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Return to Eating Disorders Focus of New Inpatient Program Overview

More on Eating Disorders Focus of New Inpatient Program

Eating Disorders Focus of New Inpatient Program

New York (Feb 28, 2010)


Reflecting its park-like setting at NewYork-Presbyterian/Westchester Division, The Outlooks interior space is decorated with nature photography by artist Nadine Levin, whose images imbue the unit with a sense of calm.

An eating disorder is marked by a disturbance in eating behavior together with psychological distress or impairment. This could include extreme food restriction, overeating or abnormal compensatory behaviors following food ingestion together with significant distress or concern about body weight or shape. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are the most common of these conditions, which in severe cases can be life-threatening. In fact, it has been reported that anorexia nervosa has a mortality rate as high as that seen in any psychiatric illness.

In December 2009, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, in affiliation with the New York State Psychiatric Institute, announced the creation of an integrated eating disorders center under the direction of Evelyn Attia, MD, a prominent researcher in the psychobiology and treatment of anorexia and other eating disorders.

Dr. Attia currently serves as Director of the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. She was also named Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College.

The Outlook at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division in White Plains a key clinical component of the new center is the only specialized psychiatric inpatient eating disorders program in New York State. The Outlook provides treatment for adolescents and adults with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, as well as binge eating and other eating-related disorders. The spacious unit has 17 beds six for adolescents and 11 for adult patients. The programs multidisciplinary team includes two full-time psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, nursing staff, nutritionists and therapeutic activities staff. For individuals with acute eating disorders, hospitalization is the best way to address what can often be life-threatening medical and psychiatric complications, says Dr. Attia. The Outlook offers patients and their families a level of care unavailable in a general psychiatric unit.

Dr. Attia is also the Program Director for one of three New York Statedesignated Comprehensive Care Centers for Eating Disorders a joint program of NewYork- Presbyterian Hospital, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Schneider Childrens Hospital in Long Island. She has received continuous funding from the NIH for her work since joining Columbias Eating Disorders Research Unit in 1999, as well as grants from private foundations and industry. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed publications and is currently a member of the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) Eating Disorders Workgroup. Among her many awards, she has received a Mentored Patient-Oriented Research Career Development Award from the National Institute for Mental Health for her study titled Serotonins Role in the Psychobiology of Anorexia Nervosa

One of our leading authorities on eating disorders, Dr. Attia has been a major force for improving care for patients with these challenging conditions. She has been instrumental in understanding the biological basis of anorexia nervosa and in developing effective new treatments, says Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

An estimated 5 to 7 percent of U.S. females will suffer from an eating disorder during their lifetimes and the disorder typically starts in adolescence, interrupting young lives at a critical developmental period when social pressures are more keenly felt. This can be a tremendous challenge for families. This is exacerbated by the fact that for many, effective treatment is neither easily accessible nor inexpensive, noted Dr. Attia. The Outlook, as its name implies, will allow patients to do the hard psychological work of shifting their views about their diagnosis and taking the necessary steps towards recovery.

Eating disorders seriously imperil the health and well-being of those affected, while also presenting a major challenge for their families, says Jack Barchas, MD, the Barklie McKee Henry Professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. With the creation of this integrated eating disorders center, we bring together unprecedented clinical, research and educational expertise and resources so that we can better provide comprehensive and compassionate treatment that addresses each patients specific needs in order to improve their health.

For more information about The Outlook or to make a referral, please call (888) 694-5700 or (914) 997-5700.

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