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Eating disorder program at UAMS

Inaugural ‘Jingle Belles Bash’ to benefit program

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Press Release

UAMS Medical Center

LITTLE ROCK – An outpatient eating disorder treatment program is now available through the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS).

Offered through the UAMS Psychiatric Research Institute, the new program is accepting patients on an outpatient basis. It will expand to offer more comprehensive services such as intensive outpatient services and inpatient treatment, upon the opening of the new PRI building at UAMS in 2008. The program will be able to treat women and men of any age.

“This program will have multiple treatment components, including individual, group and family therapy, nutritional counseling and specialized medical treatment to address this complicated problem,” said Ann Brown, a licensed clinical social worker and director of the UAMS Eating Disorder Program. “This is a growing problem that can affect both women and men at any age and there is a real need for a comprehensive program in Arkansas.”

To help the program, a new community organization, the Jingle Belles, will host a party Dec. 2, with proceeds to benefit the UAMS Eating Disorder Program. The black tie event with music and a silent auction will be held at 8 p.m. in the Fred W. Smith Conference Center at the UAMS Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, 501 Jack Stephens Drive on the UAMS campus.

“Jingle Belles is a group of young women who wanted to start hosting a holiday party each year to benefit a charitable cause,” said Jennifer Martinez, the group’s chairman. “We heard about the UAMS Eating Disorder Program and wanted to help, so it was the perfect choice for our inaugural Jingle Belles Bash.”

Tickets to the event are available with a $50 donation to the program. For ticket information, call 501-350-5360.

An estimated one in 10 women in the United States suffers from an eating disorder, Brown said. The mortality rate of those who are diagnosed with an eating disorder is the highest of any other mental illness, she said.

Eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and compulsive eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa involves fear of gaining weight, distorted body image, and restricted eating with significant weight loss resulting in a lack of menstrual periods and a range of dangerous medical problems due to malnutrition. Bulimia nervosa involves episodes of binge eating, often followed by self-induced vomiting, laxative abuse, diuretic abuse or a combination of abuse. Compulsive eating disorder, where food is used as a coping mechanism to deal with uncomfortable feelings, creates health issues involving obesity.

Outpatient treatment will include weekly therapy (individual, family and group), a psychiatric consultation and medication management if recommended, along with nutritional counseling and planning. The patients also will be medically monitored to identify any health problems caused by their eating disorder. Brown said the program can currently treat up to 15 on an outpatient basis and has the potential to expand.

The more intensive treatment will become available with completion of the PRI facility. Those levels of treatment will include intensive outpatient services and a partial hospitalization program. Both feature increased therapy and nutrition counseling.

To get help through the Eating Disorder Program, call 501-686-5300.

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