved one when he or she receives an assessment for treatment
  • Be part of the therapeutic process
  • Offer your unwavering support
  • Consult with the professionals administering your loved one’s care so that you know how you can be of the most help to your loved one during and after care is complete
  • Encourage your loved one to adhere to treatment recommendations
  • Be part of aftercare planning and inquire about how you can help once your loved one returns home

Lastly, it is necessary to remain patient with your loved one during the therapeutic process. The road to recovery from an eating disorder can be ripe with obstacles, especially if your loved one is battling additional mental health concerns. By being patient and remaining an ongoing source of support, your loved one can stand a greater chance of breaking free from the constraints of disordered eating.

Why Consider Treatment

Why consider treatment for eating disorders at San Juan Capestrano Hospital in Puerto Rico

In addition to the adverse health effects that are experienced by those who have an eating disorder, there are a number of other risks that can ensue when this type of mental health condition is present. Relationships with others often suffer, academic performance deteriorates, ability to carry out responsibilities at work declines, and substance abuse is common among those with anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder. These social, academic, occupational, and chemical dependency concerns, compounded with the health risks associated with disordered eating, can make eating disorders some of the most dangerous mental health disorders in existence. A pivotal thing to know, however, is that there are viable options for care that prevent such adversities.

Because of the serious nature of eating disorders, intensive mental health treatment is often required to help people take the first steps towards lasting recovery. Especially if a person is suffering from symptoms synonymous with another mental health condition at the same time, more intense treatment can be the most effective way to provide eating disorder sufferers with appropriate treatment. Inpatient care is a treatment option that offers this type of treatment and has improved the lives of many people who grapple with disordered eating. Psychiatrists, counselors, therapists, and other experienced mental health professionals are accessible 24 hours a day to facilitate care in the safe and secure environment featured in inpatient treatment. Furthermore, within this setting, sufferers of eating disorders can also receive treatment for a myriad of other mental illnesses that could be occurring alongside disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder. In sum, inpatient treatment is the most effective type of program that helps eating disorder sufferers realize a life free from disordered eating patterns and the psychological distortions that can cause them.

Types of Treatment

Types of eating disorder treatment offered at San Juan Capestrano Hospital in Puerto Rico

At San Juan Capestrano Hospital, we wholeheartedly ascribe to the notion that each patient should have individualized treatment that meets his or her every need. Because of this belief, we afford each patient who entrusts us with his or her care with individually tailored plans for treatment options that are distinct to the adolescents, adults, and senior adults who come to San Juan Capestrano Hospital for mental health services. These plans detail the specific courses of treatment that patients will engage in and include aftercare recommendations as formulated by our staff so that every patient experiences a full continuum of care. The planning of treatment begins during the time of assessment and can be altered should additional concerns arise during the course of treatment at our hospital.

In order to meet the varying needs of people suffering from mental health disorders and/or substance use concerns, San Juan Capestrano Hospital is pleased to provide different levels of care and specialized programming options. Our hospital features separate adult and adolescent inpatient programs that treat a myriad of mental health conditions, such as eating disorders, and chemical dependency concerns, as well as adult substance abuse services that are designed to care for even the most serious and long-standing of addictions. The level of care most appropriate for a patient is decided upon during the initial psychiatric evaluation, wherein a patient’s needs are assessed, a physical examination is conducted, and a mental status assessment is administered in order to determine which program will produce the most favorable treatment outcomes for a given patient.

Once admitted to one of our programs, patients have the ability to partake in a number of treatment methods. These methods are rooted in evidence-based principles and techniques, including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and the 12-step model. The following methods for care are the ones primarily used at San Juan Capestrano Hospital and are implemented so that patients can find relief from concerns, such as those that can ensue when an eating disorder or other mental illness is a factor in a person’s life:

Medical detoxification: For those that are battling a chemical dependency problem or polysubstance use concerns, San Juan Capestrano Hospital offers medically supervised detoxification services that are aimed to help adults, ages 18 and older, withdraw from substances in the most effective and safest manner possible. These services are monitored by medical professionals who have experience in making withdrawal comfortable so that patients can partake in therapeutic interventions with addiction specialists who can help springboard them towards lasting healing and recovery from addiction.

