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A New Approach: Combined ED and SUD Treatment

Upset young woman talking with therapist

Earlier this year, Chicago-based SunCloud Health opened one of the nation’s only residential treatment centers for people living with both an eating disorder and a substance use disorder. 

We’re so excited to help this woefully underserved population. Many treatment centers offer eating disorder treatment, often with a “side” of addiction treatment support. Many other centers provide addiction treatment—and patients are sometimes put on an eating disorder “track” if they’re identified with that need. 

At our new Institute for Eating Disorders and Addiction at SunCloud Health, we have the capacity and sophistication to treat both illnesses simultaneously, with depth, in a wholly tailored way for each patient.

A Fully Integrated Approach to Care

At the Institute for Eating Disorders and Addiction at SunCloud Health, we don’t think in terms of silos when it comes to eating disorders and substance use disorders. More importantly, we also try to steer our patients away from that thinking. 

Eating Disorders and Substance Use: A Deadly Combination

Eating disorders and substance use disorders each come with a high mortality rate. When a person is battling both, the picture gets even bleaker.  For example, in a new study in the American Journal of Psychiatry, researchers compared people in three groups: those with anorexia nervosa (AN), those with AN along with a substance use disorder, and a third group with neither illness.  When compared to patients with neither illness, mortality risk was:

  • 3 times higher in people with anorexia nervosa but no substance use disorder. 
  • 11 times higher in people with both anorexia and alcohol use disorder and/or cannabis use disorder. 
  • 22 times higher in people with both anorexia and a hard drug disorder (i.e., heroin, cocaine, sedatives, and so on). 

NOTE: When the researchers looked at mortality risk among people with bulimia nervosa, mortality risk also increased significantly—and went higher when substance use disorder was present.

Our team at the Institute for Eating Disorders and Addiction at SunCloud Health

Our new center is run by dedicated professionals who provide a healing space for people to discover their innate potential. We help our patients develop the skills and connections they need for lifelong recovery. Our multi-disciplinary team includes: 

  • Psychiatrists
  • Internal medicine/family practice physicians 
  • Psychologists
  • Registered dietitians
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Licensed marriage and family therapists (LMFT)
  • Certified addiction counselors

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The Joint Commission signifies that all people always experience the safest, highest quality, best-value health care across all settings with a devotion to patient safety. The Gold Seal, is a symbol to the community and patients we serve that SunCloud Health has placed an emphasis on quality of care.

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