Eating disorder centers on the riseMcCallum Place Office Manager Michelle Davis said she remembers one patient who was so weak she needed help from family members to get through the eating disorder clinic’s entryway. When she was released and walked out those same doors, the patient presented staff members with gifts, thanking them for enabling her to connect with food again.

The West Lake Hills practice offers adolescents and adults an intensive 10-hour partial hospitalization program, six-hour partial hospitalization programs and an individual outpatient program three evenings a week. The center is not a residential facility, something the region lacks, Davis said.

McCallum Place patients are involved in a balance of therapy groups including psychological, psychiatric and exercise such as yoga and dance, Assistant Clinical Director Daisy Thompson said. Patients in the center’s highest level of care—its seven-day-a-week, 10-hour program—eat breakfast at home but have snacks, lunch and dinner in the McCallum Place dining room, she said.

“Anorexia, bulimia, bingeing [and] orthorexia are becoming more common,” Thompson said.

She said one’s body image and the influence of social media accounts for a portion of the trend with biological, social and genetic factors in the mix as well. Although typically age 12 is at the younger end of the center’s patient age range, Thompson said she is now seeing younger children enter the program. A number of factors account for the eating disorders affecting younger children including a pressure by social media to look a certain way, she said.

“Teens talk about Photoshopping and selfies,” Thompson said. “It’s so in our face what men and women should look like.”

She said awareness about eating disorders has been growing during the past couple of decades.

“The more awareness there is [about eating disorders], the less shame there is in reaching out to seek treatment, to seek help,” Thompson said.

One other local program—The Hill Country Recovery Program with locations in Central Austin and Round Rock—offers eating disorder treatment with various individualized outpatient programs.

On Oct. 5, area patients will have another option when Colorado-based Eating Recovery Center opens a Northwest Austin facility at 12221 Renford Way. As with McCallum Place, the center will offer both partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient services to adults and adolescents diagnosed with eating disorders.