Medication management: For some individuals, psychotropic medications can be of great assistance in alleviating the symptoms of many mental illnesses, including anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder and any other co-occurring disorder that may be present. When this is the case, our qualified psychiatrists determine each patient’s need for medication, can prescribe medication(s), and will monitor any pharmaceutical interventions that become part of a patient’s treatment plan. These services are in place so that every patient has the ability to receive medication if it is deemed necessary for a patient’s care.

Individual therapy: All patients who take part in our inpatient programming engage in individual therapy sessions four times per week. Individual therapy is a treatment method used so that a patient can process emotions and thoughts on a one-to-one basis with a member of our staff. For example, if a patient is struggling with anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating disorder, he or she can discuss his or her progress in overcoming disordered patterns of eating and the psychological distortions that can worsen and prolong the presence of symptoms.

Group therapy: San Juan Capestrano Hospital offers a number of group therapy opportunities that allow patients to find support in one another and hone skills that have been learned. Such sessions can be especially beneficial for individuals who are struggling with disordered eating as they can provide them with the sense of comfort that comes with knowing that they are not alone in their struggles. Some of the topics covered in these groups include techniques for managing stress, improving communication, learning and adapting healthy coping methods, bettering self-esteem, dealing with grief and loss, and persevering through trauma. These groups are offered several times per week to maximize the benefits of treatment offered in a group setting.    

Family therapy: Family therapy is offered as a method of treatment during inpatient programming so that our patients can receive ample support from the people who care for them most. During family therapy sessions, patients and their loved ones can work through conflicts and improve communication so as to heal and better familial relationships through the implementation of skills that can service a family unit well for a lifetime.

We also include a number of other therapeutic interventions as a way to wholly treat the individuals who come to our hospital for care. Especially for those who are battling an eating disorder and require additional support and/or resources, we supply the following interventions and group topics as part of our treatment; these interventions have proven effectiveness in helping our patients learn to manage stress and turmoil while gaining the tools needed to successfully manage debilitating symptoms and other concerns:   

  • Anger management
  • Medical issues management
  • Crisis management
  • Pilates
  • Occupational therapy
  • Marijuana Anonymous
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Infection control
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Psychoeducation
  • Recreational therapy
  • Canine therapy

Continuing Care

Continuing care and levels of treatment for eating disorders

We strive to provide the most comprehensive services that embody the highest quality of care possible. To fulfill this goal, we begin discharge planning at the time of admissions and feature a number of continuing care options at varying levels of treatment so that each and every one of our patient’s needs can be treated once a higher level of care is no longer required.

San Juan Capestrano Hospital offers partial hospitalization programs for both adolescents and adults. The adolescent program is catered to youth between the ages of 13 and 17 years old who are struggling with mental health concerns. While in this program, young people partake in a number of therapies and are able to return home at the end of the day to be with their loved ones. The adult program is similarly structured and also treats a myriad of mental health conditions with group therapy being the primary method for care.

Our hospital also features an adult substance abuse intensive outpatient program for those aged 18 and older. This program is designed to continue the recovery process and help patients maintain sobriety after completing inpatient services. The groups available in this program are facilitated in stages so that patients can then practice the tools and skills learned in this program while living in their respective communities.

Lastly, San Juan Capestrano Hospital provides outpatient services at eleven different locations on the island, including San Juan, Hatillo, Mayagüez, Caguas, Humanao, Manatí, Condado, Carolina, Ponce, Bayamón, and Guaynabo. Outpatient care allows patients to process feelings and thoughts with a mental health professional on a weekly basis.

Whatever your mental healthcare needs, the staff at San Juan Capestrano Hospital is devoted to helping you or a loved one overcome mental health issues or substance abuse concerns. We will put forth every effort to ensure that healing and lasting recovery from several eating disorders are achievable for each person who comes to us for care.

My severe depression had taken over my life. I’m so thankful for San Juan Capestrano Hospital for giving me the strength to start living my life again to the fullest.

– Luis S.