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Center for eating disorders to open in January

Portsmouth Herald - 11/26/2017

PORTSMOUTH - A new medical facility, dedicated to helping people with an eating disorder, is set to open its doors to the public in January.

Portsmouth Regional Hospital and Parkland Medical Center, two HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) hospitals are already closely aligned. Justin Looser, director of behavioral health, said that the behavioral health units of the facilities are one where close cooperation has been ongoing for a long time.

"We talked about having this type of clinic for a couple of years," Looser said. "There really is nothing in our area that is strictly intended for people with an eating disorder. We identified a lack of services and decided we wanted to build a more comprehensive program."

The Reflections Eating Disorder Treatment Center will be in Salem, at 31 Styles Road. Looser said it may be one of several centers located throughout the Seacoast region, intended to address issues such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia, purging and binge eating.

Two programs will be offered at the new center. Looser said there will be a partial hospitalization program that will run 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and an intensive outpatient program for three hours a day. The target patients' age range will be from 12-years-old through adults.

"The 12-hour program will include all three of the daily meals for the patient," Looser said. "That gives us some control and knowledge of what they are eating. There will be medical staff, including nurses and psychiatrists on hand to help each person work through the processes."

Looser said the goal of the program is to first address any health issues the patient may have, and then work with them to get them to an appropriate and healthy weight.

Another goal of the new center is to find ways to decrease, or eliminate the stigma surrounding an eating disorder.

"The center will be comfortable and caring," Looser said. "We want the clients to feel safe to discuss the issues, and to also know it is perfectly fine to acknowledge the problem and to seek help."

Eating disorders are a compulsive behavioral health issue, one Looser said can be addressed with the knowledgeable help of the medical staff.

"Depending on the growth of this program, we may be looking at other sites," Looser said. "We are even talking about a medical residential program in the future. Right at this moment, we are actively recruiting staff for the new program. We expect to open the doors of this, our first center, in January."

 
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