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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset expands eating disorder unit

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset recently expanded its eating disorders unit, which is one of only two eating disorder units in New Jersey.

Tony Caputo

Apr 13, 2023, 3:54 PM

Updated 459 days ago

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Between 28 million and 30 million Americans will deal with some type of eating disorder in their lifetime. 
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset recently expanded its eating disorders unit. The medical center is one of only two eating disorder units in New Jersey.
“Before beginning the program, really hitting sort of rock bottom in my eating disorder journey, and I was unemployed and looking for options to really take recovery seriously,” said Grace Schroeder, of Egg Harbor City.
Deanna Sperling, vice president of inpatient behavioral health services, says about one person every hour dies of an eating disorder.
"I don’t think people realize the magnitude of the losses of all the mental health diagnosis, this is the one with the highest mortality rate,” Sperling said.
“You really don’t want to pull them totally away from their life, but you want to be able to control and manage some of their disparity with eating and the eating behaviors,” Sperling said.  
RWJ Somerset recently finished renovations to its eating disorder unit and expanded from 14 to 20 beds. They also added a touch of nature-based lighting and designated spaces for adults and children. This allows for effective treatment in a welcoming and safe environment.
“Occupational therapy, art therapy, movement therapy, one-on-one counseling, one-on-one dietitian, meeting with the psychiatrist,” Schroeder said. “They allowed us time with a dietitian to plan our meal plan for the week and have two snacks in program in person plus lunch. I felt the most safe that I have ever felt.”
Schroeder says a relapse prevention plan as well as daily meetings with her dietician and counselor has her feeling a type of freedom she hasn’t felt in years. She says anyone who believes they may have an eating disorder should reach out and not feel alone anymore.
“So really, believing in ourselves that we don’t have to hurt ourselves anymore and nourish our bodies and heal our minds,” Schroeder said.
For more information about the eating disorders program, click here


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