The North Health Management Area of Almeria, through the Clinical Management Unit (CMU) of Mental Health, has designed the intensive specialised programme for the treatment of eating disorders ‘More than Numbers’. An initiative where motivation for change, awareness of the illness and support for families are the fundamental pillars on which the work is based.
The model developed is based on therapies with scientific evidence developed in the United Kingdom – Maudsle Model – and family coping developed by this reference hospital in London. The treatment programme allows for structured therapy and intensive monitoring of patients and their families through weekly and fortnightly sessions, thus favouring their recovery process.
The Northern Health Management Area of Almeria thus demonstrates its commitment to bringing specialised child and adolescent mental health treatment to the area, thus avoiding, in most cases, patients missing school and their families having to travel to the Torrecárdenas University Hospital, a reference centre in the province of Almeria.
Eating Disorders focus on an overvaluation of weight and figure over other aspects of life, and occur more in a period of change, such as adolescence, a stage of the life cycle, especially sensitive for the development of self-esteem and personality and with a significant increase in vulnerability to stressful situations. In this sense, it is worth highlighting the significant increase in cases in recent years due to the negative effect on mental health of the pandemic, confinement and the inappropriate use of social networks.
At least twenty adolescents with eating disorders are treated at the UGC Salud Mental del Área Norte de Almería, in the Hospital la Inmaculada de Huércal-Overa. Julia (pseudonym) is one of them: “I had been in private treatment with a psychologist for some time and just the thought of gaining weight made me not eat. I didn’t want to get out of the disorder, I felt strong. It wasn’t that bad either, my family was exaggerating. I arrived in Huércal-Overa, and they offered me treatment in the area. For two years, I had fortnightly sessions”.
“The worst thing was to write down in a diary what I ate and when I weighed myself. For my family, it has been a hard road. There have been sessions when we couldn’t see the light. As they told me, the eating disorder ‘monster’ was ruling me. They have been there supporting me, fighting with me, even participating in the family group,” she said.
“After a while, I started to think about things, and the changes came little by little. The most important thing is the team we have formed between my family, the professionals and myself. Today I have graduated and I am going to study what I wanted to study in Granada. I feel proud of myself. I already do sport and eat freely. My body is not the most important thing, I focus on taking care of myself,” she concluded.